Contributing to React - Part 1

I’ve been writing a bit of React during the last few months. Today I decided that I’m going to really make an effort to contribute. I’ve had this idea before when working with Angular and other frameworks, but it is intimidating. I guess I’m afraid of feeling stupid and rejected.

I feel fairly comfortable with JavaScript, JSX, ESlint and all the other tooling and techniques that surrounds web developers today. But this thing is something else. This feels too hard for me. Contributing to React means someone at Facebook, or at least a member of the core team, needs to look at my code and decide that it’s good enough. And on top of that decide to merge it. That’s scary. I don’t write that kind of code. Those guys are geniuses. I’m not.

F**k this, I should at least give it a shot. Where do I start? I know how to use React, but I don’t know how it works internally. I have no idea what needs fixing, what features they are looking to implement or what can be optimized.

It turns out that the developers involved in React are making it easier to get into contributing. They are actually categorizing some issues on GitHub as good first bug. That’s awesome.

Good First Bug
Good First Bug

Right now, there are 22 open issues in that category. Most of them are quite old. Are the developers really not touching these to give us a chance? Maybe they’re just not important enough to fix. I don’t care, it’s a perfect entry point for someone like me.

Maybe I’m moving a bit to fast. Even if I find an issue that needs fixing, I wouldn’t know where to start. I feel like React is this gigantic magic box. I should probably spend some time demystifying that first. That’s part 2.