Contributing To Open Source (Part V)

This blog post was written for the Google Code In 2016 FOSSASIA task – Blog J: Post an article or video about your Code-In experience with FOSSASIA. The featured picture for the blog post is a screenshot of the Gitter Channel for FOSSASIA Open Event Web App.

After doing quite a number of the tasks offered by Google Code In 2016 and the organisation which I am working with, FOSSASIA, I feel that I have gained a lot – both in terms of technical expertise as well as hands-on experiences working with other like-minded individuals.

Firstly, I would like to state that the most important thing that I had learned in Google Code In 2016 and my experience with the FOSSASIA community is that participation in the community is very helpful and would benefit both others and yourself in the long run. When I was beginning Google Code In and started to complete my first few tasks, I was met with a lot of roadblocks-my pull requests we rejected on a daily basis, some of the merged pull requests had failed Travis CI (Continuous Integration) and moreover I could not even install some of the basic software and programs needed in order to launch the applications in the FOSSASIA repository. That was when I turned to the Gitter channels of the various FOSSASIA GitHub repositories and asked the numerous questions that I had. Soon I received helpful answers that were able to aid me in getting me out of the sticky predicament which I had landed myself in. When I aided other newcomers and first-timers to FOSSASIA Google Code In by answering some of the questions, such as the different parts of the Open Event ecosystems as well as how to compile and launch some web applications successfully, I felt as if I was at the top of the world as I had just helped to solve someone’s problem which could potentially take up a lot of their time and even worse, make them uninterested and unwilling to contribute to FOSSASIA.

Secondly, I would like to say that my favorite task, in all of the numerous Google Code In tasks I completed, would be to create a JSON (Javascript Object Notation) schema file for Open Event. In the process of creating a JSON file, I had to dig through some of the records of past FOSSASIA events, namely FOSSASIA 2015. This made me genuinely interested in FOSSASIA conferences and gave me some knowledge on what FOSSASIA has to offer and the courses for other like-minded programmers and designers it had organised over the years.

As to what I think FOSSASIA mentors do in future contests to make them better, I would say that there is only one thing- which is to remove some Google Code In tasks which have been completed as it may be misleading. (I have seen some of my friends who have also participated in Google Code In 2016 for FOSSASIAjump to other organisations due to this). But this is a trivial issue. Most of the time,  the FOSSASIA mentors were professional-they gave timely advice in both the Google Code In task chat as well as in the Gitter channels and GitHub repositories, had a clear aim of what they wanted FOSSASIA and the projects it was organising to become, and were most of the time honest (sometimes, brutally so, but nevertheless), helping me to improve on my past work, see flaws that I would not even have noticed and all in all, helping me to become a better programmer and designer.

Personally, I plan to continue participating with FOSSASIA for the next few Google Code In contests (until I am over the age limit…). I would try to continue to contribute to FOSSASIA repositories and finish on the work which I had committed towards (such as translating the FOSSASIA Open Event Organiser Server and Public Lab’s official website into Simplified Chinese) if my time and schedule permits. To all those people who are reading my post and wish to contribute to FOSSASIA, I’ll tell you this-just do it!

The link to the FOSSASIA official website is at http://fossasia.org

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