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Check your project for common sources of contributor friction.
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Check your project for common sources of contributor friction.


Run flint from your project root to check for some common ways to improve the experience for potential contributors. Here's the output for a blank folder to show the full gamut of suggestions:

❯ flint
[ERROR] README not found
[FIXME] Every project begins with a README.
[ERROR] License file not found
[FIXME] Add a license to protect yourself and your users.
[WARNING] Contributing guide not found
[FIXME] Add a CONTRIBUTING guide for potential contributors.
[WARNING] Bootstrap script not found
[FIXME] A bootstrap script makes setup a snap.
[CRITICAL] Some critical problems found. Please fix right away!

You can also run this in older projects which were created by lazy you, or by younger, less wise you.

Passing the -h flag will show full usage options:

❯ flint -h
   flint - Check a project for common sources of contributor friction

   flint [global options] command [command options] [arguments...]


   help, h  Shows a list of commands or help for one command

   --skip-readme    skip check for README
   --skip-contributing  skip check for contributing guide
   --skip-license   skip check for license
   --skip-bootstrap skip check for bootstrap script
   --skip-test      skip check for test script
   --skip-scripts   skip check for all scripts
   --version, -v    print the version
   --help, -h       show help


If you want people to use and contribute to your project, you need to start by answering their most basic questions. Flint is a command line script that will check your project for common answers to these questions.

What is this?

Since it is so important, GitHub founder Tom Preston-Werner suggests you should write the README before you write a single line of code. A well crafted README includes:

  • A description of problems your project solves.
  • The philosophy behind your project.
  • Basic usage and getting started instructions.
  • A list of comparable projects that inspired yours or would be suitable alternatives.

How am I allowed to use it?

Providing the source to your project isn't enough. While you don't have to provide a license, doing so will make it clear to users and potential contributors how they can legally use your software and what happens to contributions they make. Choose A License can help you pick the right license for your project.

How do I contribute?

You'll want to tell folks about your development workflow so they'll know how to submit patches for bugfixes and new features. When you add CONTRIBUTING guidelines to your project, GitHub will make those available at the top of every new Pull Request screen.

How do I get up and running in development?

A bootstrap script is a thoughtful way to let new users (and future versions of yourself on new hardware) get up and running quickly. A good bootstrap script detects and installs all project dependencies. Don't make your less technical users learn devops. Make it as easy as running script/bootstrap.

How do I make sure my new features didn't break old functionality?

Good software projects have test suites that ensure the code works as advertised. Even within language communities, there can be a myriad of test frameworks. You can make it easy to run the test suite with a platform agnostic script/test executable.



Copyright 2014 Wynn Netherland.

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