open source project newb seeks advice
July 2, 2012 7:08 AM Subscribe
Programming-improvement filter: So how EXACTLY do I get involved in open source projects?
posted by dragonfruit to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I've been reading some past AskMe's about improving one's programming skills, and a lot of the suggestions have to do with working on some open source projects, both to better one's skills and to build up a portfolio of one's work. I want to take my programming skills to the next level. What I want to know is, how EXACTLY does one go about joining an open source project? I'm a complete newb in this area (open source projects, not programming itself), so please pardon me if the following questions seem stupid. I've only done solo projects while fiddling on my own and small group projects in a classroom setting.
Specifically, please address, if you can
- how does one go about picking the right project? I want to choose a project that is challenging enough that I'll still learn some stuff (shouldn't be hard, I'm not an expert or anything) but not so hard that I'll be completely useless to the project. I am intimidated by a lot of the larger projects. Would there be a way that I could still contribute something to them, or should I start (way) smaller?
- how exactly does one start working on the project, logistics wise? I imagine this will differ project-by-project, as some are much more organized than others. I've checked several websites of some large scale open source projects (and I know those are above my skill level now, I was just checking the format), but this is still not sufficiently clear to me. A step-by-step list, if you could, would be very helpful.
- what is the work flow like? what is the time scale like? Would I be communicating a great deal with others? Would I be familiarizing myself with all the code or would I likely be confined to work on a small, self-contained piece of code? I would love to hear about your experience.
If it matters, I'm comfortable with java, C, and python. In terms of web languages, I have worked with html, css, and php.
Any project recommendations, skills I should pick up, things a newb should watch out for, and other tips from more experienced programmers would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.