Lessons learned during mentored sprints

Online sprints seem to be very different from in-person ones. Some ideas for improvements in the future:

  • Create short screencasts so that people can learn asynchronously at their own pace.
    • Setting up the development environment
    • Building documentation
    • Running tests
    • Architecture overview
    • Making a simple PR start to finish
  • Consider classifying Good First Issues by more dimensions, like technologies involved/required and expected amount of work.

I really like the idea of adding specific labels to issues that explain right away what areas of the codebase you’ll be working with (e.g. JavaScript, Python, reStructuredText). This was extremely valuable to me when first getting started in open source.

In my opinion, the mattermost-server project does an excellent job at this. I’ve attached a screenshot to show what this looks like.

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Regarding the “Making a simple PR start to finish” point, there’s quite a few steps involved with setting up the project, making changes, and then submitting a pull request. I think a screencast to update some part of the Bokeh documentation would be able to capture the following:

  1. Clone the main repo
  2. Fork the repo
  3. Set up your git config including your remote
  4. Check out CONTRIBUTING.md
  5. Create a branch
  6. Make changes to documentation
  7. Build documentation
  8. View changes on localhost
  9. Push changes to remote
  10. Create pull request

These same steps could also be followed when making code changes but that would also need to cover running tests, lint checks, etc.