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Hacktoberfest with Nim

Hacktoberfest is an annual event happening in October which celebrates open source software and encourages meaningful contributions to the open source ecosystem.

To win a T-shirt, you must sign up on the Hacktoberfest site and make five pull requests to any repo on Github by the end of October. Even if you don’t manage to make five pull requests, you win Hacktoberfest stickers.

Nim would like to encourage you to participate in Hacktoberfest by contributing to the Nim repo or any other Nim-related repos.

How can you help?

  • bug-fixing
  • improving documentation
  • writing a library

Bug fixing

Nim repo has more than 1400 open issues, which might be overwhelming to start. Here are some categories you might find interesting:

  • Why don’t you start with some of easy issues?
  • You can help with cleanup.
  • You don’t want to write code? Plenty of issues involve documentation.
  • Everybody uses stdlib. How about fixing one of the more than 200 issues in the stdlib?
  • You want to earn some money while fixing bugs? Here are the issues with a bounty.
  • What are our priorities? Take a look at high priority issues.

Improving documentation

Poor documentation is often mentioned when people discuss Nim. Let’s make it better together!

Based on this research, the most used modules are: strutils, os, tables, math, sequtils, macros, times, unittest and json – improving these would be beneficial to most people, but feel free to choose any other Nim module.

For example, in the tables module what is missing is:

  • a general example which shows a usage of OrderedTable and CountTable,
  • for each procedure, a short example which shows the results of applying it.

How to go about improving these?

Open the source file for tables module and you’ll see that the general documentation is at the top of the file, and to make an example, put it inside of a runnableExamples block like this, which will make sure the code snippet stays valid:

proc addBar*(a: string): string =
  ## Adds "Bar" to ``a``.
  runnableExamples:
    doAssert "baz".addBar == "bazBar"
   
   result = a & "Bar"

For embedded code block documentation you can also use .. code-block:::

proc foo*() =
  ## Beginning of comment.
  ##
  ## .. code-block::
  ##    :test:
  ##    foo()
  ##
  ## Rest of comment.
  raise newException(Exception, "boo!")

The best examples are self-contained and specific. This means they show how to do one thing. You should use headings to make them as easy to understand as possible, for example:

## Initialising an empty table
## ---------------------------
##
## An empty table can be created on the stack or on the heap.
##
## Stack allocated table
## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
##
## .. code-block:: nim
##    :test:
##   import tables
##   var phonebook = initTable[string, string]()
##
## Heap allocated table
## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
##
## .. code-block:: nim
##    :test:
##   import tables
##   var phonebook = newTable[string, string]()

If your example is more than 5 lines of code, then it’s likely too long. Consider separating it into multiple examples.

Nim’s documentation generator uses reStructuredText, take a look at some references if you want to get more familiar with it.

Writing a library

There is a list of needed libraries, can you help us shorten it?

Once you have written a library, you can send a PR to nimble package repo to include your package in the official list of packages!

If writing a library seems like a too demanding task, you can help improve one of the existing Nim packages by adding a feature, fixing a bug, or writing more informative documentation.

I want to help, but I’ve run into some problem

If you need any help, the Nim community is very welcoming. Ask a question in Nim’s IRC Channel on Freenode, Nim’s room on Gitter or the Nim Telegram group and somebody will help you. Other communication channels can be found on our community page.

Happy coding!