DPS909 & OSD600 Winter 2017 - Lab 2
Contributing to an Open Source Project on Github
In this lab you will contribute a fix to an open source project on Github. Successfully completing this lab will require you to have first worked through, and understood, this week's git walkthroughs. If you have not already done so, please setup git and Github as described in the following:
1. Intro to node.js, npm, npmjs.com
We will be contributing to projects that use node.js, its package manager npm, and the npmjs module registry. In order to complete this lab, you should install node.js on your home/dev computer, which you can download here.
We won't need to use node.js directly, but it's a good time to install it, since we'll be using it in subsequent labs and assignments.
2. Understanding package.json
Node.js uses a special file named
package.json to specify metadata about a module. You can read a complete description of
package.json at https://docs.npmjs.com/files/package.json.
package.json file has to be valid JSON, and must include a few fields. However, many of the fields are optional. Let's look at some examples from popular node.js open source projects:
package.json files have common elements, such as:
There are also some optional fields you can include, for example:
The metadata in
package.json is used by the command-line tool
npm as well as by the online registry https://www.npmjs.com/. Providing good data for these tools makes it easier for developers to find and use node modules.
3. Contributing fixes to package.json files
For our first contribution to an open source project, we're going to go looking for ways we can help existing node.js based projects do a better job with their
package.json files. This could involve a number of things:
- correcting errors generated by http://package-json-validator.com/ for a
- adding missing optional fields to a
package.jsonfile, for example:
Before we can fix any issues with existing
package.json files, we have to find some! Our first task is to locate 1 module with an issue per student. Please do not fix a bug until we have found a bug for everyone.
Here are some queries to get you started. Also look at the Dependencies and Dependents lists for any module you examine on npmjs. When you find a module that is missing
keywords or has some other issue, add it below, making sure to copy the style I have begun on row 1. Also, be careful not to add duplicates:
- most starred packages on npmjs
- most depended-upon packages on npmjs
- Google query of package.json files on github.com
To get you started, I've already found and fixed one, and also listed a couple of others I noticed in 5 minutes of searching on npmjs and Github.
You will have completed your lab when you have done the following:
- Added a row above with the name of a node.js module that needs a fix, and your name. Make sure all students have a module to work on before you begin fixing yours. We'll work as a community to help triage existing modules.
- Create a Pull Request to fix some problem or omission in the
package.jsonfile. I've documented a complete example in my blog, see http://blog.humphd.org/howto-first-github-pr/. Add the URL to your Pull Request to the table above.
- Write a blog post about the process you took to complete this lab and the Pull Request. What happened next? Was it accepted? How long did it take? What did they say? What did you learn? Also write about your feelings contributing to your first open source project. What went well? What was hard? What surprised you?
- Add the URL to your blog post in the table above beside your Pull Request URL
You should complete Lab 2 before the end of week 3 (it might take you a few days).