Pull Request!

The milestone project for the end of Phase 2 of the Break Into Tech Skillcrush blueprint is to contribute to an open source project. This entails finding a project with issues on Github, claiming the issue, fixing it, and submitting a pull request to the owners/maintainers of the code.

As mentioned in the directions from Skillcrush, finding an issue for a first-timer can be a little challenging. I did a good amount of poking around on GitHub, and got fairly overwhelmed. The issues seemed waaaay beyond anything I would even know where to start to fix. But, plenty of folks want to encourage first timers to submit their first pull request and demystify the process, so I knew that somewhere out there an issue was waiting for me.

I came across the GitHub home of Public Lab – “A community where you can learn how to investigate environmental concerns. Using inexpensive DIY techniques, we seek to change how people see the world in environmental, social, and political terms.”

Public Lab seems to look specifically for first time and beginner contributors, which is great. But, the other problem seemed that issues got claimed very quickly. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to be “first” to an issue to snag it.

Then one sleepy morning as I was sipping my coffee before work, an email came in for an FTO (first-timers only) issue. I perked right up and went over and took a look, and was like – well, I *think* I can do this. The Public Lab folks are also very much – let us know if you need help, we’ll help you! So I asked to claim it and got the thumb’s up to proceed. The issue was for a project called Plots2, a collaborative knowledge-exchange platform in Rails.

The solution to the issue was to remove three lines of code from an erb file. This would remove a duplicate link to the project’s wiki. YAAAY to the Ruby course in Skillcrush for teaching what an erb file is, and to not be totally freaked out about working in one.

So that same evening, I forked and cloned the project, followed the instructions to remove the lines, created and submitted a pull request, and held my breath! The pull was accepted, and merged a week or so later. Yaaaay! Here’s a link – https://github.com/publiclab/plots2/pull/5653.

Happy to have this milestone wrapped up, and can’t wait to do more contributing to open source!

Refactor

Doing a little re-configuring with my thoughts on how to complete my Skillcrush course. There are required courses in the first and second phases (and then the third is about preparing to freelance, working with clients, interviews and what-not), but a lot of it is what you choose to take on. For sure, my hope had been to do ALL THE THINGS, basically.

I’m 99% done with the Intro to Ruby course but am stuck. I’m taking a (great) online Udemy course to help get unstuck, but have not revisited the stuck issues in the Intro class yet. Was able to get clear on the issue I mentioned in the last post – creating a gem and then actually getting it to RUN more than once – so at least there’s that.

The next class in the Ruby series is a class on Active Record, Sinatra, Postgres, and Deploying with Heroku. I’ve really struggled with the content in the course, and have also struggled to get help. For the Ruby classes in Skillcrush, there’s one Slack channel. I think a fair amount of people take the Intro class, but from what I can tell from the number of people participating in the channel, there’s only a handful of folks for the 2nd class and the Intro to Rails class. So, the odds of getting assistance from another user – as happens in some of the other channels/courses – are slim to none. There is one teacher who responds to Ruby issues, and he and I just don’t seem to work well together – I generally wind up feeling more confused after he answers a question than before I asked.

So I decided not to beat my head in about it. I was able to officially complete a little more than 50% of the Sinatra & Active Records class, and tried to take from it what I could. I wanted to continue with Rails, but given the lack of support and the desire to get this course DONE (I’ve been working on it now for 11 months), I’ve decided to skip it for now. Sorry, ALL THE THINGS. 😦

So, I am back in WordPress, the WordPress Professional Best Practices course. Technically, this is my last course before moving onto Phase 3. The milestone project for Phase 2 is contributing to an open source project by claiming an issue and submitting a pull request, which I am thrilled to say is DONE (and will be getting its own blog post!)

The WordPress Professional Best Practices course is good so far – I’m maybe 1/4 of the way in – and it’s good to be back in a channel that others are participating in, and with a really responsive and helpful instructor. We’re working with a mock client (who sends us emails!) and we’ve forked and cloned “their” site, which are now mucking around in – have started working with child themes, and I’m in the midst of linking GitHub to WP Engine, the host that they recommend (and that I went with).

Whew! It’s been a busy month.

More soon on the awesomeness that was the pull request!