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CONTRIBUTING: Michael Hawker on Windows Community Toolkit

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 Michael Hawker, aka XAML Llama, a Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, and maintainer of the Windows Community Toolkit. Michael is also an avid streamer.

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

I work in PAX, the Partner, Analytics, and essential eXperiences team (at Microsoft). PAX focuses on driving the ISV ecosystem through technical engagement with partners and industry as well as providing essential first party experiences.

What can you tell us about your project?
The Windows Community Toolkit is a set of helpers and controls for Windows developers, mostly focused on UWP (Universal Windows Platform) technologies, but also on .NET. There's great tools and components in there that help you build great applications.

What contributions are you welcoming?
We have a lot of things in the toolkit, a variety of controls, layout components, monitoring, it's hard for me to keep track of all the features sometimes! We're always looking for people to help us fix bugs, or add new features that help scenarios we've discovered. We also like seeing community members come up with their own ideas for contributions.

A lot of the time the things we add in the toolkit end up in the platform library as well, and it's great to see that full circle of development where an idea ends up being used by tens of thousands of developers.

What skills do people need to contribute?
Mostly C# and XAML, the main things we do in the toolkit. Another skill is patience when working with us. We're a smaller team that is working on the toolkit, sometimes it will take us some time to get around to reviewing PRs, or responding to every issue. But we really appreciate people coming in and helping us on the project, so come in with initiative and we'll make great things happen together.

How do folks get started?
To get started, we have a sample app in the Microsoft store to download on your PC. It's a great way to see not only what the toolkit has to offer you as an app developer, but also to try things out. If you find a bug in the sample app you can now go clone the repo, build up the sample app on your box, and have it side by side with the store version and reproduce and fix the issue.

We have a wiki with contribution guidelines and goes into how you can download preview packages for any PRs in case you want to try out new features that people are building and give feedback or reply to PRs are all great ways to get started. We're looking forward to feedback on our process and guidelines as well. Hopefully the wiki helps bootstrap understanding how the project works and how to contribute - and there's ample opportunity to contribute!

Check regularly for more interviews with contributors & maintainers, as well as online events to help you get involved in open source.

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