Most of our world today is driven by some sort of code, software, helping the machinery do its job better and more efficiently. If you were to search for a tutorial on how to do anything, for example, How to play blackjack, you are likely to engage a powerful AI which is already processing tons of data, which will then help you to find the results you need, as best as it can.
Some projects are proprietary and not many people have access to them but on the other end, you have open-source projects, which everyone can have access to, see the source code, and with proper support and documentation, even contribute to it.
Open source projects are also great as a means of studying coding. How? Well, here are some ways you can learn coding from open source projects, the best ones.
Documentation – It Really Matters
When talking about all things open-source and free, or FOSS, it is really important to read the documentation that comes with the project. Any decent project will have decent documentation, as well as developers who will be able to tell you where to look for what.
One of the best ways to learn to code and to learn specifics is to do as you are told. A bug or unoptimized code is troublesome but you have no idea where. The documentation and lead developers can point you in the right direction, and that is usually what they do because they care about their projects (which is the mindset of the open-source community).
Using documentation to your advantage is one of the paramount ways of learning from open source projects.
Contacting the Developers – It is Inevitable
Even when you submit your code contribution, you are undoubtedly going to communicate with the developer. Whether your code is good or bad is not the question, but communication has to exist in order for a project to be good.
The developer/s will fill you in on everything you need to know and any and all the ways you could contribute to the project, from the simplest code to astounding contributions which can turn the project into a stable release.
Talk to the developer/s who lead the project and you will likely learn more about coding than you would if you simply go at it blind or by just using the documentation.
Learning the Basics of Structure
What open source projects teach developers is how to work within a structure. All code has a structure, or rather, it should. A well-executed project will have layers of code, neatly organized. This is why some open-source projects are impossible to contribute to as a beginner -they will have multiple layers of code, where a simple task will call upon who knows how many other functions.
Open-source projects can teach you structure, but if you choose the wrong project (a very difficult one for beginners), it can teach you the hard way, which is often not the way to go.
Open source projects are great for beginners if they choose the right project.