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How to Contribute to Open Source Android Projects on GitHub?

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  • Last Updated : 27 Sep, 2021
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In this article, we will learn how to start an open-source android project contribution as a beginner. An open-source project means that anyone is free to read, modify, study and distribute the project. But that doesn’t mean anyone can start modifying and making changes in anyone’s project. It can be done only after the owner’s approval or some other contributor who is assigned to review the pull requests. 

What is a Pull Request?

Pull requests are the changes made by the local repository by a contributor for the remote repository. The changes are compared between the remote and the local repositories and then the reviewer might accept the request. A beginner who is starting new with open source has to take the first and the most important step before making a pull request.

How to find a project?

The very first step is to find a repository on GitHub that is suitable for your knowledge of android development. The best way is to search in GitHub for repositories with the technology you want to make contributions in. In our case, we can search with the keyword “android”. After that, we can sort the repositories with the preferred language we want like Kotlin or Java. To sort it further you can search with more specific keywords like “clock android” or search with dependency names like “volley” or “retrofit”. After finding the right repository follow the below steps – 

1. Fork the Repository

Forking will create a copy of the repository in your account, now you can make changes in the project. To fork a project open the GitHub repository and on the right-hand side click on the fork button – 

2. Setup the Project

After forking the repository you need to setup the project and test the application on your local device or emulator. Firstly check if there is a read-me guide given in the repository. Some projects have additional setups and plugins which need to be added manually. Once done we can move to the next step.

How to find an issue?

Usually, most of the big and popular project repositories do have some issues or bugs or any required feature for the application. For that go to the issues section of the remote repository on GitHub. Many repositories have issues recommended by other developers. If you do not find an issue there then you can test the project yourself and find any bug or a feature that you think will add value to the application. After knowing what contribution you can make. It’s time to implement it.

  • Commit and Push – Commit changes with proper messages and push them to the repository on Github.
  • Make a Pull Request – To make a pull request you need to push changes to the sub-branch from where the owner of the project can merge it to the main branch.

Get your PR merged quickly

  • Find bugs or errors which are very urgent or find features that will increase the value of the project by a significant amount.
  • Communicate with the owner of the repository to look into your PR  also ask for suggestions and discuss other queries.
  • Suggest valid test results (Junit or Expresso) to show that your PR would not break the app.
  • Have a well-maintained Github account with valid information.
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