Small Contributions Matter

Litter in the forest

Open-source development is more than big new features and major releases. Small contributions are just as important to the success of open-source projects! Any improvement, no matter how small, can help both the project and other developers.

Consider the Boy Scout Rule:

Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it.

Or, as the original quote says:

Try and leave this world a little better than you found it.

As you work with different open-source libraries, think about whether your experience with that software can help others:

  • Found a bug? Report it! (And include screenshots and steps to replicate the issue)
  • Fixed that bug? Submit a pull request with your fix so others can use it.
  • Figured out an undocumented feature? Document it so others can use it.
  • Found a confusing "gotcha"? Document it so others can avoid it.

It might be small to you, but contributing it back will help everyone using that project moving forward! So take a moment to make your corner of the world a little bit better for the next person ?

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About Colin O'Dell

Colin O'Dell

Colin O'Dell is a Lead Web Developer at Unleashed Technologies, a web and hosting firm based in Maryland. In addition to being an active member of the PHP League and maintainer of the league/commonmark project, Colin is also a PHP docs contributor, conference speaker, and author of the PHP 7 Migration Guide.