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My First Contributions and Collaborations in Open-Source

This week I continued my journey into the world of open source by contributing to the work of others, as well as accepting contributions from others for my Micro-Note web app detailed in the previous blog post. I was able to contribute one bug fix, and one additional feature to similar applications built by other students. This was done by utilizing Git features such as posting issues, forking repositories, creating new branches, and creating/receiving pull requests. Details of my contributions are explained below. In addition to these, I also received my first pull request to review nad merge another students contributions to my own application.

Fixing Another Students Bug

One of my colleagues (dbeigi) built a note taking application called "whiteboard" that allows users to save their notes using hotkey inputs, otherwise the application is meant to automatically save the users work every 4 seconds. While I was reviewing the code, I noticed the paramter in the setInterval() function call for the autosave function, was set to "40000". This means the application was auto-saving every 40 seconds instead of 4. After opening an issue, the creator confirmed this was in fact an entry error by him, and allowed to to proceed to fixing it. I forked the repo and created a new branch referencing the issue. I then cloned the repo to correct the code in Visual Studio Code and then pushed it back up to my forked branch using the "git checkout" command to ensure the branch is correct. I then created a pull request referencing the issue and the creator approved, so my contributions were merged into his master branch and his live application.

View Issue
View Pull Request

Adding a Feature to Another Students App

Another one of my colleagues (odaving) built a note taking application called "Whiteboard" that allows users to save their notes using hotkey inputs. One thing I felt it lacked, was complimentary styling that could capture a note-taking look and feel to enhance the user experience. After creating an issue, I went ahead and forked the repo with a new branch and added custom styling using the PaperCSS style-sheet library. I then pushed my changed to my forked repo and created a pull request, that the author eventually reviewed and approved. My contributions were then merged with his master branch, making my contributions live on his app.

View  Issue
View Pull Request

Receiving Another Students Pull Request

Aside from contributing to the work of other, I also learned how to review and merge the contributions of others to my "Mirco-Note" app. After receiving an issue that suggested the addition of hotkey support in my application, I approved and encouraged the issuer to implement the solution he finds best. Once he created a pull request, I reviewed his code and contributions thoroughly and it all checked out. I merged his pull request with my master branch so his contributions can go live in my application, and thanked him for his efforts.

View Issue
View Pull Request

Overall this exercise was highly effective for introducing the core Git functionalities that enable users to collaborate on open-source projects. This increased my confidence as I proceed to my next steps in the world of open source.


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