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Why You Should Contribute to Open Source Projects in 2018 and Beyond - Corcel (Laravel + WordPress) package blog

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Package: Corcel (Laravel + WordPress)

Open source can change your life. It has changed mine with Corcel, an Open Source project that I started in 2013 which changed who I am and how I live.

Read this article to learn more the story of the project and how it became a passion for Open Source projects that is probably like yours.

Loaded Article

Editor note: This article was written original at Junior Grossi's blog and was transcribed to this post for your convenience.


The first title I gave to this post was How Open Source can change your life for the better. That was a good title too, but I think the main reason I wrote this post is to encourage you to start (or continue) working and contributing to Open Source projects. That is why the title changed.

You may think: "Open Source cannot give me any money". The fact is that in my case, no I made some money. Maybe for many developers making money from Open Source is hard. Contributing or creating Open Source projects allows you to show your code to the world. And that's the point! It's when your life starts changing, believe me.

My life started changing in 2013 because of Open Source. In that year I was running my company, an advertising agency. I was responsible for all the Web and development fields. Actually, the company started in 2007 and I was at the heart of the development team for many years.

In the end of 2012, we started working on a client's portal, made with WordPress. The first idea was to rewrite the entire portal in Laravel but after some look, we decided to go with a very different approach.

We decided to continue using the WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS), basically its administration panel. Then we started a new public application (front-end) using Laravel. This was when Corcel was born.

I decided then to extract part of the code I used in the project development and encapsulate it as a Composer package and push to GitHub. It was the first Composer package I created in my life.

When creating Corcel I had to learn how to create a Composer package, and most importantly, how to use GitHub.

2013 ended. 2014 ended. 2015 ended. Corcel was just one more Composer package on Packagist, nothing more. On Jan 18th, 2016, Corcel had only 270 stars on GitHub and just a few hundred of downloads.


The Watershed

Everything started to change because of this post on Laravel News. It was written in January 2016. Since then Corcel began to be better known and became popular. By the way, thank you Eric L. Barnes. wink

That was when my life started to change. I started reaping the first fruits of the Open Source project publication. A few months later, on May, Corcel had 600 stars on GitHub, 122% more than January. It was Tuesday morning when I received an email from a Web agency based in London, UK. They were using Corcel internally and were looking for a new developer for the team. I got my first job offer to work remotely.

Unfortunately, I had to decline, due to the fact that I was running already a business on my own company, so I had a partner, customers, projects, etc. But that offer stayed in my mind for days. It was time for a change. It was time for a life move. And I did.

I always wanted to work remotely but running the company like we were doing, it was impossible to work remotely for many reasons. I decided to leave the company I had founded in 2007. It was 9 years breathing that air, working in the same place every single day. It would be hard, but I had to to do that.

I started applying for remote jobs on the Internet. A lot of them. Really, a lot. Of course, I had more experience with PHP, and then my focus was on the language. I was selected for a few interviews, but one email message surprised me:

Olá Junior, you definitely convinced me with the "Corcel PHP" reason smile

I started getting much more responses, and everyone mentioned Corcel as a good reason why they contacted me. I got through some interesting interviews, to work with WordPress, PHP in general and specifically Laravel.

According to an interviewer – that became a friend of mine later – usually, a remote job listing gets between 300 and 400 applications. They usually contact between 10 and 15 to start the hiring process, so only 3% of the applicants were invited to the process, and Open Source contributions were a very important differential.

Since May, 23th 2016 I'm working as a full-time remote employee for InterNACHIInternational Association of Certified Home Inspectors –, a US-based company, and I'm working with PHP and Laravel. I continued receiving some responses for applications I did some months earlier, made some friends, improved my networking.

The Benefits

In my opinion, when you contribute to the Open Source community, you have what to show your work. In other words, it's a great opportunity to show your work before anything else. If someone found you on the Web, that is because you have something to share and show how you work.

Thinking in a regular hiring process you would do your first interview, then you do a test as  developer test, then more interviews, and the final proposal.

In the Open Source world, you are a few steps ahead because even in your first interview, someone from the company already saw what you did and how you write your code.

So if the company is looking for a great developer that uses automated tests to assure code quality, go ahead and share code on GitHub and other sites like PHP Classes but provide automated testing code as well.

The most important point I think is when you start getting feedback and contribution from the community. This will make you feel very well, believe me.

Everyday I learn something new with code of people that submits a PR (Pull Request). That is the point. You grow as a developer and as a human being.

Hey, are you the guy that created "that project"? Thank you so much, you saved me a lot of time! love

And do not forget how you can improve when work with Open Source projects. I started blogging in 2011, and I have no words to say how my English has improved since then.

English is not my mother tongue. Portuguese is my first language because I am from Brazil. Thanks to the Open Source community I started having contact with people from all over the world and always communicating in English.


Like I said before, you possibly will not make money directly from the Open Source but you can start today and achieve great results in the future.

Talking about Open Source is not only talking about the code, is talking about opportunities and how the world is changing.

Open source has changed who I am. I believe I am a way better developer after I started the Corcel project. I am sure I still have a lot to learn with it and with the community. It is something you will never stop doing. And that is a good thing.

Open Source has changed how I live given that I work remotely everyday. I can work from home, from a coworking office, from a coffee shop. I have more time to stay with my family, less stress, and better focus. I like this.

Finally, Open Source has changed my life and I strongly believe if that is what you want to, you can do it now.

You do not have to create a package, or a project. You can contribute to existing projects. The community needs your help. Write a test case for an untested feature or a scenario that was not anticipated. This is a great opportunity to learn and improve yourself just by doing the right way.

I really hope this post encourages you to start showing your code to the world. If you do not have a GitHub account, you should create one. Get back to the last projects you have worked in and I am sure you will find good code to share.

I cannot say how or when you will start benefiting from the Open Source community as a professional developer that makes money from your Open Source work, but I can ensure you will, sooner rather than later if you start sharing your work for instance in GitHub and PHP Classes like I did.

I would like to thank Eric L. Barnes for the WordPress & Laravel post. That was the watershed for me. He even doesn't know that, but thank you, Eric.

Also, I'd like to thank Chris Morrell and all InterNACHI's coworkers, the company I work for, who believed me since the beginning. Thank you so much!

If you liked this article, please share it with all your colleague developers like I shared my work in great sitles like PHP Classes and GitHub. You should also share your work here as well because it provides you great exposure, or else you would not be reading this with great joy like I have written this article here.

If you feel grateful for sharing your work like I am, please post comment here now to share your opinion because it is well appreciated. I will be looking here again once you post a comment so I can follow up and give back to you too.

Thanks for reading to this point. I will be waiting for your comments, so I can reply quickly.

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1. I agree - Jorge Castro (2018-09-02 22:10)
My experience... - 0 replies
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