This guide is structured to help both new and experienced contributors build a portfolio of meaningful contributions. I’ll start by covering the background behind open source projects. Then, I’ll introduce conventional ways to get involved with the community. Finally, I’ll highlight some advanced techniques you can use to differentiate yourself as a top contributor.
Are you new to Open Source and would like to learn how to contribute to an Open Source project but are not exactly sure how to? Well, before I got into Open Source I felt the same way. I was excited about what I could do with Open Source, but was not exactly sure how to get started either. This tutorial will help you learn the best ways of getting involved in an Open Source project.
Get to know GitHub
GitHub is the most popular platform for open source collaboration, so you’ll probably use it when exploring the world of OSS. First, you need to create a GitHub account and read the guide that helps you get started. On GitHub, you can contribute to projects by submitting issues and contributing code. Submitting issues means sending messages about errors in applications and suggesting ways to fix them. Contributing code involves sending pull requests with your corrections and improvements.
Java Design Patterns
Design patterns are among the most useful practices for a programmer. They help you speed up the programming process by solving general problems much quicker. Design patterns provide you with tested development paradigms, so the development process becomes quick and straightforward.
You can reuse design patterns to avoid small errors and issues, leading to significant problems in your project. Another advantage of design patterns is they enhance your code’s readability for others.
As the name suggests, Java design patterns is a collection of design patterns for Java. A product of seasoned architects and programmers, the patterns help you simplify development with Java. The project requires you to be familiar with the numerous Software Design Principles.
All the patterns in this project have useful descriptions to understand where you should use a particular pattern and where you shouldn’t. We recommend learning more about this project as it’s a must-have for every Java programmer. It has over 62 thousand stars on GitHub, so you can understand how popular it is.
Finding projects to work on
One way to find projects to work on is to look to open source software you use often and like. Is there a tool, package, framework, or a language that you work with regularly and enjoy using? Find out whether it’s an open source project by checking its license and if it accepts contributions and is active. Working on things you already use gives you an edge when contributing because you’re already pretty familiar with how it works and have experience using it. As a bonus, you can address problems that have been bothering you or suggest features that you want in the software. If you are going to contribute code to the project, be sure you can work in the language it’s written in.
If the above approach may not work for you, try using the Github explore page to find projects that are accepting contributions or actively want help. Github suggests projects you may like based on people and repositories you follow, star, and watch. Another way to find projects is to use Github’s search tool by entering beginner-friendly contribution tags like good-first-issue, good-first-bug, beginner-friendly, easy, low-hanging-fruit, first-timers-only, etc. Filter search results to return issues in open states and in the languages you’d like to work in. There are tons of other tools, platforms, and programs where you could find open source projects that I’ll list at the end of this article to help you with your search.
To have a positive contribution experience, try to avoid communities that are hostile to beginners and generally problematic. If for example, when trying to ask legitimate questions after you’ve done your research, you receive dismissive and combative comments or insults, it’s best to stay away. Another sign to be watchful for is a pattern of unprofessional behavior within a community. Some open source software projects have been infamous for this sort of thing. So do your research before contributing.
If you’re interested in the Internet of Things (IoT), then you must get acquainted with Arduino. It is an open-source electronics platform based on simple software and hardware. An Arduino board can read various inputs such as a finger pressing a button, a tweet, or a light on a sensor and convert it into an output, such as turning on a torch, activating a system, or publishing something.
As a microcontroller platform, it’s very accessible and easy to use. It has cross-platform compatibility as it can run on Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux. Even though it is quite simple to use, its versatility and flexibility make it suitable for experienced programmers.
If you want to use Java in IoT, then learning about Arduino would surely be a significant step. Its GitHub repository has more than ten thousand stars, so you can understand how popular it is.
Learn the basics
When working with GitHub, you should know how to use Git – one of the most popular version control tools (also known as revision control tools). Because developers constantly make changes to their code, they need a system that can manage those changes in a central repository. In this way, everyone involved in the development process can download a given piece of software, make changes, and submit updates.
Blynk is a prominent Internet of Things solution that allows to build web and mobile applications for the Internet of Things. You can use this platform to connect more than 400 hardware models such as ESP8266, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi with drag and drop IoT mobile apps within a few minutes.
Blynk lets you connect your devices to design apps, the cloud, and analyze telemetry data. It is undoubtedly among the most prominent Java open source projects. If you’re interested in learning about IoT, then you should definitely start with Blynk. It is fast and provides you with proper connection management. Apart from those advantages, it allows you to connect with public and private servers. Its primary server is based on Java, so you can learn a lot from it.
Are you new to contributing to open source projects? This guide will show you how. It’s full of links to great tutorials that will teach you what you need to know as well as providing some great tips on good practices.