Finding the right open source project for your first contribution can feel daunting. It took me years to find a repository that fit my skills and interests. I didn’t know where to look! Fortunately, there are many emerging efforts to help increase project discoverability for potential contributors.

Projects like the Open Source Welcome Committee, Hacktoberfest, and my blog series, Open Source Monthly, are working hard to guide technologists through the open source ecosystem. However, one project is taking a different approach to empowering developers to work and learn publicly–Open Sauced.

This month’s issue will highlight Open Sauced, a project connecting contributors and maintainers with data.

Open source project of the month: Open Sauced

The Open Sauced ecosystem has multiple products: Open Sauced, Hot Open Sauced, and an upcoming analytical dashboard.

Built in 2016, Open Sauced provides structured onboarding for new contributors to open source. This structure offers a way to track your next contributions by leveraging a unique dashboard built on top of the GitHub GraphQL API. Brian Douglas, the maintainer, describes the goal and the motivations behind creating Open Sauced. “Open Sauced exists to encourage open-source contributions. I personally don’t have a ton of extra time to learn and contribute to projects I am interested in and need help gathering my thoughts. I do this through Open Sauced, a place where I can take notes on projects and track my contributions.”

The second product, developed in late 2021, is Hot Open Sauced, which is a project that recommends projects for contributors. It helps folks find the popular, discussed, upvoted, and newest repositories.

Screenshot of the Open Sauced project homepage

The upcoming project focuses on empowering maintainers. It will provide actionable insights to help maintainers attract and retain contributors. I’m excited to see how the provided insights help evolve the overall state of open source.

About the maintainer

Brian Douglas, also known as “bdougie,” is the Founder and CEO of Open Sauced. Brian’s career in open source started when he reached out to Chad Scira, the maintainer of an open source Slack auto invitation tool, for help. Inspired by Chad’s quick and helpful response, Brian started participating in open source communities. He has since worked at companies, such as Netlify and GitHub, that support open source. To continue the positive cycle of knowledge sharing in open source, Brian developed Open Sauced.

You can learn more about his story on The ReadME Project. You can keep up with Brian’s progress by following:

How to contribute

If you’re interested in joining this welcoming community, start by checking out the repositories owned by the Open Sauced organization. Each repository has a README and contributing guidelines, including instructions on how to use and contribute to the project. My favorite and the most active repos are Open Sauced and Hot Open Sauced. If you have questions, join the community, Discord.

Open Sauced welcomes code contributions, sponsorships, and non-code contributions. If you want to flex your design, project management, or technical writing skills, inquire about opportunities in the community, Discord. One of the easiest ways to get involved, even if you don’t know how to code, is to join the triage team, where you can help to label, prioritize, and organize issues.

Why I love this project

The first open source project I contributed to was Open Sauced. Before contributing to Open Sauced, I struggled to find open source projects. The codebases were overwhelming. All the good first issues were previously assigned. Finding a project was an anxiety-provoking experience.

However, in August 2021, I successfully included a React dropdown component that displays the logged-in user’s name, version numbers, and a logout option to the Open Sauced codebase. Contributing to Open Sauced fast-tracked my career as a new Developer Advocate. This experience gave me:

  • Confidence to contribute to other projects like Astro and Sharing Excess.
  • Context to better support and understand the experiences of maintainers and contributors.
  • Ability to write blog posts and conference talks that empower first-time contributors as they navigate open source.

I love Open Sauced because the community and experience helped jumpstart my career, and I’ve spoken to other contributors who also feel that it helped elevate their careers.

Staff pick of the month: Testcontainers

I chatted with Benny Muskalla, a fellow Hubber and Senior Software Engineer on the Copilot team. His favorite open source project this month is Testcontainers. Testcontainers is a Java library that supports JUnit tests, providing lightweight, throwaway instances of common databases, Selenium web browsers, or anything else that can run in a Docker container. The cool thing about Testcontainers is that it supports multiple programming languages such as Go, Node, Rust, and Python.

Benny Muskalla appreciates Testcontainers because “it makes it super easy to setup external services for integration tests, setup whole networks of services with a few lines of test code, enables complex proxy setups within an integration test. I can’t imagine how all those scenarios would be tested without Testcontainers.”

Thank you, Benny for sharing one of your favorite open source projects with us! ⭐️

How to contribute

Check out the website if you’re looking to use Testcontainers to help you build and test your next project. However, if you want to contribute to this project, check out the contribution documentation. The maintainers welcome bug reports, documentation fixes, and support for new modules.

Stay in touch!

Are you interested in discovering more open source projects?

Stay tuned for our September edition of Open Source Monthly!