Core contributing

For many of you it is old hat but for me it was a thrill. Yesterday I got the news that my patch for documentation of aggregator module and rdf had been accepted into core of Drupal 8. I have wanted to contribute more than bug reports and help solve problems in contrib modules for a long time.

When Drupal Bellingham decided to host a D8 Core Sprint, I signed up. I was assigned a mentor (thanks theMusician) and received a bunch of pre Sprint instructions.  And on the day of the sprint I showed up - bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  After looking through the list of novice issues we settled on one that would utilize my writing talents. Essentially it involved reading through a bunch of posts and summarizing the current state of the issue. After looking through the issue and completing that task I realized that the code and issue were simple.

At that point I launched into setting up a Drupal 8 dev version on my laptop and brought the existing patch up to speed. A couple of rounds of rerolling to keep that patch current with changes that were going on in D8 and some feed back that needed to be incorporated. Another contributor came along and finished up a piece that was a bit more technical than I was comfortable with and then more sit and wait.

Then the word yesterday that my patch was in!

Drupal has given a liveilhood to me and it feels really good to give back. It takes a village to keep software on track.

Gotchas

To say it was all smooth sailing would be an overstatement. There were a few gotchas along the way and a good bit of learning.

Choosing a project

There are an overwhelming number of projects available. Sorting through them overwhelmed me. This was where having a mentor really helped. He gave me a couple of options based on the kind of thing that I was interested in. The Novice tag was really useful and as I look for my next project I will make use of it. Unless you are deeply involved in coding daily, be prepared to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the issue.

DREditor

I wasn't aware of DREditor at all. It is a set of browser based tools that make working in the issue queue manageable. While I had no problem getting it installed, others involved in the sprint did. And in hindsight I should have watched the video on using it sooner than I did. I saw a bunch of buttons and figured it looked pretty intuitive. It wasn't. But once I saw the tutorial, it became much more useful. Part of the problem is that initially there was a knowledge requirement to work with the summaries and comments in the issue queue. The available Summary templates though and the Issue Summary instructions made it clear once I found them.

Git

I use git all the time but as version control for a freelance developer I can be a loosy goosy about it. So there was a learning curve with some new commands. A lot of the work revolved around rerolling the patch that I was working with. The general instructions at drupal.org were a good starting place. Arejan de Vroom though made it even simpler and I finally got it all working with his Patching with Git  instructions. 

Rerolling Patches

"The drop is always moving." took on new meaning when I started keeping an eye on the patch. When it came to rerolling the patch the detailed instructions on drupal.org brought me up-to-speed very quickly. But changes in Core before this minor patch was actually commited happened several times. Good practice for me.

Thanks to all the folks who worked on and reviewed the Aggregator module UI text cleanup patch and helped me achieve this milestone.