All I want for Christmas is some help with my code


Today is your last chance to give back to the data driven community this Christmas by completing a 24 Pull Request.

24 Pull Requests is an annual event that asks programmers, designers, data journalists and other community members, to contribute their skillsets to a number of open-source projects in the lead up to Christmas.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, a pull request lets you notify the parties behind a project of potential modifications and invites them to integrate your contribution into the main repository.

According to 24 Pull Requests, contributions can take the form of:

  • 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.

Melody Kramer, from Poynter, has compiled a list of journalism-specific projects that you can contribute to. Highlights include assisting with CensusReporter's open issues, improving tools for Vox, and working on the Guardian's front end code.

So what are you waiting for? Give the gift of giving this Christmas.

Complete a 24 Pull Request by logging onto its website here.