Advice for newbie coder

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Srikanth Raju

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Mar 5, 2009, 10:07:29 AM3/5/09
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Hey,
I'm a noob when it comes to big development(anything in the real
world). I know C,C++, Java ,PHP, MySQL, Flex, etc etc. I'm a college
junior.

I found a project I liked. Got the source, couldn't understand a
thing! Joined the lists, lurked the IRC, compiled the source and BAM.
The project guys say "Implement some feature". Is it just me, or is
everyone faced with no clue what exactly you want to do?

Any suggestions on how to should go about learning a HUGE pile of code
(I've read the documentation, but code is something else), working on
some patches and small features to prove to them project admins that I
can do something?

Abel Muiño

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Mar 5, 2009, 11:04:03 AM3/5/09
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Most projects have a bug tracker with things that don't work or need improvement.
Start by picking one and reproducing it. I would suggest something that has debugging information (like an stacktrace). Once you can see the problem, locate the failing code and start looking for errors... and fixing them.

(It might not always be so trivial... if you get swamped, move to a different bug).
--
Abel Muiño - http://ramblingabout.wordpress.com/

Shantanu Tushar Jha

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Mar 5, 2009, 11:13:22 AM3/5/09
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It takes time, but trust mr
--
Shantanu Tushar
http://www.shantanutushar.com

Shantanu Tushar Jha

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Mar 5, 2009, 11:14:09 AM3/5/09
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It takes time, but trust me, its not that difficult. I too had same difficulties, but eventually as you work and try to understand, things get clear. All the best :)

Eric Weddington

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Mar 5, 2009, 10:47:02 AM3/5/09
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On Mar 5, 8:07 am, Srikanth Raju <srikir...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Any suggestions on how to should go about learning a HUGE pile of code
> (I've read the documentation, but code is something else), working on
> some patches and small features to prove to them project admins that I
> can do something?

I've found that working on a bug from a bug list is one of the best
ways to get started. See what the current bugs are and pick one that
seems like it's reachable to you. Start off by trying to reproduce the
bug. That in itself is a big help. If it is not documented how to
reproduce, be sure to document the steps. Then see if you can find the
cause of the bug in the source code. This gets you into the guts of
the code and you learn a lot just by poking around. If you find the
cause of the bug, be sure to document that in the bug tracker. Then
see if you can fix the bug by changing the code. If you discovered you
can fix the bug, then learn how to produce a patch of your changes to
the source code. Submit that patch to the bug tracker. Be sure to keep
notifying the admins/developers to include your patch that fixes the
bug.

Fixing known bugs is a big help to a project and the admins/
developers. It develops many skills and you'll learn the code base a
little at a time as you do it.

Eric Weddington
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