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24PullRequests – Andrew Nesbitt

At the last BathCamp I met Andrew Nesbitt, who has recently moved to the area and was the driving force behind 24PullRequests – a hugely popular festive project to encourage developers to contribute back to open source software. The project ran from 1st to 24th December 2012.

Andrew describes himself as a ‘passionate, full stack developer, who loves experimenting with new technologies and techniques to help ship kick ass products on the web’, and he has kindly put together this post about his ’24PullRequests’ experience. 

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andrewnesbitt“I came up with the idea for 24PullRequests during November when a few friends were participating in Movember, the viral nature of everyone growing moustaches made me wonder if the same approach could work for contributing to open source software on GitHub.

As a web developer, I use open source software on a daily basis. Ruby on Rails, Node.js and WordPress are all open source – you can download and view the source code of the project.

One of the most popular places to find open source software is GitHub, which provides a great way to contribute, the “pull request“.

The idea behind 24PullRequests is for developers to try and send 24 separate pull requests to open source projects during the month of December – think of it like an advent calendar for developers.

When I launched the site on 1st December it was a very simple, static HTML web page that explained the idea. I made the site open source and uploaded the site to GitHub and submitted the site to Hacker News.

The initial reception was excellent and developers quickly started to add functionality to the site, like the ability to login using your GitHub account and record all the pull requests you sent.

Over 1000 developers signed up to the site over the first couple days. This popularity caused a couple of problems!

The influx of traffic began to slow the website down, but luckily we had used Heroku to host the site so scaling up was a piece of cake.

The second problem was the sheer amount of pull requests being sent to the project itself. The developers participating were fixing bugs, adding features and even correcting typos on the site – managing all of them was taking a long time.

Thankfully the developers stepped up again and a team formed around the project to help out with the influx of activity.

By Christmas Day we had recorded 3175 pull requests on 1498 different projects from 886 developers, a massive success and some brilliant contributions to the world of open source software.

After the success of 2012, we’re are going to run the project again in December 2013. If you would like to get involved you can sign up to the site now and you’ll receive an email a bit closer to Christmas.”

About Katrina

Founder of Pepper PR & Marketing, a company specialising in marketing and event management for the digital and tech sector. On the BathSPARK organisation team and involved in running the SPARKies, the south west's best tech awards.

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