The No Brainer Guide to Contributing to Open Source Projects

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The No Brainer Guide to Contributing to Open Source Project

Contributing to your first project might seem like a daunting task. Especially since there’s not a lot of documentation on how to begin this process. The aim of this tutorial is to give you the necessary tools in order to start contributing to Open Source projects and improve your portfolio.

Finding A Project

If you go to the explore section on Github you will see different categories of projects.

You can click on any of the sections and you will see a list of projects related to the sections you clicked on. This is a great way to find a project that you might be interested in. If you scroll down, you will see a button labeled “More Showcases”, if you press it, you will see more categories and a search bar will be added on top of the first three project sections.

Use the search bar to look for the following section “Great for New Contributors”, if you can’t find it. Here is a link to the section. These projects have been chosen by Github to be a great place to start for new contributors.

Finding Issues — Opportunities —

Node happens to be a very popular tool, and becoming a contributor to NodeJS will look great on any portfolio. So I’m going to go ahead and click on NodeJS. This is going to bring me to the main repo. On the top bar locate the Issues tab.

The issues section is the main location where you are going to find opportunities to contribute to the project of your choosing.

Take notice of the following three things:

  1. You can create your issues — If you find an issue with the project or something is not working correctly this is a great way to get some help.
  2. Each issue has a label — The labels are added by the project’s team, some projects won’t have any.
  3. Notice the search bar — by putting the cursor in the search bar(make sure not to delete the text that’s already there) and adding the name of a label, you can search for issues that match only that label.

Searching Labels

On the right-hand side of the search bar, you will find a button labeled labels. Click on it, this will bring you to a page that lists all the labels used in the project. You are looking for any label that indicates that the issue is friendly to newcomers.

The “good first contribution” label seems like a safe bet, so I’m going to search for all current issues that have this label.

the results if any, will be a list of all issues containing the label.

If you don’t find any issues, find another label and repeat the process. If you click into the issue it will give you a description of the issue, In my case, I did find an issue.

Now that you have chosen an issue, you can fork the repository, and begin working on it.

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