Public Lab software, including this website, is written collaboratively by a community of contrib...
Public Lab is an open community which collaboratively develops accessible, open source, Do-It-Yourself technologies for investigating local environmental health and justice issues.
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Public Lab software, including this website, is written collaboratively by a community of contributors. Above: a diagram of this website's data model
We're so happy to meet you! This page is to welcome new contributors.
We especially welcome contributions from people from groups under-represented in free and open source software!
Our community aspires to be a respectful place. Please read and abide by our Code of Conduct.
We are actively seeking contributors, so please visit our welcome page and ask about how you can help keep these free and open source software projects working (and improving) for our thousands of community members!
If this is your first time, welcome! We're so happy to meet you! This page is to welcome new contributors looking to get involved in coding with Public Lab.
We especially welcome contributions from people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software!
Please see our welcome page
If you'd like to quickly jump into an issue, see the following list for any available first-timers-only issues:
Read more about our software outreach work here!
Add an activity or request an activity guide you don't see listed
Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.
Ask a question or help answer future questions on this topic
Public Lab is on Github at: https://github.com/publiclab
New to open source/free software? Here are some resources to get you started:
Our welcome page for newcomers looking to get involved in coding:
Not interested (or not yet interested) in coding, but still want to help out? Have a project you really need to get your work done, and trying to encourage coders to tackle it?
You can still help out; in fact, helping to clearly describe and document problems and new feature proposals is at least as important as writing the code itself.
When creating or editing an issue, try to:
Once an issue is well documented, we can tag it with help-wanted to get the word out that we're looking for someone to try to fix it. If you're not sure if it's ready, ask on the plots-dev list
Finally, if your issue is well documented, try to get involved in some outreach to new contributors to match someone with the project! Tell them what it'll help you achieve and why you'd appreciate help. And coordinate with the plots-dev discussion list to get the word out.
Related to the above, even if you are a coder, we need help "rolling out the red carpet" (as the Hoodie project calls it) for new contributors, to grow our contributor base. The steps in Contributing for non-coders are a good starting point, but as a coder, you can also deep-link to the relevant lines of code, with Github links and pointers like:
This is especially great for attracting coders who are not only new to our code but new to coding in general!
Learn more about how to make a good first-timers-only issue here.
Mentoring for Summer of Code programs has a lot in common with being a software "reviewer" with Public Lab throughout the year; to welcome and support our community of coders, we need to:
Some specific things you can do:
Here are some guides to different ways to help others contribute:
Lots of development on Public Lab software happens as part of the Rails Girls Summer of Code and Google Summer of Code programs, that latter supported generously by Google.
Looking at the GSoC Ideas list is a great place to find projects which our community really needs to get done, whether or not you're in the program.
Read more at our Summer of Code page!
Note that we encourage the use of external libraries -- it's certainly easier and more maintainable than developing our own code -- but we also encourage very clear links to such libraries' documentation, source code, and of course, attribution.