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CONTRIBUTING: Freek Van der Herten on Spatie

Leading up to (and during) the month of October, we want to help you discover open source projects to work on, and put your Hacktoberfest contributions to excellent use. Meet Freek Van der Herten, co-owner and core contributor for many open source projects at Spatie.

Check out this page regularly for more interviews with contributors & maintainers

What can you tell us about your project?

At Spatie we don't have one open source project that we work on but we have we have many of them. In each client project that we deliver, we see that there is functionality that is useful for other developers as well. Things like communicating with Google Analytics, setting up event sourcing, setting up multi-tenancy, or how to handle media files in an application. Whenever we discover such functionality, we expose that functionality and open source it via a package.
Over the past years we've created over 200 of those packages and I think we are the largest contributor of packages to the Laravel ecosystem.
On our GitHub organization you can see like a big list of things that we've made. Also, when we have created such a package,
that's not like the end of the story, but rather the starting point, because that's where maintenance begins.
In creating the packages, I get a lot of help from my team. We have a team of 10 developers working and maintaining them. This takes a lot of effort, so we give ourselves half a day a week to work on these PHP and Laravel packages. But often that isn't enough, and we get a lot of help from the community as well.

Freek Van der Herten

What contributions are you welcoming?

People often think that working in the open source space is only about contributing code and doing bug fixes. But there are a lot of things that need to be handled in addition to that.
Of course, we welcome new issues when you encounter a problem with our package and we welcome pull requests (PRs) that fix those problems.
But documentation needs to be taken care of as well, so we also welcome PRs that fix typos or make documentation better. How you can help us as well, is by writing a blog post about one of our packages.
And another way that you can support is by reviewing open issues and PRs of a package and try to give an answer to the issue or try out the code in the PR. If several people say, "hey this PR works", that's more trustworthy for us.
A lot of the issues that we get on our packages are mainly by users that use our package for the first time, and you can help us a lot by answering some of these questions as well.

What skills do people need to contribute?

If you are using our package and you think that the documentation can be improved or there is like a functionality that isn't working or some functionality that should be added make a contribution.
We welcome people with any level: beginners, intermediates or experts are all welcome. Beginners can help us with reviewing documentation, or working on one of the issues that we've labeled a good first issue. If you already know the package quite well, we love PRs that make the package better.
Most of our packages are written in in PHP and for the Laravel framework. So it definitely helps if you have knowledge about that language or that framework.

How do I get started?

The easiest way is just searching the GitHub repos on our organization. We label the PRs so you can see which ones we need help with. Something that you can also do is
follow our Twitter account; we tweet out some issues where we need help. And on my personal Twitter account I also make suggestions where we need somebody to help us.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to reach out on me on Twitter or send me an email.

Join, October 2nd, for CONTRIBUTING.md - a virtual Hacktoberfest meetup, free and open for anyone who wants to join. Learn what Open Source projects are looking for contributions, which communities are looking for new members, and who is looking for advice from someone with your exact skill set. Check this page regularly for more interviews with contributors & maintainers which we'll release until the event.

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