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Starting and Maintaining an Open Source Project

In this article, we are going to learn how to start and maintain an open source project?
Submitted by Monika Sharma, on February 18, 2020

Let's talk about how to start an open-source project? The process can be classified as in three phases,

  • Individual senses the need of the project: This is the phase when a developer thinks about developing open-source software that is required by the people in the community, by the corporates or by day to day users. He/She senses the need for a certain kind of software that should be available in the market so that everyone can benefit from the development.
  • Announcing the intent to develop it to public: When a developer thinks of developing certain software there are multiple hurdles he might face and also have lack of resources; here resources can be termed as the time to invest, Tools Required and the utilities that might help for the development. In such cases, the developer thinks of releasing the Idea to the public wherein he proposes the technologies required, are of specialization and also the tools that are required to develop that particular idea into a fully functional project.
  • Source Code of a mature software is made available to the Public: No one is going to contribute until you show some intent and approach towards the development of the software. The developer tries to build software which will be modified and updated by the people in Community and the one who use it.

Now, Let's talk about maintaining an Open-Source Project. This is a vast topic and needs to be understood very clearly.


At the point when you maintain an open-source project, you're taking on an influential position. Regardless of whether you're the sole developer of an idea who released it to people in general for use and commitments, or you're dealing with a group and are maintaining one explicit part of the undertaking, you will be giving significant support of the larger developer community network.

While open-source contributions through demands from the community are vital for guaranteeing that product is as helpful as it tends to be for end clients, maintainers effect forming the general task. project maintainers are very engaged with the open-source software they oversee, from everyday association and advancement to interfacing with people in general and giving brief and successful feedback to the contributors.

This article will take you through certain tips for maintaining open source projects. Being a leader of an open-source project accompanies both specialized and non-specialized obligations to help encourage a client base and network around your undertaking. Assuming the job of a maintainer is a chance to gain from others, get involved in the venture the board, and watch your undertaking develop and change as your clients become potential contributors.

Maintain Documentation

Documentation that is careful, efficient, and serves the expected communities of your project will help grow your client base. After some time, your client base will turn into the contributors to your open-source software.

Since you'll be thoroughly considering the code you are making at any rate, and may even be writing down notes, it tends to be beneficial to fuse documentation as a feature of your advancement procedure while it is crisp in your psyche. You may even need to think about composing the documentation before the code, following the way of thinking of a documentation-driven advancement approach that document includes first and builds up those highlights after working out what they will do.

Documentation can come in numerous structures and can target various crowds. As a component of your documentation, and relying upon the extent of your work, you may choose to do at least one of the accompanying,

  1. A guide that will introduce the project to the public that you have developed.
  2. You can even design tutorials to give people a brief walkthrough of what you’ve developed.
  3. The most required document is the one that contains the Frequently Asked Questions.
  4. There should be a document that must help the user Troubleshoot the errors.
  5. Video Tutorials can be of a plus point if provided.

These few documents will make your client base very strong.

Organize Feedbacks

Feedbacks are normally an approach to monitor or report bugs, or to demand new highlights to be added to the code. Open-source projects facilitating services like GitHub, GitLab and Bitbucket will give you an interface for yourself as well as other people to monitor feedbacks inside your vault. When discharging open-source code to people in general, you ought to hope to have feedbacks opened by the network of clients. Arranging and organizing feedbacks will give you a decent guide for upcoming work on your task.

Since any client can record feedback, not all feedbacks will report bugs or be include demands; you may get questions using the feedback tracker tool, or you may get demands for littler improvements to the UI, for instance. It is ideal to arrange these feedbacks however much as could reasonably be expected and to be open to the clients who are making these feedbacks.

Feedbacks ought to speak to a solid task that should be done on the source code, and you should organize them as needs be. You and your community of developers will have a comprehension of the measure of time and can dedicate to documented feedbacks, and together you can work cooperatively to settle on choices and make a noteworthy updating. At the point when you realize you won't have the option to find a workable pace issue inside a brisk period, you can even now remark on the feedback to tell the client that you have perused the feedback and that you'll find a workable pace you can, and on the off chance that you can give a normal course of events to when you can take a step on the feedbacks once more.

For issues that are highlight requests or upgrades, you can ask the individual who recorded the feedback whether they can contribute code themselves. You can guide them to the CONTRIBUTORS.md record and some other significant documentation.

Maintaining your Community

Users are empowered through documentation, being receptive to feedback, and urging them to participate in the development, you are as of now well on your approach to working out the community around your open-source project. Users that you keep glad and who you treat as contributors will thus advance your project.

Moreover, you can work to advance your project through different roads:

  1. Blogging
  2. Various diagrams
  3. Walkthroughs
  4. Keeping up a mailing list
  5. Being dynamic via web-based networking media channels
  6. Working together with comparative or related projects

You'll need to tailor your advancement to the extent of your task and the number of active team members and contributors you have working with you.

As your community develops, you can give more spaces to contributors, users, and maintainers to connect.

Consider your user base and the extent of your project — including the number of individuals who are maintaining the project and the assets you have accessible — before revealing these potential spaces, and look for feedback from your community about what works for them.

Most importantly, it is imperative to be thoughtful and give some adoration to the community. Being a potential maintainer isn't in every case simple, yet it will pay off for your project down the line.

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