I’ve today (23 January 2016) crossed the milestone of a year of continuous days with public GitHub contributions. Because this took me a while to achieve, I’m going to write up the things that happened during this time.
Very first commit
I learned about GitHub two years ago thanks to @NorFairKing. At the time I was preparing for my first exam period in my study Physics and there was one very complicated course to me: Linear Algebra.
This course wasn’t just complicated to me, it was complicated to most of us. That’s why Syd (@NorFairKing) decided to make a summary with all the solutions of the questions posed in the book. Since he’s a computer science major, he chose GitHub as a platform and LaTeX as a language to write the book in.
This repository was the very first one I’ve added some content to, and introduced me to the world of sharing learning resources more than I had been before.
After the exams of January 2014 however GitHub kinda went to the back of my head. I was mostly doing other things.
During the summer of that year, I decided that our youth club @jwronline needed a new website (our old one had accidentally been taken down). I’d heard about html5up, so I decided to temporarily switch some of the information towards a layout from there.
At this point I wanted to see it online to test whether or not it actually worked, and after some time I found out that you can have a repository on GitHub, and with a
gh-pages branch, it got visible at
username.github.io/repositoryname. This feature looked great for me, so it made me use GitHub again.
After that summer, I switched majors to electronics/informatics. During the first lesson of computer architecture, our prof @roelvs explained how he hosted the syllabus there, and that we could all make contributions (and that we’d get one point extra if we did).
Since I already knew how to use GitHub a bit, I jumped at the opportunity and put out pull requests for all the things I could think of to change. In the beginning most of this were small typos because I didn’t understand the material enough, but during the exam period, I put some explanations of things I didn’t find all that clear myself.
After a few lessons of my real programming courses, I noticed that it’d be nice to be able to share the homework exercises we needed to do, and I became to love being able to work on any machine, so I made a repository for that course too.
After that I felt like the sky was the limit. Why would you ever not share something? And to put that thought to actions, I open sourced all my lesson notes (Dutch, notes-eoict). And collected some contributions from other students.
At that point I noticed that I was getting a contribution every day for a while, and decided that I wanted not to lose that streak. Since then I’ve had some gaps, but I’ve fixed those later on by open-sourcing a few projects that were in private repositories earlier.
I’ve joined bullgit in April of that year, and I suggest everyone to join a group of people also developing, you learn a lot more than you think, even by making bullshit projects.
I plan to still commit daily, which will make some days quantity over quality. I notice that breaking a streak of something is a very powerful action, and will make you less inclined to still do something.
My intention however is to make more things that are useful for more people than only me. So far I’ve basically used my time to build things that are okay to use but they are finished products, and less a module that could be reused.
This would bring my main summary at this:
- “don’t break the chain” is very powerful
- share your coursework (ikdoeict-notes.github.io)
- join a dev group (bullgit)
- split up what you make in modules and share them
As a closing statement: I’m looking for a cool place to do an internship from February to May 2017 anywhere in Europe. Contact me if you’re interested.
Update, I had a great internship at Algolia and moved to Paris to work at a full-time position afterwards.
Update, as of October 2017 I accidentally forgot to commit a few times on weekends, since I got confused with time zones. Although it looks like I still commited daily, that doesn’t really count, since I do a commit on ikhaat.gent (repo) daily to update the data.