Getting Involved with NodeBots

This year's NodeBots Day (July 25th,2015) just finished up. Typically everyone is super excited about what they learned at their local NodeBots Day. However, we aren't that good at channelling all this newfound excitement back into the NodeBots Community. I would like to help change that.

There are a lot of people that care deeply about NodeBots and are working very hard to make everything as awesome as possible. They do a wonderful job, people like Rick Waldron, Chris Williams, David Resseguie, Kassandra Perch, Donovan Buck, Luis Montes, AJ Fisher, Suz Hinton, Julián Duque, Raquel Vélez, etc. The list could go on a lot longer, and that's where I think we can harness your new found excitement about NodeBots. We are a community, we are only as strong as the people that make us up. And it is a community of "We" for sure.

Whether you are new to NodeBots or veteran, you can help build this community even more. Experiment with new combinations of sensors and outputs, explore the documentation to figure out how something works, ask questions of those you met at NodeBots Day, join the Gitter channel for Johnny-Five. As the old adage goes, there are no dumb questions. Help others with things you've learned, be a mentor, be a part of the community. If you find yourself wanting to help out, but don't know how to get involved, here's how I got involved.

I was introduced to NodeBots by a co-worker after they had attended a conference. I went to my first NodeBots day, and from the starter kit I got at it I started to experiment. I found out that some of the things I wanted to do lacked examples, so I created one. I created my first public Github Pull Request to an open source project because of NodeBots. I build websites for a living, I don't know much about resistors, transistors, hardware, drivers, etc., but there were some things that I did know and were fairly low barrier to entry. I knew how to update node modules, so I updated the ones that Johnny-Five was using. I knew how to write CSS, HTML, and JS so I started fixing some outstanding issues on the Johnny Five website. I updated bad links in the documentation, fixed spelling mistakes, and added some components to the supported list, because I was using them and they worked. I even created some examples for some of the related libraries that I was using with Johnny-Five. None of these things were super technical, but I got multiple thank you's from the community and library maintainers. It helps to pave the way for others to learn about or produce new things.

I know that these are small tasks that just about anyone can do. I was scared to death about that first pull request. Scared that I somehow didn't know what I was talking about, scared that my example was all wrong. I know as a new contributor to an open source project people feel that way. Just know that others are out there and have gone through the same things.

Luckily, NodeBots has a great supportive world wide community. You can see this by the sheer number of NodeBots Day events that have shown up throughout the world. There is almost always someone reading and responding in the Johnny-Five gitter channel. Ask your questions, if you don't feel like you belong ping someone you do feel comfortable asking. I hound the person who introduced me to NodeBots to this day about things that I feel silly asking about in a wider audience.

Through my interactions with this community, I've met a great number people at conferences, multiple NodeBots Days, Twitter, Google Hangouts, etc. It's great to know that there are kindred spirits out there that like and do the same things that I do. I hope that you find and have the same experience that I have had. Be a part of our community.

Ray Pierce

Web Developer, RetailMeNot, Mentor, NodeBot builder, Texan

Austin, TX Ya'll
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