First timers’ Practical Guide to Open Source Contribution

Open Source by ICTWorks
  • What is Open Source
  • General approach to open source contribution
  • Step-by-step guide for Open Source Participation
  • Practical Steps to take before making an Open Source contribution for Code newbies
  • Non-coding approaches to Open Source

What is Open Source?

Open Source simply implies code that is freely and publicly available for anyone to use, inspect, modify or enhance.

General approach to open source contribution

Find open source projects on GitHub: Search for Open source project built with your preferred programming language.

Step-by-step guide for Open Source Participation

There are two basic ways of contributing to Open Source;

a. Create your own Project Publicly:

This involves starting your own project and hosting on github.

cd desktop/yourProjectFolder (To change directory to a folder for your project)git init (To initialize empty respository)git remote add origin https://github.com/yourusername.git (To agit remote -v (To sync with the github respository)mkdir foldername (To create new folder)Code (To open in favorite Code editor e.g VS Code, Atom, Bracket, Sublime Text etc)git add . (To add all changes)git status (To confirm changes added)git commit -m”Short description of the changes made or files added”git push -u origin master

b. Contribute to existing Open source projects:

Before participate in open source contribution you need to understand the project and the codebase. the following will help you to make the first step;

Practical Steps to take before making an Open Source contribution for Code newbies

  • Find a project you would like to contribute
  • Go through the README file
  • Read the Code of Conduct
  • Read the Contributing Guideline
  • Read the Development setup instructions
  • Read how to setup the project
  • Indicate you are will work on an issue by commenting
  • Fork and clone the project into your computer locally
  • Submit a Pull Request
  • Your Pull Request is reviewed and merged.
cd your-local-directorygit clone https://github.com/projectname.git (To clone the project)git checkout -byour-branch-name (Create a new branch and switch to the branch)import into your code editorgit status (To check tracked files in the directory)git add . (To apply your changes)git commit -m”Short description of the changes made” (To commit your change)git push origin your-branch-name (To push changes to github)Log in to github and click on `Compare and Pull request`

Non-coding approaches to Open Source

There is a common misconception that one should know how to code in order to contribute to an Open source project. Fortunately, most contributions are “code-free”. Below are ways to contribute even without knowledge of Code:

  • Submit Bug reports
  • Ask questions by getting involved in the discussions
  • Answer others question and respond to users that need help
  • Write blog post on Open Source
  • Being an advocate/evangelist of Open Source project(s)
  • Writing Tests
  • Help with design
  • Support Open Source project(s) financially through sponsorship
  • Write/improve Documentation.

References

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Franklin Ohaegbulam

Franklin Ohaegbulam

Frontend Engineer. Visual Designer. Developer Advocate. Blockchain Enthusiast. Renewable Energy Advocate.