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Thread: Open Source Programming for beginners

  1. #1
    Mdigar77 is offline Member
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    May 2014
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    Default Open Source Programming for beginners

    Hello everyone, I am in desperate need of some guidance with regards of open source programming.

    I really want to start getting my hands dirty working on open source projects.
    I understand that it is different and not easy to pick up and jump right in to, but I am really lost as to where to begin.

    I have about 1.5 years of experience in Java programming with some experience in other languages. I am to a point where I think I can understand and possibly work on open source, but when I try to go to somewhere like GitHub, I get overwhelmed and confused by the projects that I look at.

    To be honest, I am perfectly content with spending a large amount of time trying to figure out a project and make it better somehow.
    However, I am completely lost with where to get started.

    I know that I should work on something I am interested in, but more advice beyond that would definitely help.

    Some specific questions that I have include:

    Are there any specific places where I can find strictly Java coded open source projects?
    Is there anywhere where I can find open source projects that are beginner-friendly?
    Is there anywhere where I can find people who are willing to mentor or help out a newbie open source programmer?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    jim829 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Open Source Programming for beginners

    I have never done that myself although I have thought about it. If I were going to do that I would look for open source projects that interest me and then pose your type of question to the appropriate leader or POC for the project. Usually, there are special links/and or guidance for those who wish to contribute.

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  3. #3
    kneitzel is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Open Source Programming for beginners


    I will try to give you my personal view:
    - Beginner friendly? I doubt that you find such a project. The target of an opensource project is mainly to produce a product. Not to teach a beginner.
    - Do not look at projects that just look interesting. Only look at products that you really want to use. The worst in a project arr jumpers: you slow down development and try to integrate someone and then the person left again. (One argument for not teaching beginners in a project.) If you use a product, then you understand at least part of the usage.
    - Before joining a project: make yourself a list of requirements. It should be some kind of professional. So I would check that the project has unit tests and that the coverage is not to bad. And I would have a look at the code. Names should be choosen wisely and methods shouldn't be to long or have to many codeblocks in each other.

    With kind regards,


  4. #4
    gimbal2 is offline Just a guy
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    Default Re: Open Source Programming for beginners

    The troublesome thing about open source projects is the management of it; novices cannot really enter into them because they NEED mentoring and that is not something that can happen in such a distant and disconnected environment.

    The best way to roll into a project as a novice is:

    a) don't start with that, build a couple of smaller things yourself first - to completion. Get the required experience to at least be able to get something working
    b) start off by submitting small bugfixes, help out with the documentation, answer questions in the forums (requiring you to be intimate with the API/framework/library/tool yourself)

    When you've helped out enough to prove you're dedicated and capable, you can be almost sure to get an invite to become an actual committer.
    kneitzel likes this.
    "Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon." -- Alan Perlis

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