Week 14 - Concluding Thoughts

When I initially registered for the course, I thought of the git skills I’d gain by the end of the semester. But looking at it now, open source development is not all about git/github like most would think. Instead, it’s a collective effort made to support communities. Throughout the semester, our class was exposed to several open source projects that served different purposes. Some were created in a humanitarian effort to provide underserved regions with the help they need (e.g. healthcare, education, environment) and others were made as a side project that was shared with the rest of the world. We also had the opportunity to dive into these projects and experience the whole lifecycle of making our first contributions.

One of my first “real” contributions was to Open Food Facts-a “wiki” for food that promotes data transparency about what people eat. My goal was to refine my web development skills and to learn the git workflow for open source contributions. However, I’ve learned so much more. For example, I learned to never trust the github programming languages bar, as it can be misleading. I know that the github bar is meant to reflect the files that are within the repository. But I think it’d better to replace it with a bar that presents the most involved programming language in the project so that contributors know what they’re getting into. I have no regrets with the project we chose. I’ve come to love the community and look forward to making more contributions in the future. Yet, I still believe it’d be a good heads up for prospective contributors to know what and how much they need to know for a code contribution. Another thing I learned is how passionate and supportive community members are. In my experience, you’re given support from the start and are acknowledged for everything you do.

Throughout my first contribution, I’ve interacted with project maintainers when I hit roadblocks. Instead of receiving generic responses, they each took the time to help me navigate through the project and thanked me for my contribution. This experience made my contribution more meaningful and has inspired me to pursue other open-source projects that communities depend on to do critical work.

Even though our semester isn’t ideally how we thought it’d be, it all worked out in the end. I’ve come to enjoy the community aspect of open source development, and have the rest of the summer to apply what I’ve learned and go beyond. Unity is important during these trying times, and what better way to show it by empowering communities through open source.

Written before or on May 10, 2020