Contributing to OSS for Hacktoberfest

Digital Ocean in partnership with Github are organizing the fourth Hacktoberfest event this October. If you make four pull requests between October 1 and October 31 to any Github hosted repository you get a Hacktoberfest T-shirt. This year I decided to take part and I already made two pull requests.


My first OSS contribution

I created my first pull request to an OSS project 3 years after I registered on Github. I know it can be hard to start contributing. At first I didn’t think my code was good enough, then I couldn’t find the right project with the right issue I could fix.

One day an opportunity presented itself. At work I was using auto-parcel to generate the boilerplate required for Parcebale implementation on Android. It’s a cool library based on auto-value by Google. At the time I was using version 0.3 - the version displayed in the README file on Github. A few days later while creating another value class I got an error. I googled the error and it led me to an issue on the project’s Github page. The issue was closed and a new version, version 0.3.1 was released. The README file was outdated, it still pointed to the previous release containing the bug.

I spent 10 minutes because of a bug that was already fixed. What a waste of time. If I wasted time chances are someone else will also run into the same problem so I decided to do something about it. Opening an issue on Github would be nice but the solution was so simple I decided to fix it myself and make a pull request. I also updated another dependency (android-apt) in the README to the latest version. The next day my pull request was accepted and it felt good.

Hacktoberfest 2017

A few days after Hacktoberfest 2017 started I run into an interested project on Github - TornadoFx a Lightweight JavaFX framework for Kotlin. I like Kotlin and it’s Hacktoberfest so I decided to contribute and maybe get a cool T-Shirt in the process. I noticed the project didn’t have enough unit tests so I decided to write a few. I found a file with some extension methods that were easy to test. They didn’t have tests so a wrote a few and I even found a little bug. I opened a pull request and my changes were merged. In my pull request I asked if more tests would be something they would be interested in. The owner replied:

Thanks for your contribution. Tests are most welcome of course :)

I also opened another pull request fixing the bug I had found.

Getting started with contributing to OSS can be intimidating. Starting small can help gain some confidence. Helping with documentation or tests, like I did, is a good place to start. There are thousands of beginner friendly issues tagged with hacktoberfest waiting for you.

Are you participating in Hacktoberfest? Do you remember your first OSS contribution?

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