Node Todo: Get Started Contributing To Node.js Core

Lots of projects have labels in their issue trackers for “good first contributions” or “easy fixes” and similar.

In my experience, these things run into a bunch of problems. And maybe, some day, I’ll write an article explaining some of those problems.

But for now, I want to talk about an attempted solution to those problems, or at least an attempt to extend and improve the “good first contribution” label.

I started Node Todo. This is basically me (and pretty soon, others) offering to mentor people — anyone who knows a little JavaScript qualifies! — through their first (and second and third) contribution to Node.js core.

All you have to do is show up at one of our events, or email us at, or get in touch with @NodeTodo on Twitter.

Here’s how it works:

  • Follow the brief Getting Started instructions. It’s OK if you run into trouble. That’s what we’re here for! Ask!
  • Once you’re all set up, we’ll talk for a minute or two about where your interests lie and so on. Then we’ll hand over a task for you.
  • You fix it and submit a pull request to node. We help try to make sure it doesn’t get stalled needlessly. We help you shepherd your pull request through.

I literally have saved up over 100 easy-ish things to fix in Node.js core specifically to hand out to people for Node Todo and I (and soon others, I hope) are gathering more all the time.

Sometimes, the tasks are extremely simple, like changing == to ===. This allows people to focus on the process of getting code in rather than understanding anything too deeply.

And sometimes, things are a little more involved, like refactoring a test. It’s not hugely complicated, but it helps you learn particulars about the code (like how Node.js core tests are organized and what tools are used to run them).

I’m just getting started with this, and I’d love to help you. Please get in touch! Find out how at

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