This past October I participated in an awesome Open Source event called “Hacktoberfest”, sponsored by Digital Ocean and GitHub.
Hacktoberfest is a month-long celebration of Open Source where developers are encouraged to contribute to the community. Participation is easy:
- Pull requests can be made in any GitHub-hosted repositories/projects.
- A contribution can be anything—fixing bugs, creating new features, or updating and writing documentation.
Further, if you opened four pull requests in Open Source repositories between October 1st and October 31st you would win a cool Hacktoberfest t-shirt and other swag.
Maintainers of Open Source projects (including some here at BV) were asked to tag open issues with “Hacktoberfest” if they wanted help with that issue during the event. GitHub provides the ability to search issues based tags, so it was really easy to find cool projects and issues to work on.
I personally started off small, helping one team track down a bug with their JSON files, and another finish a database for movies used by their front-end application (similar to IMDB).
Then came my Hacktoberfest pièce de résistance.
In my 20% time here at Bazaarvoice I had been playing around with browser extensions / add-ons, specifically in an effort to make implementing our products easier for our clients. So when I saw that Mozilla and the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) were asking for someone to create a browser extension for them, I was immediately interested.
They noticed that a popular type of extension being authored was what they were calling a “replacement” add-on, something that would replace words or phrases in a web page with alternate words, or images, etc.
In their Web Extensions Examples repository, they were looking for an example of such an add-on that they could turn into a “How to Write your First Add-On” tutorial. Thus their two main requirements were:
- The code must be simple and easy to follow for beginners.
- The code must be performant because it would likely be copied a lot.
Seeing as how readability and performance are two of the main things that we check for in every code review here at Bazaarvoice, this was right up my alley!
I was so excited that I stayed up all weekend to finish the project:
@supernova_at Hacking together open source late at night on Friday, October… 14th? It’s almost too sp00ky to miss!
— DigitalOcean (@digitalocean) October 15, 2016
I submitted my pull request, worked with the developers at Mozilla, and was so proud when my Emoji Substitution contribution was merged into their repository. What a rush!
As we traded Hacktoberfest-themed emoji (???? and ???? were my favorites), fixed bugs, and fleshed out their projects, it was really cool to lend my expertise and experience the gratitude of all the teams I worked with – this is what Open Source is all about!
I had a great time participating in Hacktoberfest this year and will definitely do it again next year. You should join me!