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Hacktoberfest is a challenge hosted by Digital Ocean, in partnership with Github to support Open Source projects.
The concept pretty simple : if you open 4 Pull Requests on public repositories during the month of October, you get a free T-shirt.
When I heard about it in the end of September, I thought it would be a be an interesting challenge because I don’t see my self as a big open source contributor but one of my goal for 2017 is sharing more knowledge, and contributing to Open Source Software projects is a perfect way to share skill and knowledge.
To be honest, getting the free T-shirt is easy : the system can be rigged and if you look at the most popular repositories, they are codebase where you just add your name to a list.
But I was not in it to enlarge my wardrobe, I wanted to do something meaningful with my 4 PRs … and it was more difficult than I expected.
I’m a Scratch your own itch kind of guy, so when I looked at the repositories suggested by DigitalOcean, I was not able to find something I felt comfortable to contribute to (event the easy pick issues).
I had to look into the tools I use on my own projects and finally manage to open 4 on these projects.
novaway/elasticsearch-client was the obvious choice. It’s a library maintained by the company I work for and I am the main contributor to this tool. I made 2 PR to this repository, improving documentation and dev-X.
antonioribeiro/zipcode is a tool I plan to use in a near future. I chose an easy issue for this tool an created a PR, but I realised that the activity on the repo is quite light and I’m afraid it might be abandoned. I plan to maintain a fork if there no activity for some weeks. I saw some other possible enhancement while working on this PR.
I discovered Elao/PhpEnums during October and it looked like a an improvement from a tool I currently use for enums. I decided to have a look at the issues and answer one with a PR. The PR is still open but there is an ongoing conversation on it so event if it’s not merged, it’s not vain.
While in the momentum of contributing, I also created npm-script-list, my first open source NPM module. It’s a modest tool but it can be useful and even if I did not open a PR, this is part of the challenge for me.
I almost failed the challenge. The first draft of this post was a failure post-mortem, but I managed to opened meaningful PRs eventually, and I’m glad I took this Hacktoberfest challenge
Even though I use open source tools on a daily basis, I’ve always found it hard to contribute (I mean, not technically hard, it has become quite easy, but it’s hard on the psychological side, mainly because of the imposter syndrome). Hacktoberfest provided the right amount of incentive to help me practice OSS contributions and open conversations.
If you feel like you should contribute more, I encourage you to take the 2018 challenge. I’ll probably do it to se if I’m more at ease with contributing.
I can now get ready for my November challenge. I will tell you more about it in a later post, but no, it does not require growing a moustache.