Open Source

I have been developing web applications for nearly four years and it was just four months ago that I made my first open source contribution. I suffered from imposter syndrome like so many developers do (great podcast by Ruby Rogues on the imposter syndrome issue).

We were using the build tool Grunt at work to compile our front-end code. I am a huge CoffeeScript fanboy so I wanted to be able to write our Gruntfile in CoffeeScript. I could write my Gruntfile in CoffeeScript however our Gruntfiles were getting large and to solve that problem, my coworker told me about modularizing your Gruntfile with the load-grunt-config module. As I was playing with this module at home I noticed that it only supported js and yaml files at the time. I thought, “Why don’t they support CoffeeScript? I guess I will open an issue.”. Before I did that I started looking at the project and diving into the source of this minimal project, and I realized I could figure it out. I saw they had some tests, so I wrote a test, added the code and a sample file. Here is my commit.

As you can see, I did almost nothing for this project except make myself and all subsequent CoffeeScript enthusiasts happy. All I am trying to say is that you can contribute to open source. It does not need to be a complete fix of the issue on a project that has been going on for three years with 117 posts on the thread. It can be as simple as starting out with a spelling error in a README. Fork the project, fix the spelling mistake and submit a pull request. Github makes it super easy and once you submit your first pull request, the world Open Source Software will not be so big and scary.

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