How to Contribute to Open Source Projects – Some Uncommon Ways

As the title says, “Some Uncommon Ways”. What does that mean? The most common way to contribute to an open-source project is by code. But some no-code ways are uncommon compared to the most common ones. Sounds confusing? We want to say there are many ways by which you can contribute to open-source projects without writing any code. Let’s discuss these methods in detail.

So, most of the time, developers fix the issues in a code repository or implement a new feature to contribute to open source. Other than this, there may be some feature enhancement tasks. All of these contribution methods are very common. But in all the listed ways, you must write the code. But there are many ways by which you can contribute to projects without writing any coding stuff.

What methods are we going to cover:

In this article, we will cover methods that you can use to contribute to open-source projects. In most of the methods below, you don’t have to write the code, but in others, you have to write some code, but these are still uncommon.

  • Documentation and Tutorials
  • Code Reviews and Testing
  • Localization (multiple languages support)
  • Design UI/UX
  • DevOps and Tooling

Documentation and Tutorials:

Almost all of the open-source projects need documentation. If you need a suitable place to find open-source web projects to check whether documentation exists, then you can visit the Open Source Collection. It lists a lot of web projects based on different languages and frameworks. You can think of your documentation as a guideline for using the project. You can think of this as a manual of a machine that you just bought. The company also gives us manuals if we buy machines like washing machines or LED TVs. The manual lists the information about the machine and mentions a step-by-step guide for using the machine. Documentation serves the same purpose for a project. The project could be anything like a software application, a framework, or a language package.

Other than this, you can also record some video tutorials on how to use the project. You can then share these tutorials in the repository by mentioning them in the Readme.md file of the project. But for this, you must make a Pull Request to the repo. You will mention your edits in the Readme.md file in that pull request. In the edits, you will mention the links to your tutorials.

Other than video tutorials, you can also make some written tutorials and share them in the repository by opening a pull request.

Code Reviews and Testing

When the other developers contribute their codes, they must make pull requests to the repository. You can do code reviews by reviewing their pull requests. You can mention any issues you see in their submitted codes.

You can also test their submitted codes against the test cases in case any test cases have already been written for the project. This will make sure the existing functionality remains stable after merging their code.

Localization (multiple languages support)

Localization means giving support for another language. A lot of users around the globe are using open-source projects. Supporting more languages in a project is an excellent idea. This method involves some coding stuff, but still, it’s an uncommon way to contribute to a project.

You can use GitHub to find a lot of open-source projects, as it’s a significant hub for hosting these kinds of projects. You can also try the Open Source Collection website to filter out the best open-source projects according to your technology and category.

Design UI/UX

UI and UX are separate yet related terms used in the graphics design industry. UI refers to a user interface, while UX stands for user experience. If you are a graphic designer, you can also contribute to a project by designing or improving the design of the project. Usually, open-source packages don’t have a UI because the packages are mostly related to logic, not design, but that’s not always true.

Most of the time, the open-source application must have a UI. You can go to the Open Source Collection web app to check the design of different open-source web applications. And you don’t have to visit the open-source application because the website I highlighted also provides screenshots of each open-source project list.

DevOps and Tooling

To contribute to an open-source project, you can configure some tools like docker and play with DevOps stuff like writing CI/CD pipelines for the project. Docker is a tool used to containerize a project so that you don’t have to take care of the server environment on which the project will run because the docker file contains all the server setup stuff.

CI/CD refers to continuous integration and continuous delivery. When developers push their code to repo, it is automatically built and deployed to the server. It includes a series of steps that could run, like running unit/feature tests, building static assets, and deploying code to the server.

Summary

This article discussed many uncommon ways to contribute to open-source projects. We debated a detailed overview of each of the methods and how you can use these methods to contribute to the project.

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