This article is not about building the next rad web app, if you are after that then you might want to go check out some of Drew Wilson’s work, otherwise continue reading.
The web is full of open source projects that developers use day to day, these projects might not always suit our needs or sometimes might not be built to our liking. There is a continuous trend of developers/designers complaining about how horrible an open source project is and some (including myself) take their rant onto twitter to complain. This then starts to spread like wildfire at times and can get out of hand.
I thought about writing this article after having a go at another developer who was working for a company that developed one of these open source projects I use. I did not even think about how this might sound to someone at the other end because I just wanted to get my annoyance about the project out, but in a turn of event the developer spoke out and let me know how he felt about everyone always complaining to him about this project, even though his role at the company isn’t directly related to the project. To not get into too much detailed, he simply said why don’t you just contribute to where you see a lack in the project?
Now this made perfect sense when he said this to me, but prior to this I didn’t think about doing this in full effect on this particular project. I have always been a strong advocate of contributing to open source projects but in my annoyance at this project I had no time to think I should just contribute to what I see as its short comings.
I have decided to now start contributing to more projects that I use wherever I see a short coming, the thing that us developers don’t seem to take into consideration at times is that the developer(s) who develop these open source projects cannot build to accomodate every use case. These projects are sometimes built for a specific task the developer(s) was working on and then evolved over a period of time.
To not get into too much detailed, he simply said why don’t you just contribute to where you see a lack in the project?
It is way easier to complain about how awful a project is than it is to contribute to it, but I have decided to take the initiative and contribute back in whatever form that may be, not everyone can write code, not everyone can design, not everyone can create a great UX but each can contribute in what they are skilled in. Simple tasks like filing bug reports is contributing to a project, making suggestions on the forum is contributing to a project.
Let this year be a change of approach to open source projects that you use, lets Build Awesome communities, documentations, designs, etc and contribute to open source without the need for a twitter rant.
My initiative is Build Awesome.
If you have any questions, follow and ping me on Twitter- I’m @silentworks.