codiBeginner guide to get started with OPEN SOURCE

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GitHub is the most popular platform for open source collaboration, so you’ll probably use it when exploring the world of OSS.

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.

Find a programming language.

First and foremost, you must choose a programming language of your choice.

The most fundamental technology behind any application is a programming language. The most popular languages on GitHub (a collaborative code hosting platform) are JavaScript, Python, Java, Ruby, and PHP. There are a multitude of projects that might suit your skills and taste.

It is the most basic and most important step. If you are interested in web development then go with html, css, javascript, reactjs, nodejs, VueJS etc, or if you are interested in the app development then go with flutter, kotlin etc.

Once you are done with selecting a programming language, Learn about version control specially git.

Learn about version control

Version control, also known as source control, is the practice of tracking and managing changes to software code. Version control systems are software tools that help software teams manage changes to source code over time. As development environments have accelerated, version control systems help software teams work faster and smarter. They are especially useful for DevOps teams since they help them to reduce development time and increase successful deployments.

If you are a graphic or web designer and want to keep every version of an image or layout (which you would most certainly want to), a Version Control System (VCS) is a very wise thing to use. It allows you to revert selected files back to a previous state, revert the entire project back to a previous state, compare changes over time, see who last modified something that might be causing a problem, who introduced an issue and when, and more. Using a VCS also generally means that if you screw things up or lose files, you can easily recover. In addition, you get all this for very little overhead.

By far, the most widely used modern version control system in the world today is Git. If you want to know about it then prefer to this website.

Finding projects to work on

I accept that as a beginner it is not easy to find a project. 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.

What is open source software (OSS)?

Open source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.

“Source code” is the part of software that most computer users don’t ever see; it’s the code computer programmers can manipulate to change how a piece of software — a “program” or “application” — works. Programmers who have access to a computer program’s source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don’t always work correctly.

Open source software programmers can charge money for the open source software they create or to which they contribute. But in some cases, because an open source license might require them to release their source code when they sell software to others, some programmers find that charging users money for software services and support (rather than for the software itself) is more lucrative. This way, their software remains free of charge, and they make money helping others install, use, and troubleshoot it.

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.

Programs that help in contributing open source

Here’s a list of resources that can help jumpstart your open source career:

  1. Awesome for open source beginners
  2. Bugzilla
  3. Code triage
  4. Contributor.ninja
  5. First contributions
  6. First-timers only
  7. Hacktoberfest
  8. Gauger.io
  9. Issuehub
  10. Open source handbook
  11. Open source programs
  12. Opensource.guide
  13. Pull request roulette
  14. Your first PR

Conclusion

Open source projects bring many benefits to those who participate in them, and such experience is great for your CV. By joining a community of like-minded people and polishing up your skills, you can give yourself a step up as an aspiring developer. We’ve listed common reasons why people contribute to OSS projects, and described various ways to get started. If you would like to read more about contributing to OSS projects, check out our previous articles about how open source projects penetrate the IT market and about the security of free software.

keep practicing, keep going, keep coding 🤞


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