Organization & Triaging

What could be better than eating ice cream at the beach? Only one thing I can think of: eating ice cream at the beach... wait for it... while contributing to Symfony!

The Massive Power of Contributors

Seriously, I am super, duper, double-duper, excited about this tutorial! If you're like me, you probably use Symfony almost every day. And that means, we're taking advantage of countless hours of volunteer work from thousands of people! Contributing to Symfony is a great way to give back and become part of that amazing effort.

But, I also have a few other motivations. Like, if you want to truly become an expert on one part of Symfony, there is no better way than reviewing a pull request or fixing a bug. Seriously.

Or, have you ever been annoyed by part of Symfony and wanted to improve it? How about this: have you ever been confused, finally figured something out, and then realized a small change to the documentation could have saved you hours of frustration?

These are the things that get me excited to contribute back to Symfony! How cool is it that you could save other people hundreds of hours by improving the documentation with extra information that the core team didn't realize was missing? Symfony is truly community-driven. There's actually no official roadmap: if you want to add something, do it!

The Organization of Symfony

Excited? There's just one small problem: contributing... ain't easy! At least, not at first. Symfony is a huge and complex project. But, you will not regret learning how to give back. It's fun and will make you an even better developer.

Let's jump in! The main repository for Symfony lives at https://github.com/symfony/symfony. This holds almost all of the Symfony libraries. There are a few others that live in other places - but we'll talk about those later.

And, woh! 749 issues and 181 pull requests! That's, ah, a lot! And this leads me to the first, most important and least celebrated way of contributing: triaging! Here's the truth: there are too many issues and too many pull requests for the Symfony core team to be able to reply & review everything.

The first way to contribute is to "triage": find an issue and help push it forward. If it's a feature idea, you can give your feedback or offer alternate solutions. If it's a bug, see if you can replicate that bug. We're going to do this.

You can also triage pull requests: find one, review its code, give your opinion on whether or not you think it's a good idea, and even test it in a real project to make sure it works. We'll do that too!

Oh, and I recommend focusing on newer issues and pull requests, at least at first. If a PR or issue is old, it's probably pretty complicated.

Your Opinion is Respected

If reviewing code or giving your opinion in a big repository like Symfony sounds scary, don't worry! Symfony is a friendly place: everyone has the same goal: to help move the project forward. Sure, it is possible that you'll say something that's not completely correct. I do that all the time! I think I'm kinda famous for it! It's really no big deal. Honestly, the time that you took to review that pull request or issue has a high value. And if you say something that isn't totally right, someone else will nicely correct you, you'll learn something, and the whole project will move forward. Be nice, don't be afraid to be wrong, and use any feedback as a way to learn more.

Reviewing a Pull Request

So, let's start contributing! Let's triage a pull request that I found: - it's number 28069. This PR is from my friend Colin, who's proposing a new MultipleOf validation constraint that checks whether a submitted value is divisible by another number.

I like this idea, but this PR hasn't gotten any attention yet. This is a perfect opportunity for us to help push it forward!

First, let's review the code. As a new contributor, you might not really know what to look for when reviewing. No problem: just see if the code makes sense and look for potential bugs or other issues. You don't have to be perfect: every little bit helps.

To create a validator, you need two classes. The first represents the annotation: MultipleOf. The second - MultipleOfValidator - is the class that actually does the validation work.

The annotation has an option message:

The value should be a multiple of {{ compared_value }}

That's a pretty good message. In the validator, Colin uses `fmod` to compare the values, which means the user can compare decimals - like 1 is a multiple of 5. Yea, this all looks pretty good to me!

The second thing to look for is if the PR has a test: most features need some. And, no surprise, Colin did a great job here too: he's testing valid and invalid comparisons. This test uses a special base class to hook this all together.

So... I have no comments to add to this pull request! And even that is valuable! We'll be able to post that we reviewed the code and it looks good to us. But, there is still one important question: does this... actually work? It's one thing to look at the code, but it helps so much if someone in the community says:

Hey! I actually tried this in a real project and it works great!

Let's be that wonderful person next!

Leave a comment!

  • 2018-08-23 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Peter,

    Hm, if you find unique bugs nobody are known about - then that's great! You don't need to fix every bug you found :) Someone from the community may help with it.. the most important is to find a bug and prepare good steps to reproduce itso other devs can easily reveal the bug - that's a tricky thing sometimes.

    What about Git/GitHub, well, yeah, we suppose our users already know about it because it's really the basics, but if you don't - take a look at these lessons that are free: https://try.github.io/

    Cheers!

  • 2018-08-23 Peter Kosak

    Even though I am watching this I would need introduction to git & git hub first lol :D this is like rocket science for me I would create probably more issues than fixes.