Source code is the behind-the-scenes code used to build a website. Should you wish to make changes in text or other elements on a website, how you access that source code depends upon the browser you are using to view the site.
There’s nothing like reading the source code of a web page to make you feel, well, nostalgic. Like anything else that you do in life, the more times you do it, the more comfortable and familiar it becomes. Of course, this is not always the case, but try going back to doing something that you didn’t do for a long time and see how quickly you fall back into the habit. I’m sure this has happened to every person who has ever visited a website before.
To view the source code of a web page in Google Chrome, use any of the following methods.
View source code only
To view only the source code, press the shortcut keys Ctrl+U on your computer’s keyboard.
View page source with elements
- Open Chrome and navigate the web page whose source code you’d like to view.
- Click the Customize and control Google Chrome icon in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
- From the drop-down menu that appears, select More tools, then select Developer tools.
- Click the Elements tab in the top-left corner of the new section that appears at the bottom of the screen.
In Chrome, pressing F12 or Ctrl+Shift+I also brings up the interactive developer tool. This tool provides much more interaction with the source code and CSS settings, allowing users to see how changes in the code affect the web page immediately.
Pros of Brave:
Cons of Brave:
- The opt-in micro-payment system to support content creators has an unclear pathway to get your payments to your intended recipient
You can find Brave’s source code (available under the Mozilla Public License) in its extensive GitHub repositories (there are 140 repos as of this writing).
Although Chrome is now the most popular browser, Mozilla Firefox is the one that started the whole open source web browser sensation. Before Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer seemed to be undefeatable. But the birth of Firefox shook that belief. One interesting bit of trivia is that its co-founder Blake Ross was only 19 years old when Firefox was released.
Pros of Mozilla Firefox:
- Many extensions are available
- Uniform user experience across different systems
Cons of Mozilla Firefox:
- Heavy memory usage
- Some HTML5 compatibility issue
Firefox’s source code is available under the Mozilla Public License (MPL), and it maintains comprehensive guidelines on how to contribute.
To view the source code of a web page in Microsoft Edge, use any of the following methods.
View source code only
To view only the source code, press Ctrl+U on your computer’s keyboard.
View page source with elements
- Open Microsoft Edge and navigate the web page whose source code you’d like to view.
- Click the Settings and more icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.
- Move your mouse over More tools in the drop-down menu, and select Developer tools from the expanded menu.
- Click the Elements tab at the top of the window that appears on the right side of the screen.
In Microsoft Edge, pressing F12 or Ctrl+Shift+I also brings up the interactive developer tool. This tool provides interaction with the source code and CSS settings, allowing users to see how changes in the code affect the web page in real time.
Konqueror may not be the most well-known internet browser, and that is okay because it is responsible for KHTML, the browser engine forked by Apple and then Google for the Safari and Chrome browsers (and subsequently used by Brave, Vivaldi, and several other browsers). Today, Konqueror can use either its native KHTML engine or the Chromium fork. Konqueror is maintained by the international KDE free software community, and it’s easy to find on most Linux desktops.
Pros of Konqueor:
- Pre-installed on many Linux desktops
- Fast and efficient
- Built-in ad-blocker and pop-up blocker
- Customizable URL shortcuts
- Doubles as a file manager, man page viewer, and much more
Cons of Konqueror:
- Primarily runs in Linux
- Requires several KDE libraries to be installed
Ah, Lynx. Lynx is a unique browser as it is entirely text-based. It is also the oldest web browser still in use and still under development. You might think, “who would use a text-based browser?” But it works, and there is a big community supporting this special open source browser.
Pros of Lynx:
- Extremely lightweight
- Extremely minimal
- Extremely secure
- Supports DOS and Windows
- Ideal for testing and safe browsing
Cons of Lynx:
- Nothing but text
Lynx’s source code is available under the GNU Public License (GPL) and maintained on GitHub.
If you hear “Midori,” you might think of a green-hued cocktail. But the Midori browser is an open source, lightweight browser. If you want a simple and lightweight browser, Midori might be an interesting one to look at. But note that there is no stable release for this browser, and it is known to be quite buggy.
Pros of Midori:
Cons of Midori:
- Still no stable release
- Almost no extensions
- No process isolation
Midori’s source code is available under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) and maintained on GitHub.
Picking issues to work on and making contributions
Projects may list the work that needs to be done in task, bug, and issue trackers. For example, Angular uses Github’s project management feature to outline and assign tasks and track their progress. If a project has one, get access to it.
As a rule of thumb, start with the easiest and smallest contributions first that take the least amount of work to build up your confidence and credibility before trying harder contributions. Writing documentation and fixing typos is a good place to begin. Look for issues that are tagged for beginners with the tags mentioned earlier.
After you pick a task you think you can finish, do your research. Read documentation, code, and discussions related to the task to get a better understanding of what to do. If you’re stuck on something even after you’ve researched it, reach out to the community and ask for help, clarification, or mentorship. However, make sure that you discuss issues related to the task publicly so that the rest of the community can benefit from what you learn. For example, discuss an issue publicly on Github versus in a private direct message on Slack. Once you feel like you have enough context on a task and know how to go about it, write some code and submit a PR. Github has a great checklist about what to check for before you contribute to a project so your effort is not wasted.
Join the community
You can easily join an open source project by subscribing to the mailing list for that project. You can find mailing lists on official websites or on GitHub pages. After being accepted to the list, you can communicate with team members and get support if necessary. Thanks to the vibrant communities present in nearly every OSS project, you are likely to get quick replies to your questions.
Submitting your work
After you’ve completed work on your contribution, submit it as per the contribution guidelines. At times, your submission may not get a reply even after a reasonable amount of time has gone by. In such cases, respectfully request a review or get in touch with other contributors for assistance. Post-review changes may be requested. Try to make them as soon as possible so that your contribution is integrated promptly and does not become out-of-date or forgotten. If your contribution is rejected, ask for feedback to understand why. When reviewers ask questions, make comments, or give feedback, be responsive and check on your work for any updates regularly. Treat this like any other work and be professional, courteous, and respectful.
All skills are welcomed
Even non-programmers can contribute to open source projects! Documentation is needed for all projects, and sometimes this is poorly written and maintained. Thus, you can help by writing, updating or even translating documentation. Also, your design skills might come in handy: every application needs an interface, after all. Finally, you can contribute by managing a community by replying to questions and guiding newcomers.
For this purpose you will need Internet Explorer, or a similar application. You can download Internet Explorer from the Microsoft website under the “Downloads” menu, and it is free.