Memories from six years of open source.
I recently stitched together all my GitHub commit graphs to one master graph. The story is very telling, showing the slow progression to committing and sharing more code. Here a few memories about these times.
- I remember lurking through GitHub, admiring projects, and wondering how I could make the first step to get involve. Lurking definitely was a big part of the processes.
- I remember my first pull request… here it is, 2 lines for a library that lets you drag columns in html tables around. Was a great feeling to see this get merged.
- I remember creating my first repository. I’d had the code sitting on my computer for a while, and in the end just went for it. This code is little value to anyone, but it was a big step in sharing.
- I remember my first “popular” project, ZenPen. A medium’esque clone. I’d created it after being turned down for a job there (rightfully so), wanting to prove that I could have done ~ at least ~ some of the work. Learned a lot. Rich text editing api’s are hard.
- I remember the first time I wanted to stop maintaining something. It’s a hard decision to stop looking at issues on a repository and move on. After all, its my code, and reflects on me. Alas, its better to move onto bigger and brighter things than get stuck fixing the same ole bugs. Closing the option off for people to create issues felt bad in the short term, but great in the long term.
- I remember the happiness I felt when people started contributing to the things I made in meaningful ways, adding features, fixing bugs. Merging in something that someone has created is a great feeling.
- I remember the first time someone re-wrote an entire project of mine. I get it, people have different coding styles and patterns… perhaps their code was more efficient or easier for them to read. Having to turn down a pull request, that represents hours of work on someone’s behalf is hard. I’d rather turn it down though, than be the owner of something I didn’t write, and struggle to maintain code that isn’t mine any more.
- I remember some adversity. Can’t please em all. Took me a long time to learn that. And even longer to stop trying to do it.
9. I remember the pleasing sensation when helping people use the code I had written, extending it in a way that they can better use it. Expanding the documentation. Expanding the functionality.
10. I remember the joy of seeing something I wrote in the wild. This always feels good, every time.
The open source community contains a great bunch of clever and creative people. Its not perfect. Nothing is. I’m very proud to be a part of it.