Was geeking out a bit yesterday. I got a ping from Twitter that someone had mentioned me, and as I quickly read it and thought "oh cool, someone found something I did with the Pi useful", I also thought the name sounded familiar...
Pete Lomas is a cofounder of the Raspberry Pi, having designed the final hardware for it, and is still involved. He had a hand in the most versatile and innovative computer available today in its price range, and he found something I did useful in some small way. That's a good feeling. 🤓
I haven't been a huge contributor online - not in the way some people are, inventing cool new tools and frameworks, creating popular online resources and all that. I just do small things...
- When I write a technical post I share my code snippets.
- When I make something with the Pi, I share my projects on GitHub.
- When I wanted to sync bookmarks from an online bookmark manager, I wrote a chrome extension and shared that on GitHub too.
These are just drops in the Internet ocean, but it's helped me realize there's nothing "magic" or unattainable about sharing code or even creating open-source projects. It's just doing something, maybe something really small, and then putting it out there for the world to find. Sure, it's kinda weird opening yourself up to the possibility of criticism (I'm always waiting for someone to call me out as a hack), but my experience so far has been good. If someone finds something I made and tries it, cool. If they find it really useful, awesome. And if they don't like it they can make something better!
So where can you start?
Anywhere! You could start with a GitHub account and some code to share with the world - create a new repository and push it up! But you don't even need a GitHub account. Upload it as a gist and tweet the link, or paste it in a blog.
- Created a script or batch file that alleviates some tedious process? Maybe someone else suffers the same tedious process every day.
- Starting out in a new language or just looking to push yourself? Try tackling the 100 Days of Code challenge, where you code something small each day and post it on GitHub.
- No ideas of your own right now, but looking for something to help with? Check out up-for-grabs (also, Hacktoberfest in October and 24 Pull Requests in December), where project owners can tag certain "issues" as good places for newcomers to jump in and help. Might be the perfect place to get a little experience.
You may have created the exact thing to make someone else's life easier and you don't even know it, or your knowledge may help fix an issue that left someone else stumped. I can say from my own experience, it's been a pretty cool feeling to contribute.