There are lots of different ways that you can contribute to open source projects:
Open issues - often projects will have open issues that you can help out with, providing support or patches so they can be closed.
New features - perhaps a library is missing a killer feature, can you add it? Often it’s worth speaking with the maintainer before starting big features to see if it will be merged.
Documentation fixes - clarifications of parts you find confusing, inconsistencies with current behavior, spelling and grammar fixes, etc.
Convention fixes - are most binary checks named IsFoo() but one is named Foo_exists() ? Do a quick refactor patch for it. Is one Exception named oddly, or have an unclear message?
Examples - does an example highlighting something you’re confused about exist? Once you figure it out, whip up an example and contribute. Others are also confused about it - I promise.
Code commenting - do the comments contradict the code? Is there something in the code that confuses you? Once you figure it out, fix it and submit.
Testing - clone the repo and run the tests. Do you get any failures? Do you notice any areas lacking in coverage? Testing is also a great way to find out more about the internal workings of the project.
Looking for other projects to help? Check out these great initiatives:
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