My open source journey

Wrap Up blog post(from good to great) :)

I can’t believe three months went by like three days. It’s the last week of my Outreachy internship @GNOME and there is so much to say. For easy readability, this blog post will have five sections fear, growth, accomplishments, future plans and conclusion.


When I first looked at the issues to be completed within the course of the internship, I was scared of not being able to complete any by the end.


One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth

Adding code to any project involves having basic code review skills. This internship helped me look at JavaScript code at least daily helping me write more readable and maintainable code.

All of this would have been more challenging without assistance from my mentor Philip Chimento who was very supportive along the way. He

  • always answered the questions I asked as soon as possible taking out time to give detailed explanations
  • encouraged me to stay positive and optimistic at all times
  • gave me space and time to experiment with the project
  • helped setting up informal career chats with people who had experience contributing to open source (this was the most amazing experience I had during this internship)
  • gave me a lot of career advice

Confidence is key in whatever we set out to do.My Outreachy internship has helped build that confidence and now I am fearless making an open source and free software contribution on any project of interest. How this happened was during the first weeks when I had to do a small code review to know where my own contribution could come in. During this process, what I noticed is the code was nothing different from the basic JavaScript code I came across while going through tutorials online. What was different was just the way the code was structured to improve on readability, maintainability and scalability. This made me realize that I had all I needed to get started and paved the way for other contributions I can and will be made in future.

Communication has never been my strong point but this internship proved me wrong. There is so much I have learnt about being a better verbal communicator. There have also been great improvements on my listening and writing skills. This is probably because I wrote a lot during our Zulip chats and when blogging as well. The meetings with my mentor were verbal and visual and most of the informal chats I had went on with me listening.

Technically speaking, so much has been added to my basket of skills.

  • I now write better JavaScript code
  • I learnt how to write tests for the debugger
  • and I can now review code


So far, I have worked on three issues. In subsequent paragraphs, I will be giving details about my contributions

  1. Adding the “full” option to the backtrace command

Basically, this option helps developers print details about the variables in a given stack frame. More information on this command is found on this blog post

2. Displaying the current line of the source code while printing the current frame.

The first change I made was to print the source code on the line where the debugger was stopped. Before this, you could only see the frame number, the file name, and the line number. This addition helps users figure out where they are in the source without having to keep the file open and cross-reference the line numbers to their editors.This contribution can be found here

Going further, since we were able to load the source code, it was also possible to implement a list command which will help in printing lines from a source file. The current implementation prints five lines before and five lines after the line chosen to give more meaning to this line. The code for this functionality is found here

Lastly, a set color option was added to the set command to let users choose if they wish to be printing with color or not. For now the bold option is available and different color codes will be added in future contributions. See details of this contribution here

3. Verbose Object Print Output

Currently, the interactive prompt prints an object like this [object object]. To workaround this, most people resort to using JSON.stringify(theObject) (which is usually a pain to remember and type) when they want information about the object. [object object] is the default output of the toString() method when called on a plain object, but most interactive environments (like Node.js and the browser console) give you more information than just [object object].With inspiration from Node.js and the need to improve on user experience, it is good to have a pretty print function that prints an object with more information about its property names and their values. The in progress contribution to this effect can be found here in the modules/script/_bootstrap/default.js file


After the pretty print contribution is merged, I will continue working on “Implementing a debug server so that GJS code can be debugged using the Devtools in the Chromium browser” that will be done by first requesting for a meeting with Philip Chimento and also talking with other members of the community so we can discuss on a good way to go about this.


This internship has been an eye opener revealing how much I can do as an individual to improve on the field of software development. GJS is just one of so many projects which needs maintenance and community support. If you are reading this post and wondering if you should contribute to open source, you probably should since it won’t only help the community as a whole but help you improve in particular. To contribute to GJS, follow the guide on this link( and checkout the issues. If you are new to open source, it’s best to take issues tagged newcomer. If you feel that’s not such a good place to start, you can always suggest and create your own issues using the issue tracker.

Thanks for reading…

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