Lab 4 - Finding my first Open Source bug

For this specific lab, I sort of got started before the lab was even issued. As a people's person, I wasn't intimidated by the fact that we needed to communicate with someone we didn't know in order to offer my help.

The task in specific for this lab was to find a bug we were interested in to work over the next month as our first assignment. As such, looking at the suggestions list provided by our professor, Thimble seemed to have a couple of bugs that I could tackle. Our professor recommended we look using specific tags such as "good first bug", as to not overwhelm ourselves with a task we possibly wouldn't be able to complete. I did just that, and came across a bug that no one had claimed:

The task did not seem too complicated, and I figured this would be a good chance for me to do some more web work. I left a comment showing I was interested in helping:

To my surprise, our professor's attentive eye lead him my way! A few short minutes after, he too left a comment, asking whether I could or not go ahead, and get instructions. Surely enough, it worked, I got assigned the bug!

And not only that, I was also given specific instructions as to how to setup a development environment, and tips on where to look for similar code that could help me tackle this bug. This all happened within minutes of me leaving a comment, I never thought it would be this easy to communicate with real devs and offer help for real applications out there!

Now, to answer a few questions which you may be wondering about:

  • Which bugs did you choose? Include links to them.

Since I already got assigned and started working on this one, the bug you see above is the one I chose. You can find the link to it HERE

  • Why did you choose these bugs? What was it about these projects that interested you?

As I mentioned before this seemed like something I'd be able to work on. I also wanted more web application experience. Two birds, one stone.

  • What are you hoping to learn by working on these bugs?

I am hoping to learn how to be a part of an Open Source project and communicate whenever needed. I am also hoping to get more web application experience and familiarity with the code.

  • What are you nervous about?

Obviously that I cannot deliver. I think in a sense, we all feel that when we go into something we never really worked on before, but it will be exciting to learn new things as I go.

  • What are you going to need to learn?

I am going to learn how to setup a Thimble development environment first and foremost. For our Firefox local building assignment, it was a learning experience for me. It was somewhat frustrating when I couldn't build the code on my laptop (which happened to be because of Windows 10, but I digress), but it was very satisfying when I figured it out and got it all up and running. I am hoping to have a smoother experience here, and be able to take my time studying the code, which surely will be way out of my league, and be able to squash the bug before the deadline.

  • Where do the developers on the project(s) you chose communicate online? What happened when you introduced yourself? Were you greeted warmly, ignored, or met with hostility?

The communication happened on GitHub and as you can see in the shots above, I was greeted promptly and very warmly as well. UPDATE: Our professor just provided me with a link with which to talk to the devs in real time. This will be invaluable, specially if I run into any issues: 

  • What's your guess as to how long it will take you to solve this bug? Later, you'll be able to compare this estimate to the reality of what it really involved.

Due to having other courses to work on, it wouldn't be realistic of me to say I will be able to finish this within a couple of days. This week I will be setting up the development environment first, and hope for the best. Firefox took me awhile to get going, but hopefully everything goes along smoothly for this assignment since I was given guidance, and documentation to follow. Once this is all done, I plan on taking some time to get familiar with the code, and browse through the links shared with me by guideonthomas, in order to understand why the bug is happening, and what I can do to fix it.

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