It’s easy to take open-source projects such as WordPress for granted. However, these platforms rely on developers and other professionals who donate their time and effort to improve them.
Open-source projects present opportunities to make meaningful contributions to online communities. Plus, participating in this transparent and collaborative approach to development can enhance your own skills and expertise.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of open-source projects and three reasons to consider contributing to them as a developer. Then we’ll offer some tips for getting started. Let’s jump in!
An introduction to open source
‘Open source’ refers to software with source code that can be accessed and modified by anyone. The intent is to make the applications freely sharable with and by the public.
To be considered open source, a platform must provide four freedoms to users:
- The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose.
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others.
- The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is also a precondition for this.
Additionally, open-source projects are often distributed under the General Public License (GPL). There are no restrictions or fees, and anyone can create their own versions to use for any purpose.
Open-source projects benefit the development community by promoting collaboration and encouraging transparency. The belief is that opening up software to contributions produces better results. This includes the performance and security of programs as well as the skills of the professionals involved.
WordPress is one of the most popular open-source projects. However, there are many other well-known platforms that use this model, including the Linux operating system and Firefox web browser.
3 reasons developers should consider open-source projects
It’s not hard to see how open-source projects can benefit the development community as a whole. What’s less obvious is how contributing to one can help you specifically. Let’s take a look at three reasons to consider it.
1. They can greatly improve your coding skills and make you a better developer
Professional development is highly recommended for everyone, regardless of your level of experience. No matter what stage you’re at in your career, there’s always room for improvement.
Open-source projects present an opportunity to improve your coding skills and learn from others. Contributing to one can help you:
- Uncover mistakes in your code
- Receive inspiration and advice from like-minded professionals
- Develop better habits for structuring code
This article was written by Will Morris and originally published on ManageWP.