Jake Worth

Sinatra Pull Request #126

March 28, 20142 min read

Reading Sinatra’s documentation today, I found a few things to improve. I checked and didn’t see anybody working on them, so I decided to fix them.

I’ve already contributed once to this project, so I had a fork and local repo ready. My fork was almost a month old, so I wanted to ensure it was current.

To do this, I needed to sync my fork with the project. Step one was to verify that I didn’t have an upstream already set.

$ git remote -v
origin  ssh://git@github.com/jwworth/sinatra-contrib.git (fetch)
origin  ssh://git@github.com/jwworth/sinatra-contrib.git (push)

This lists each remote that is set with the tag ‘verbose’ (give me more information’). My only remote was my fork, ‘origin’, so I set an upstream.

$ git remote add upstream https://github.com/sinatra/sinatra-contrib

Running the ‘remote’ command again, I saw my upstream:

$ git remote -v
origin  ssh://git@github.com/jwworth/sinatra-contrib.git (fetch)
origin  ssh://git@github.com/jwworth/sinatra-contrib.git (push)
upstream  https://github.com/sinatra/sinatra-contrib (fetch)
upstream  https://github.com/sinatra/sinatra-contrib (push)

Next, I fetched the changes:

$ git fetch upstream
remote: Counting objects: 1, done.
remote: Total 1 (delta 0), reused 1 (delta 0)
Unpacking objects: 100% (1/1), done.
From https://github.com/sinatra/sinatra-contrib
 * [new branch]      1.3.x      -> upstream/1.3.x
 * [new branch]      1.4.1      -> upstream/1.4.1
 * [new branch]      issue_27   -> upstream/issue_27
 * [new branch]      issue_28   -> upstream/issue_28
 * [new branch]      issue_39   -> upstream/issue_39
 * [new branch]      master     -> upstream/master
 * [new branch]      template-renderer-safety -> upstream/template-renderer-safety

You can do a lot of things at this step, but my goal was to get the ‘upstream’ changes and merge them into my ‘downstream’ master branch.

$ git merge upstream/master
Updating dc38ff1..1094b86
 lib/sinatra/config_file.rb |    2 +-
 lib/sinatra/streaming.rb   |    2 +-
 2 files changed, 2 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

Next I installed the bundle (output omitted) and ran the tests.

$ bundle install
$ bundle exec rake


Finished in 5.91 seconds
825 examples, 0 failures

The tests passed. I made my changes to a file called ‘reloader’ and committed them to a task branch with the commit message ‘Fix some typos’. Running the tests again showed 825 examples and zero failures, a good sign.

After pushing to origin I opened this pull request. Sinatra’s automated test suite ran and passed, as expected. A little later, it was merged into the project.

When I was learning to program, I wanted to hone my skills by contributing to open source. It seemed daunting at first. Just to open a pull request to a Github Ruby repo, you have to understand Git, Ruby, Bundler, RSpec and/or Cucumber, and your OS. Googling ‘how can I contribute to open source?’ yields a wealth of ‘new programmer’ curiosity.

Most open source projects welcome contributions, as long as they are improvements. The keys for my contributions have been:

  • Finding projects that I care about (read the Gemfile of the app that ‘pays your bills’ for inspiration)
  • Understanding how their teams function (What are the contribution guidelines? What kind of pull requests get merged?)
  • Following a simple checklist of best practices
  • Reading error messages, responding to comments on your pull request, and not giving up at the first obstacle

Jake Worth

I'm Jake Worth, a Chicago-based web developer. Blog About Now