Contributing to Smaller Projects

This week I was having some trouble finding issues on projects which caught my interest. In response to this I decided I would take the path less traveled and look for projects that were newer and smaller in scale.

A friend of mine had told me about a project he had recently contributed to which was relatively small. It was a repository for a website of a charity with the goal of encouraging teachers by supplying material and funds for the classroom. The project used react which was a technology I was familiar with, however in a style that I was not used to.

I was quickly able to find an issue I believed I could tackle. They were in need of a registration page. My first thought was to take the issue literally. Therefore, I implemented an entirely new component which could be used on the registration page. Upon my pull request, one of the project maintainers pointed out that it would be better to simply add some states to the existing login component as the two were so similar.

I agreed as I had thought of this myself, however, followed the instructions of the original issue instead. This new implementation allowed for a simple toggle button to be pressed and the sign in form would be updated to a registration form instead. After adding the changes to my pull request it was merged into the project.

While this pull request was easier due to the much smaller scale of the project, it had the greatest impact as I added an entire new feature. My previous contributions were to large repositories and therefore adding new features or fixing bugs are both more difficult and less noticeable in the grand scheme of things. Therefore, while I did enjoy the idea of making a greater difference I believe that the best learning opportunities are in the much larger projects as there are more obstacles to overcome.

Next week, I hope to be able to find something exciting as the grand finale of my month of contributions.