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Contribute to Open Source Without Leaving Your Browser

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Ever wanted to help out with an opensource project, but didn’t really have anything big to contribute? Maybe you just wanted to touch up a typo and didn’t really feel like going through the hassle of forking and copying to your computer and text editors and pushing back to github and making a pull request and ..

Github editing octotip

Meh. Not worth it.

Well, no more! Turns out, you can contribute without leaving your browser these days.

That’s right, just waltz over to a repository you like, click Edit, change some stuff, save, and submit a pull request. Behind the scenes, that repository is forked, a new topic branch is created and when you’re done it’s changed into a pull request.

No cumbersome clonin, pushing and so on. No need to even open a text editor!

For some icing on the cake, Github offers to clean up your own repository once the pull request is accepted. Single button to delete the branch even.

Sure, you aren’t going to use this to make huge contributions – that would require the ability to test your code – but it’s perfect to fix up a README file or make some cosmetic changes you’re certain won’t break anything.

I discovered this feature the other day when I noticed a typo in a friend’s commit message. Went over to scold him in jest and noticed he was using grep -r -n -C instead of the, in my opinon, prettier use of a single combined flag -rnC. On a whim, I clicked Edit and was surprised by the wonderful experience.

@smotko even accepted the patch \o/

Let’s try messing with my favourite irc bot, developed by @hairyfotr, so I can show you what the flow looks like.

Now, I was hoping to improve some of his phrases, but it turns out the databases aren’t included … that README file isn’t looking too sexy though – let’s lend a helpful hand.

First we find a file we can improve

First we find a file we can improve

Clicking "Edit" gives us an editor

Clicking “Edit” gives us an editor

When we're done we can make a commit

When we’re done we can make a commit

We make a nice pull request, explaining our shenanigans

We make a nice pull request, explaining our shenanigans

And now we wait

And now we wait


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