Open-Source Software Contributions Made Easy
A quick update on the progress of the Horizen Developer Environment
The Horizen Developer Environment (HDE) was announced in August and we have been busy working on it since. The idea behind the HDE is to make it easy for developers to get started contributing to the Horizen ecosystem.
After the announcement, many developers reached out and confirmed our initial hypothesis: the barrier to entry for OSS contributions is quite high. Although some of the developers that reached out have years of job experience, they were struggling to find a good starting point for their first open-source contribution.
When asked why they had not contributed to OSS projects before, despite their interest, a lack of confidence and incentives to get involved were common answers. Other reasons included not understanding how the contribution process works and indecisiveness about which project to contribute to.
By making it easy to navigate open GitHub issues, providing financial incentives, dedicating resources to support community contributors and gathering all resources needed to get started contributing in one place, I believe the HDE is well equipped to lower said barriers significantly.
Over the last couple of weeks, we defined the MVP for the HDE and are currently in the process of building it. The main function of the first iteration will be navigating GitHub issues in a way that feels familiar, no matter if you have used GitHub before or not. This will also allow us to add non-code related tasks to the HDE, things like creating a tutorial or How-To.
Finding and filtering issues across the different repositories within our GitHub organization will be easier than ever using the Tasks page. You will be able to access all the information about an issue that you would find on GitHub and additionally see information about live bounties. Team requests will allow you to flag issues you would like to tackle, but that you don’t feel comfortable working on by yourself.
The Tools page serves as a resource especially for people new to software development and provides some guidance on what collaborative tools are useful and which ones the Horizen team uses.
The GitHub Process page is the place where you will find all the information you need to start contributing. We provide an overview of our codebase and link to our contribution policy, developer policy as well as the maintainer policy.
What we are still working on
While we did define the MVP from a technical perspective, we are now working on the not-so-fun nitty-gritty part of the HDE.
One of the things you need to consider when adding bounties is that it will require us to collect identifiable information about our contributors before they are eligible to claim a bounty. We are actively looking into the regulatory situation and are working hard to come up with a solution that will both protect the Zen Blockchain Foundation (ZBF) against any legal issues as well as allow contributors to collect bounties in a convenient way.
Not only does the Bounty Payout Policy need to account for the regulatory situation when paying out bounties, but also the different types of disputes that might eventually arise. Disputes can occur between contributors in case an issue was solved collaboratively but agreement on splitting the bounty cannot be reached.
Once we have all the details figured out we want to take the HDE live as soon as possible. Because the platform itself will be open-source, we will happily accept contributions improving the HDE itself and allow developers to add features that will add more value to it - in turn attracting new contributors.
Stay in the loop…
If you like the idea and want to be kept in the loop, please take a look at the Google Form below. I will update those interested in the progress of the project whenever there is news worth talking about. You won’t receive the Horizen newsletter but only HDE related updates by signing up.
You will also be among the first to take a look at the HDE when we move to the beta stage.
Feel free to leave your email only, but if you are up for it we are happy about every answer we get for the optional questions below, so we can make the HDE as good, useful and usable as possible!
A previous, more detailed article on the HDE can be found here.