I’ve had my GitHub account for almost two years and only recently have people begun to complain about my code. And I love it! I open source most of what I create and the reason I do it is so other people can use what I’ve made for their own purposes. I’ve got some designs on there but my favorite repos are the ones that do stuff. The hardcore code, if you will. When I push a project to GitHub that I care at all about I’m meticulous about documenting it, creating a marketing page if I can, and keeping it updated in general. But after all that work and for two years straight I’ve been disappointed every single time I’ve logged into my GitHub account. All this time not a single person has complained about my code… until now. Why do I want people to complain about my code? I can think of a lot of reasons.
I “made it”
I’ve gotten only a handful of issues opened on my GitHub projects but most of them have come in the last week. I’ve seen so many developers who are well known in the community for this or that project and I always envied them. I want to create a project that makes a name for myself. That’s what this blog and my website are all about. I want to be known as “the creator of X” or be well known for being good at a certain kind of design or being good with a certain language or technology or type of application. When I was first starting out I thought I deserved to be known for all the crappy little projects I made. As I become a better programmer and gain more experience I feel less like I’m a great programmer who deserves credit and more like a decent programmer who doesn’t deserve credit. Funny how that works. But now my projects are starting to get some attention and I love it. This week Write.app was featured on two websites in a row! I gained more users in the past 3 days than in all of the time Write.app has existed. Not only has Write.app finally gotten some much deserved attention but my GitHub account is finally seeing some action! My very first project, Fractionless Boilerplate has about 40 watchers now and people are finally submitting issues! You know how I know I made it? Because people have told me my code sucks.
My code is being used
The other great thing about complaints is that you know your code is being used. If no one complained that would mean no one cared and if no one cares then you have a shitty project. Luckily people have begun to discover my code and have found it useful enough to comment on the issues it has. When I know people are using my code it makes me want to improve it and fix problems promptly. It also encourages me to collaborate with others on bug fixes and new features. All things I’ve longed for ever since I got into this business.
Now I can get better
Being alerted to issues with my code gives me the chance to not just go back and fix those issues but to become a better developer. If someone opens an issue, most of the time its because I’ve written some code that isn’t horrendous, is worth salvaging, and just needs some adjustments to be good enough for regular people to use.
I love the fact that people are starting to use my code and give me feedback now. Its something I’ve wanted since I got into this business. So please go use some of my code and tell me what I screwed up. I’m hoping someone submits a pull request on one of my repos too! Who’s gonna be the first to do that on me?