How to Contribute to Open Source Projects in Github Image

How to Contribute to Open Source Projects in Github

GitHub is a version control system that allows you to store and manage your coding projects online for free. It’s not only for coders, and it’s not only for enterprise clients. If you want to learn how to get started with GitHub, this is a friendly guide for everyone interested in open source projects in github.

Have you ever wanted to contribute to an open source project, but didn’t know where to start? In this course, you will learn how to set up a Github account, use it to sign into a project, fork a project in your own account, and start contributing!

 Setup the Project

After forking the repository you need to setup the project and test the application on your local device or emulator. Firstly check if there is a read-me guide given in the repository. Some projects have additional setups and plugins which need to be added manually. Once done we can move to the next step.

How to find an issue?

Usually, most of the big and popular project repositories do have some issues or bugs or any required feature for the application. For that go to the issues section of the remote repository on GitHub. Many repositories have issues recommended by other developers. If you do not find an issue there then you can test the project yourself and find any bug or a feature that you think will add value to the application. After knowing what contribution you can make. It’s time to implement it.

  • Commit and Push – Commit changes with proper messages and push them to the repository on Github.
  • Make a Pull Request – To make a pull request you need to push changes to the sub-branch from where the owner of the project can merge it to the main branch.
How to Contribute to Open Source Projects in Github Image

Opening an issue

If you encounter a bug in an open source project, check if the bug has already been reported. If the bug has not been reported, you can open an issue to report the bug according to the project’s contribution guidelines.

Find a project

The most time-consuming task is to find a project where you feel confident enough to make changes. If you are yet to find a project, I recommend checking the first contributions webpage. On the web page, you can find various repositories, which you can filter by technologies. For instance, you can only search for applications written in JavaScript.

However, if you still struggle to find a repository, you can check my OSS Contribution repository. I created it a while ago to help people learn the workflow they use when they make changes to a bigger codebase.

Get your PR merged quickly

  • Find bugs or errors which are very urgent or find features that will increase the value of the project by a significant amount.
  • Communicate with the owner of the repository to look into your PR  also ask for suggestions and discuss other queries.
  • Suggest valid test results (Junit or Expresso) to show that your PR would not break the app.
  • Have a well-maintained Github account with valid information.

Create a branch

Before making and pushing any changes, you have to create a branch. The branch you create holds all your changes. Thus, everyone working on the project can work independently, and without getting into conflict with each other.

When it comes to naming your branch, all open source projects have a naming convention. An example could be your_name/issue_fix. For instance, let us say I want to fix a broken article image. My branch would be something like catalinpit/fix_broken_article_image. Alternatively, you can use a branch name like issue-[issue number]. However, make sure you read the rules and guidelines from each project. Every project does it differently.

Discovering relevant projects

If there’s a particular topic that interests you, visit github.com/topics/<topic>. For example, if you are interested in machine learning, you can find relevant projects and good first issues by visiting https://github.com/topics/machine-learning. You can browse popular topics by visiting Topics. You can also search for repositories that match a topic you’re interested in. For more information, see “Searching for repositories.”

If you’ve been active on GitHub.com, you can find personalized recommendations for projects and good first issues based on your past contributions, stars, and other activities in Explore. You can also sign up for the Explore newsletter to receive emails about opportunities to contribute to GitHub based on your interests. To sign up, see Explore email newsletter.

Keep up with recent activity from repositories you watch and people you follow in the “All activity” section of your personal dashboard. For more information, see “About your personal dashboard.”

Benefits of Contributing to Open Source

Now that you have seen how you can contribute to OS, what are some of the benefits of contributing?

  • People that contribute to an open-source project get to know the technology at a much deeper level than they would be simply using the technology
  • You can focus efforts on adding and leveraging features that will benefit businesses based on experience with what works and doesn’t work in the real world.
  • It builds your morale and reputation. People who contribute to open source projects have access to other community members’ insight and experience.
  • Contributing to open source provides a clear view into the future of a project
  • If you’re on GitHub, a large portion of the things you do on that platform are public. Use this to your advantage by always doing your best when contributing and communicating with fellow contributors. You never know who is looking, your next employer might be there.

Make your changes

After creating the branch, you are ready to make changes to the project.

At this point, you can make code changes, update the documentation, organize the files, or anything else. Always remember that all contributions are important. Whether you add a new feature or fix errors in the documentation, both are important and valuable.

Now that you made the changes, we can move to the next steps – committing and pushing the changes.

Conclusion

If you are new to GitHub or open source software, this guide is designed to help you get started in contributing to your first project. You will learn how to find projects that interest you, and how to become familiar with the different systems and development tools used by contributors.

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