Up For Grabs!

It’s always fun when a brief discussion suddenly sparks something fun and entertaining. I’ve heard these events referred to as “serendipitious interactions” but it’s always better to see these things happen in the real.

For example, in the middle of MVP Summit a discussion broke out about making it easier to get developers participating in open source projects.

While Nik wrote a blog post a while ago about identify tasks which others could get involved with, this particular discussion ended with Scott getting in Keith’s ear with three little words: Up For Grabs.

What was the purpose of this site? To have an easily-accessible listing of the various open source projects out there that fit this criteria:

  • had tasks defined outside the core and without dependencies on other tasks - ideal for new contributors
  • had tasks which were small and well-defined enough that they could be done with a few nights of work
  • were happy to take time out to work with developers new to open source projects

So Keith spun up a little GitHub Pages site, threw up a sample list of projects to start things off.

This is how it looked in the beginning:

first pass

The URL was then passed around on Twitter (thanks for all those who RT’d it) and within the space of a few hours, we had a few more projects add themselves to the list (I got involved at this point).

more projects

At this point it was Wednesday evening and we all headed our separate ways to enjoy the nightlife of Seattle. Reconvening later in the evening, we realised we hadn’t actually elaborated on the vision of what this site was for.

We didn’t want it to end up as a dumping ground of links, so I put my hand up to write some words in the morning to succinctly explain what we were doing.

This is what the main content of the site (I’ve dropped the header and footer) looked like after those words were published:

more projects

Of course, that collection of project links was looking rather plain now we had some real details on the site. The order was fixed as well, favouring projects who “got there first”, so to speak.

So we restyled the project links to make them more professional, and randomized the order of the projects on each page load.

This is what the current project links look like today (without the header and footer):

more projects

Oh, and Up For Grabs is also a listed project on Up For Grabs - so if you’re interested in working with some HTML/CSS/Javascript or learning some Jekyll, this little site is a great way to get started.

There’s some more work we’d like to do on the site - being able to search and filter based on tags being the big one - but it’s come a long way since that first version.