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How do you get started with open source?  ↦

Thanks to Ed Hazledine for being a part of the Changelog community! You should totally listen to his podcast, starting with this episode.

A Question of Code is a podcast that each episode takes an interesting question that’s come up in Ed’s first year of learning to code and delves deeper into the answer in order to help those starting out with their first steps in programming (as well as helping Ed!).

In Slack Ed asked about meaningful ways to get involved and contribute to open source. Share your thoughts and advice in the discussion below.


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2019-05-13T19:59:13Z ago

I have some opinions…

  1. Start from something you’re using (and like using). You’re both more likely to have opinions and more likely to be able to sustain contribution
  2. Look at the project’s website/documentation/github readme/ and look for any sorts of recommendations for new contributors. Many projects will have suggested “newbie bugs”
  3. Pick a bug and start working on it in a branch. Submit a PR. Be very open about your newbieness and willingness to take feedback. Actually be willing to take feedback. :) When I was maintaining ZURB Foundation, someone who would eventually be on our core team had over 100 back and forth comments on their first PR (it started out really bad, but he stuck with it and kept working on both the PR and his skills).
  4. It doesn’t have to be technical bugs… you could work on the docs. Or improving the test suite. Both of these provide great value to the project and are good ways to learn about the code.

Meta note: When you’re considering a project, check out things like how often they’re merging 3rd party prs (look at the merged PR list vs closed/open and see if there’s good representation of a number of people). Also look for conversation in those PRs and in issues… is this a community that is welcoming to new members?

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