How I made my first contribution to Elixir Docs

Sometime back I wrote a post about how could one find the version of Elixir that they are using. One of the reasons why I wrote that post in the first place was because I wasn’t able to find the relevant command easily, even in the official website for Elixir - http://elixir-lang.org/ .

I took this as an opportunity to actually propose that this be included in a relevant place as part of the http://elixir-lang.org/ docs. This was well received by José Valim, the creator of the Elixir programming language and I was soon able to come up with a pull request for the same here

José well received the idea of specifying the command to find one’s elixir version as part of http://elixir-lang.org/ docs

Learnings/Takeaways from this experience

  • This experience reminded me that one of the easier ways to contribute back to a project is to see what are the possible things that you are currently finding difficult to do in the context of what you are trying to achieve. If you can’t find an easy way to figure that thing out, you’ve mostly found a gap that you could try to address through a pull request. For me this was not being able find the elixir version easily.
  • This experience also reminded me that one shouldn’t necessarily stop in terms of writing a blog post if they’ve found something that’s missing from official docs/repos. They should definitely consider taking this a step further by trying to submit a PR for the same wrt the official repositories.
  • One thing that I definitely learnt in the process is why using --version (i.e., in the context of finding one’s current Elixir version) makes things easy on the new user as mentioned in this github comment by Eksperimental, who is another member of https://github.com/elixir-lang .
Eksperimental suggesting why using “elixir --version” would be easier on a new user when compared to “elixir -v”

The above experience made me realise and also appreciate the effort that is being put in by people like Eksperimental and many others to make the Elixir language as beginner friendly as they possibly can.


The road ahead

Overall, it was a very encouraging experience making my first contribution to Elixir lang by doing my two cents to help improve their documentation. I believe you’d have a similar experience too, so go ahead and open a github issue if there’s something that you’d like to propose wrt Elixir.

I for one have also found the Elixir community to be very supportive(through things like the #beginners channel on elixir-lang.slack.com — you can get a self invite here) to beginners from my experience so far and I’d definitely encourage you to explore Elixir and see what possibilities does the language unfold for you :)

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