WooCommerce 3.3 launched yesterday. Since June 2015, I’ve been listed as a contributor for every major and minor release. I’m not going to lie; it’s a pretty sweet feeling to know that something you wrote a few lines of, is being used on over 2 million webshops.
GitHub is (not that) scary
When I joined WooThemes just over 3 years ago, I had never heard of GitHub or commits and pull requests. But GitHub scared the crap out of me. It was foreign and I was going to have to expose my lack of skill to some extremely skilled people.
About half a year in, I got to a stage where I felt bad bugging* the (very busy) core developers whenever I wanted to make a small change like a spelling or grammar edit of the copy of the text. It’s also a tedious process explaining what you want to have changed to then have the developer process it to then me checking it again.
So some of my colleagues gave me a short tutorial on working with GitHub, and in June 2015, I submitted my first PR with some suggested copy edits:
This commit was included in WooCommerce 2.4 and since then, I think I’ve at least submitted one commit per major and minor version – which adds up to 7 versions to date.
I’m quite proud of two more recent commits, wherein I updated the dummy data files. I cleaned them up and also updated them to match the Storefront starter content. I submitted the CSV file, and also an updated XML file, both of them adding up to about 13,000 lines of code change, and – if I may say so – some very clean and fresh starter content.
My proudest contribution, however, is one that actually forced me to write my first lines of PHP.
When I discovered the issue that tax suffixes were still displayed even when taxes were disabled, and I chatted to my colleague Matty about it, he encouraged me to fix it myself. What followed was a very clumsy line of commits, and me needing a lot of help from another colleague, Dwain, but I persisted and was able to make a change to WooCommerce core’s functionality. Its clumsiness will easily show how I got to 50 commits; a lot of them are correcting my own previous work.
If you’re keen to try this at home, here’s a short tutorial on submitting pull requests. The UI of the GitHub desktop app has changed a little bit, but the principles are still the same.