Contributors wanted

It’s common knowledge that any open source project wouldn’t mind having more contributors and Tox is not an exception. This blog post is for those who want to contribute but don’t know where to start.

Starting contributing to Tox is as easy as joining #toktok channel on Freenode IRC, which is where majority of the development discussion takes place, and asking what part of Tox would benefit the most given your skill set and interests, unless you already have an idea which part of Tox you would like to help with. Just note that it might take some time for you to get a reply as not everyone is always in the chat, so please be patient. Many Tox developers and community members are connected to the chat 24/7 but get on it only in their free time. Mailing list might sound more appropriate for such possibly asynchronous discussions, and we do have a mailing list, but it doesn’t seem to catch on among developers much, so you will get better response on IRC.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things you could help with, just to give an idea.

Non-programming

You don’t have to know programming in order to help. You can help by testing nightly builds of clients and translating clients to different languages.

Testing clients

You can help by testing nightly builds of Tox clients, the in-development, yet to be released, versions of clients, and reporting any problems you encounter to the developers. Testing nightly builds can help to find bugs and get them fixed before a release is made. Some clients don’t have nightly builds available for testing, or they do but they are not well maintained and might be broken. If this is the case for a client you want to test, simply asking developers for nightlies should resolve this issue. Also, even if the client you test is non-nightly, your testing is still useful. Just make sure that you are testing the latest release version of the client, as any issues you encounter might have been fixed in a newer version. You can get a client to test from the Download page of our website. You can provide feedback to the client developers by opening an issue in the client’s issue tracker, which is generally located on the client’s repository page. When reporting feedback, especially bugs, is a good idea to provide as much information to the developers as possible: operating system you are running and the version of it, the version of the Tox client you are running, exact steps on to how to reproduce the issue you are having and what you have expected to happen instead when you took those steps.

Translating clients

Some of the clients support multiple languages in their user interface, you can help translate the user interface to any language you know and correct existing translations if you find them unsatisfactory.

Here are links for some of clients:

Programming-related

Software development

Anyone with programming background is welcome, as we have quite diverse codebases. We could use help of people familiar with any of C, C++, Go, Haskell, Java, Python, Rust, Scala, Swift and other. Familiarity with networking, peer-to-peer software design, distributed hash table, cryptography and writing secure code is preferred, but not required for all of the codebases we have. You can help with an existing software project or start a new project of your own that would be useful to Tox. Also, you don’t have to write code to contribute. Reviewing the code that is considered for merging into the codebase is also a great way to help.

Website development

We are in need of a website developer/designer or anyone familiar with HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Jinja 2 templates and Python. The person currently maintaining the website is more of a C++ developer than a web developer, so while they keep the information on the website up-to-date, doing more involved changes, like changing the page layout, is something that is hard for them. The Tox website doesn’t use anything fancy, we try to keep it as simple as possible: it’s a static page website which uses Jinja2 template engine and Python for page generation. We limit the use of JavaScript to the point that the website is perfectly functional without it while enabling it adds optional enhancements.

Packaging

We are in need of package maintainers (to the point that we don’t have packages for Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful) at all), anyone familiar with shell scripting, building software, debugging and fixing failed builds and creating packages is welcome. We maintain Debian and Ubuntu package repositories, with packages being created using pbuilder, so familiarity with pbuilder helps.

Join #toktok and become a contributor today!

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