January 23, 2019


I often use open-source projects, evidently since you are on a gatsby website, so I try to contribute as much as I can to this community.

I can see that making my own libraries isn’t always going to help others, due to visibility and other alternatives, I’ll probably keep on doing it but I had an urge to show more “appreciation” to the popular OSS projects I was using.


For myself, this was the apollo-group. I work with graphql a lot and I really enjoy how much easier life is when using graphql together with the apollo libraries.

My first contributions were pretty small, minor bugfixes and feature requests.

Later this evolved to overhauling the more “primitive” build setup, which only made a umd build. I ended up removing the browser field because sites like unpkg don’t need this to know where to find the umd build, made a cjs build for the main field and a es5 bundle for the module field. This es5 module bundle ensures that modern bundlers can tree-shake and thus reducing the bundle-size when certain parts are unused.

Recently I’ve started to try a bit bigger, that’s when I saw an issue on the apollo-link repository about the CI being stuck, it’s worth noting that this is a monorepo of 10+ projects.

Since I didn’t have that much experience I started diving into the CircleCI documentation and trying to optimise this CI process as much as I could (Also worth noting that the apollo-client repo was optimised and served as a good example). The initial issue was more a misconfiguration since forked repo’s weren’t triggering builds but still, caching dependencies was happening in an inefficient manner.

The build used to include a seperate step for every library in the monorepo, my perception was that this was causing some delays. That’s why I reduced this all to one single step named monorepo. Which compiles, tests and reports the status of all subrepo’s.

The better caching was done through the package-locks, which gave a funny result after it was merged since well yes… I lead in additions for the repo now after one squashed commit.

Screenshot showing additions after PR


This part is a bit more general. If you want to help out in OSS, please report issues you are having and if you find the time, make a reproduction. You can’t even begin to imagine how much you are helping out just by doing that. Reproducing a bug is worth its weight in gold.

If you find some documentation unclear and you figure it out yourself, at that point you are THE BEST person to suggest changes to the documentation. That’s why it’s good for you to make that clear in an issue or try to do so yourself.

I hope this post motivates some people to help out in a repo by submitting an issue with reproduction or whatever they feel like will help out!

Jovi De Croock

Written by Jovi De Croock who lives and works in Belgium building mainly in React(-native) and Node.js.