A GitHub Contribution Journey

2020-09-19

Because Hacktoberfest is coming up, my brother and I celebrated Preptember by taking a journey on GitHub. We made a contribution and want others to see how it works. You can view the whole journey on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoD791kESPn8gLoK3mht3Uo4KXrAP5F7Q, or read on below to see each video.

Finding a Project

Our journey began. The first step in our process was to find a good project to work on. We started by looking at Github trending repositories. We were looking for something simple, like a Javascript widget. It is always good to find something small to start, as big projects have many steps and require domain knowledge.

Using the Project

We found a project called React Select. This project was a simple select box, with tons of features. Not only did the project have many features, but the project was well documented and had a lot of CI/CD set up. This was a great project to start on as you can learn much of the open-source best practices.

Compiling the Project Locally

Next, our mission was to compile the project locally, make a change, and see that change we made. It was a small struggle to get started, as the linking setup wasn't clear. However, we decided to just start hacking away. This is a common strategy in programming. Sometimes, you just have to code and see what happens.

We achieved success and make a code change to the project. Now, we were on our way to contributing.

Finding an Issue & Reviewing Someone's Work

Afterward, we decided to explore the issues. There must be some bug that was easy enough for us to tackle. However, we decided to start browsing PRs to get some hints on how to make a modification, which led us to review someone's code and learn more about the project. This is a highly recommended strategy. Reviewing code and retracing the steps someone made to contribute will give you a head start on your contribution.

Making our Contribution

The final stage was set. Our journey was coming to an end. We read lots of code, struggled, and now we wanted to make our contribution. We decided to keep it simple by adding an example to the documentation. We booted up the project, looked at some examples, and hacked away. After a short while, we made our first commit and proposed our PR. We were now contributors.

GoTea - KoalaTea