Hacktoberfest 2020 — A new horizon
Hacktoberfest is here! Win a T-Shirt or plant a tree!
Every year in the month of October, DigitalOcean, in partnership with other organisations host Hacktoberfest. This event encourages developers who are new to public, open-source repositories on GitHub to dive right into working on contributions.
Participants needed to make 4 valid contributions (known as “pull requests” or PRs in GitHub lingo) during the month of October to complete the challenge.
At the time of starting the challenge, I was no stranger to contributing to open-source projects. I had already made a feature contribution to PlasmaPy and watchtower and a couple of minor contributions to Portainer. I saw the event as an opportunity to explore and discover other great projects out there on GitHub.
Hunting for issues
Finding a suitable task to do for Hacktoberfest tosses you a mixed bag of emotions. There are larger tasks, smaller tasks, things you are capable of and things that you don’t have the resources for.
My bag of emotions, unfortunately, came with an excess of frustration and worry. I, due to assessments, had the misfortune of starting my hunt for issues rather late. There are lots of great projects on GitHub, however, since I wanted to explore new technologies, I had to search for a contribution that I could handle.
To my dismay, a lot of participants had already snatched up the ‘hacktoberfest’ issues on popular repositories.
Fortunately, every cloud has a silver lining (not really), I happened upon the amazing project, predator. I found a feature request issue that I really liked and went straight for it.
Working on the Issue
At first, I was quite skeptical of how to get started with it. I wasn’t too familiar with the build system that the project was using and I was rather inexperienced with ReactJS that the project used. Naturally, things got challenging really fast when the build wouldn’t start and threw errors left, right and center.
I reached out to the predator team on Slack and got amazing support from the developers. I was able to complete working on a set of PRs that included a feature, a fix and a set of associated test cases.
Having PRs merged is a very rewarding feeling indeed!
Contributing to Crio.Do
When Hacktoberfest started, I had heard from colleagues that there was an organization called Crio.Do that was going to hold an event during Hacktoberfest.
The ‘IBelieveInDoing’ event was aimed at having contributors write small modules called “microbytes” that would contain information about a topic that readers could follow along while doing the included activities to help them learn new concepts or revise known ones. The goal was to encourage readers to take a hands-on approach to improve their understanding.
The event kicked off with some warmup contests which had some amazing quiz style challenges.
We also got to listen to an amazing talk on why Open-Source is important.
Over the course of the event, a lot of contributors put out some amazing microbytes with a lot of rich content.
Feeling rather excited, I took the opportunity to revise a popular, yet frequently overlooked networking topic — traceroute. I completed my microbyte and submitted it as a PR.
The Crio Advocates and maintainers were extremely encouraging and provided great feedback. My PR was then merged into the Crio-Bytes main Networking repository (https://github.com/Crio-Bytes/Networking/tree/main/traceroute).
I was also very pleased to learn that I was named ‘Developer of the Day’ for my contribution.
With this, my 4 PRs for Hacktoberfest were completed! Now, all I had to do was wait for the 14 day review period before my PRs were officially accepted for the Hacktoberfest event.
Closing thoughts and the future
Open-source software is what has enabled me to be the developer that I am today. Everything that I use, from my daily-driver operating system to the tools I used to build applications, are open-source in some way.
By contributing to open-source projects, I have the ability to give back to the communities that are spear-heading innovation and development by making their work available online for developers and students like us to use and learn free-of-cost.
My journey into open-source doesn’t end here. I intend to keep contributing to open-source for as long as I possibly can.