How do I know if I should join a proyect?

This is a discussion on How do I know if I should join a proyect? within the C++ Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; I was about to inquire into how to join an Open Source Proyect that required C++ Developers. I am a ...

  1. #1
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    How do I know if I should join a proyect?

    I was about to inquire into how to join an Open Source Proyect that required C++ Developers. I am a newbie and barely beginning to programm in C++, yet I have already read that joining such a proyect is a good way to improve my skills. I feel as no "C++ developer" though. Would it be too soon to join an open source proyect for a beginning programmer who is eager to learn and get in touch with the programming community?

  2. #2
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    It depends on the project. I think you'd be better off learning the basics by making small programs on your own and then when you have a good understanding of the basics then you could try joining a project. If it's a really easy project then why not ? Just don't try programming a MMORPG as your first program ;-)

  3. #3
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    Thanks, but how do I know when to make the jump?

    The thing is, I actually fear getting burned (or plain ignored) by more advanced programmers if I inadvertedly join before time. As I've previously stated, I am no advanced programmer, but at least I have a pretty good handle on arrays, data structures, pointers (in the university we do most things on C), classes, and other basics. I have little contact with my local programming community (if there is any) and am really anxious to start having greater contact with more advanced programmers, but as I read more advanced source code and get lost here and there in its complexity, I come to the same troubling question of when will be the right time to join, since I feel I must know the basics (just how well should I know them?), but have no other way of telling wether I'll be ready to tackle on the bigger and better programming tasks.

  4. #4
    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    There is a lot you can do on a project before actually submitting new code changes.
    - get familiar with the code, see how it works. Likewise for any documentation and user manuals.
    - join the developer-discuss mailing list and listen in on the discussions. Ask questions about the code base for bits you don't understand.
    - You should join all the projects mailing lists to get a feel for the whole project.
    - Study other peoples changes in detail, especially when the change fixes a bug. Figure out why the change fixed the bug, and why the bug appeared. Does the new change introduce new bugs?
    - read the bug database, try and replicate the bug. Provide more useful information on a bug if you can.
    - read the projects development process - how are changes to be submitted, and to who. What evidence of testing and peer review is required?

    Spend several months getting to know the code and the people before getting round to submitting your first small change.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks a lot

    I will try to passively get involved in a proyect just as you have suggested, before taking the initiative to become actively involved. I need to start getting in touch with advanced programmers because I am currently studying systems engineering at a local university and my classmates just hate or quite simply ignore programming (believe it or not), so I am completely isolated from programming as far as my inmediate surroundings go. Once again thank you for all the input.

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