Open Source Development: A Journey Through Github

In the past 12 months, I’ve had my world revolutionized by the introduction of open source developments and contributions. What started off as a professional option quickly became a strong interest, and a passion. Open source allows freedom like no other courses, allowing you to choose preferences, and get involved in opportunities you otherwise would not find available.

Where Did It Start?

My open source development began in September of 2018, taking the first iteration of open source development with Dave. I got an opportunity to earn a t-shirt participating in my first ever programming event: Hacktoberfest, and worked on many cool projects. Most notably I made a contribution to keras, a machine learning library used in python. Little did I know this minor contribution would be a major stepping stone for my future, and gave me inspiration to pursue further ideas. An additional project I worked on was a discord bot, and this was easily one of the most fun and enjoyable projects to work on. These two formed the pillars of my interest in open source, and lead me to where I am now, but it has been a rocky road.

The Journey

Flash forward to January of 2019 and a new semester, coming back into the second open source professional option. A smaller class size, more formal presentations on progress, and more freedom for projects to work on were a combination that had me excited to continue working. Throughout this semester I got wrapped up in keras, more specifically one issue in keras that lead me on a rollercoaster with several ups and downs, in several different directions. The original issue asked that two directories within keras be checked for relative and absolute imports within their files, and produce a warning. I was excited to tackle an interesting issue, but did not know what it had in store for me.

The Importer…

Throughout my releases I have tackled the same issue in a variety of ways, adapting it to use many different tools throughout my releases. The importer has gone through, and interacted with the following tools:

Pylint and Abstract Search Trees (AST)

Travis CI

Pylint custom checkers

Pip package manager (PyPi)

PyGithub

GithubAPI

Needless to say there has been a lot of changes.

My Takeaway

Earlier I mentioned two main projects from the fist open source course, keras documentation, and discord bot. Both of these formed my foundation by leading me to keras, and expanding my interest in bots. One question I receive often as a computer science student is “What do you want to do for work?” to which I never have a concrete answer, however I believe this open source iteration may have changed that. I got the ability to work with bots in a few of my releases, doing different actions and functionalities. The use of bots has always intrigued me, and I think may be something I look to continue pursuing development on. It seems I’ve come full circle from where I started, working with documentation, and bots, to now finishing up with a Github bot made for dealing with documentation.

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