Experiments with "Good First Experience"

Since writing my post about good-first-bug vs. good-first-experience I've been experimenting with different approaches to creating useful walkthroughs. I think I've settled on a method that works well, and wanted to write about it, so as to encourage others to do the same. First, a refresher on what I mean…

On standards work

This week I'm looking at standards with my open source class. I find that students often don't know about standards and specs, how to read them, how they get created, or how to give feedback and participate. The process is largely invisible. The timing of this topic corresponds to a…

What Happens when you Contribute, revisited

I sat down to write a post about my students' experiences this term contributing to open source, and apparently I've written this before (and almost exactly a year ago to the day!) The thing about teaching is that it's cyclic, so you'll have to forgive me as I give a…

Edge Cases

Yesterday I was looking at a bug with some students. It related to a problem in a file search feature: a user found that having a folder-name surrounded with braces (e.g., {name}) meant that no search results were ever reported within the folder. "This isn't a bug,"…

GitHub Knows

I was reflecting the other day how useful it would be if GitHub, in addition to the lists it has now like Trending and Explore, could also provide me a better view into which projects a) need help; and more, b) can accept that help when it arrives. Lots of…

"What are you struggling with?"

This week I had a discussion with my open source students in order to get a sense of where people were at with their work. One of the questions I had for them was, "What are you struggling with, what are you finding tricky?" Here's some of what…

Service Workers and a Promise to Catch

I love Service Workers. I've written previously about my work to use them in Thimble. They've allowed us to support all of the web's dynamic loading mechanisms for images, scripts, etc., which wasn't possible when we only used Blob URLs. But as much as I love them, they add a…

When the music's over, turn out the lights

This week I've been thinking about ways in which GitHub could do a better job with projects and code as they age. Unfortunately, since technology is fundamentally about innovation, growth, and development, we don't tend (or want) to talk about decline, neglect, or endings. GitHub has some great docs on…

Fixing a bug in TensorBoard

This week I'm talking with my open source students about bugs. Above all, I want them to learn how The Bug is the unit of work of open source. Learning to orient your software practice around the idea that we incrementally improve an existing piece of code (or a new…

Why Good-First-Bugs often aren't

Let me start by saying that I'm a huge fan of open source projects putting a Good-First-Bug type label on issues. From my own experience over the past decade trying to get students engaged in open source projects, it's often a great way to quickly find entry points for new…