Kickstart to Open Source | GSSoC ’21

Explore the way towards Open Source

Hola Amigos!!
By the time you reach the end of this blog, I’ll make sure that you will have complete clarity on GirlScript Summer of Code and how you can give a kickstart to your Open-Source journey as well. Just hang in there!

Now let’s understand what does contributing to open source actually means?

What is Open-Source?

We all have come across open source software many times and we may have not even realized it. Some examples include Linux, VLC Media Player, WordPress, and many more.
Open-source software is a software that is free to use, openly accessible to all so that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance it. It is a great way to get real-world software development experience from the comfort of your home. Benefits of contributing to open- source are endless, one not only gains exposure but can also test their skills, gain knowledge and bond with the community in order to produce quality code that helps people around the world.

So before I get started with my journey let me give an overview of what exactly GSSoC is?

GirlScript Summer of Code is the 3 month-long Open Source program during summers conducted by GirlScript Foundation, with an aim to help beginners get into the world of Open Source with just the right kind of guidance.
But wait…Is it only for girls?
So the answer is NO, this program is open to participants of all genders.

So how it all started?

The application period for the participants and mentors starts from January and closes around the first week of February. I waited patiently for days until I got a mail telling me that I was selected as a participant and on 17th February 2021 I got my selection mail and was really excited to give a kickstart to my open source journey 🤩.

After getting selected all the participants were asked to join the Discord Server and then the Community Bonding period began. The mentors were really supportive, they were always ready to solve all your doubts at any time. So don’t refrain yourself to ask anything because this will really help you to grow and perform better.

It’s not easy to start over, but it’s soooo worth it.

As I was an absolute beginner to open-source and was completely unaware of the workflow of Github and git commands, the initial struggles were to brush up on my Github skills to a decent level so as to increase the efficiency of my progress. I started attending sessions on how to get started with open- source organized by GirlScript. I too watched some Youtube videos and read the official documentation to get a better overview of the various git commands.

The Contribution Phase 👨‍💻

There were 100+ Projects and selecting the one which suits your tech stacks was one of the major tasks. Though initially, I contributed to some projects involving Python, Data Structures and Algorithms but soon I got myself connected to MakesMathEasy (Your answers just a click away), a well maintained and developed project by Rajinderpal Singh .

This project is a web app that aims to provide stepwise solutions with clear explanations to various math problems. It contains solutions to a vast number of problems all under one roof. The best aspect of this website is that it does not have any server-side interaction. It only has client-side processing thereby providing solutions very quickly.
The main tech stack used in the project is HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery and Bootstrap. By working on this project I was able to brush up my front-end development skills and also learned how to resolve bugs in a large codebase.

From adding documentation of various mathematical concepts to creating some complex calculators my journey of GSSoC ended with 100+ successfully merged Pull Requests (110 commits, 109 PR’s).

Major Takeaways from this journey:

◉ Contribute to projects that interest you even if they use an altogether new tech stack, in my case I selected MakesMathEasy knowing the fact that it includes Javascript and I didn’t know about Javascript at all. I believe in the process of learning while doing.
◉ Never ever hesitate to ask doubts, the mentors are ready to solve even the silliest doubts. All you need is patience and willingness to learn.
◉ Always, read the contribution guidelines and go through the project’s guide on how to start, how to set up a project on your local PC, and start your goal of making your first contribution.
◉ Always try to work with an updated forked repository, so as to avoid merge conflicts.
◉ Ensure that you create a new branch every time before committing the changes instead of creating a PR from the master branch.
◉ Stay active in the coding community and help fellow participants as much as you can.

Shoutout to Rajinderpal Singh, Praveen Kumar Purushothaman, and GirlScript Summer of Code for all their valuable guidance throughout the journey. GSSoC was an exciting and awe-inspiring journey for me and as it has ended, I would like to appreciate each and everyone who was a part of it.
Looking forward to contributing to more open-source projects soon ⚡.

GIF credits(Tenor)

Keep Contributing!!

Feel free to connect with me. I would be happier if you send your valuable feedback, suggestions.

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