The reign of hacking `commencer`

Sukhbeer Dhillon
Oct 15 · 2 min read

Doing my first actual Open Source Contribution

After hours of futile searching all over github, I was devastated to realize that I could find nothing to work on. I finally stumbled upon a project called splinter which is a python tool for testing web applications.

I was just starting my journey as an open source contributor, so I thought I should begin with something easy to whet my appetite. I found a documentation issue for the said project.

The issue was asking to add documentation for a method named element_is_visible . The project maintainer was nice enough to direct me to the exact page for the docs.

This project uses reStructuredText(rst) language to build their python documentation. The project recommended using pip to create a virtualenv for my development. Although I already knew what virtualenv was, I had never used it. Through this project, I was able to solidify and confirm my knowledge of this useful tool.

To build rst sources, I had to install Sphinx which is a tool to create documentation. Once I had all the tools, I just had to look for what I was doing.

So I began looking into the source code to understand what the method was doing. It took some time for me to figure out, but once I was equipped with all the knowledge I needed, I set to write down fifteen lines in an existing file. I made sure I was following the documentation rules set previously by the team.

My pull request got merged this weekend. Seeing my work published on the internet in someone else’s project is quite encouraging.

With this new courage, I set on to finding a new issue. This time I was willed to solve a tougher issue. Read my next post for why you should know when to give up (spoiler: I spent too much time on an issue and didn’t get a PR finished for last week).

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