How to Contribute to React Open Source Projects

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Open source software has revolutionized the way we build and use software. It has brought together a global community of developers, designers, and enthusiasts who collaborate on projects that are freely available to anyone. React, developed and maintained by Meta (formerly Facebook), is one of the most popular open source JavaScript libraries for building user interfaces. Contributing to React is not only a great way to give back to the community but also a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow as a developer. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of contributing to open source React.

Why Contribute to Open Source?

Before we dive into the specifics of contributing to React, let’s briefly discuss why open source contributions are valuable:

  1. Skill Enhancement: Contributing to open source projects allows you to gain practical experience and improve your coding skills. You can work on real-world projects and learn from experienced developers.
  2. Community Building: Open source communities are diverse and welcoming. By contributing, you become part of a global network of like-minded individuals who are passionate about technology.
  3. Resume Booster: Many employers value open source contributions. Listing your contributions on your resume can make you stand out to potential employers and increase your chances of landing a job. To learn more about how to get a React job visit here.
  4. Giving Back: Open source projects often rely on volunteers to thrive. By contributing, you’re giving back to the community that has likely provided you with countless free tools and libraries.

Getting Started with React

If you’re new to React, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the library and its ecosystem before diving into contributions. Here’s a quick guide to getting started:

  1. Learn React: Start by going through the official React documentation and tutorials. Make sure you have a solid understanding of React’s core concepts, such as components, props, and state.
  2. Set Up Your Development Environment: You’ll need a code editor, Node.js, and npm (Node Package Manager) installed on your system. Create a React application using Create React App to practice and experiment.
  3. Explore React Ecosystem: React has a vast ecosystem of libraries and tools. Explore popular packages like React Router, Redux, React Query, and Styled Components, as these are often used in real-world projects.

A lot of modern React applications tend to utilize Typescript.

Typescript is a superset of Javascript and it offers static-typing capabilities similar to languages like Java and C#. To learn more about Typescript visit here.

Finding the Right Project

Once you’re comfortable with React, it’s time to find a project to contribute to. React has a vibrant open source community with numerous projects and repositories. Here’s how you can identify the right project for you:

  1. Official React Repository: Start by exploring the official React repository on GitHub. It’s a great place to get involved and make significant contributions.
  2. GitHub Topics: Use GitHub’s Topics feature to find React-related projects. You can find topics like “react,” “react-components,” or “react-apps” to discover interesting repositories.
  3. Issue Tracker: Most open source projects maintain an issue tracker where you can find bugs, feature requests, and issues tagged as “good first issue” or “beginner-friendly.” These are excellent places to start.
  4. Community Forums: Join React’s community forums and mailing lists to connect with other developers and get recommendations on projects that need contributions.

Making Your First Contribution

Contributing to an open source project can be intimidating at first, but remember that every open source developer started somewhere. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your first contribution to React:

1. Set Up Your Development Environment

Before you start coding, you need to set up your development environment. Follow these steps:

  • Fork the Repository: Click the “Fork” button on the GitHub repository of the project you want to contribute to. This will create a copy of the repository under your GitHub account.
  • Clone the Repository: Use git clone to download your forked repository to your local machine.
  • Install Dependencies: Navigate to the project directory and run npm install or yarn install to install the project’s dependencies.

2. Choose an Issue

Go to the project’s issue tracker and look for an issue that interests you and matches your skills. Start with issues labeled as “good first issue” or “beginner-friendly” as they are usually more manageable for newcomers.

3. Create a Branch

Before you start working on the issue, create a new branch for your changes. Use a descriptive branch name like fix-issue-123 or feature-xyz.

git checkout -b your-branch-name

4. Write Code and Tests

Now, it’s time to write code to address the issue. Follow the project’s coding guidelines and make sure to write tests for your code if required. This ensures that your changes won’t introduce new issues. To learn more about testing in React visit this article.

5. Commit Your Changes

Commit your changes with a clear and concise message that describes what you’ve done.

git commit -m "Fix issue #123: Description of your changes"

6. Push Your Changes

Push your changes to your forked repository on GitHub.

git push origin your-branch-name

7. Create a Pull Request (PR)

Go to the original project’s GitHub repository and click on the “New Pull Request” button. GitHub will guide you through the process of creating a pull request. Make sure to provide a detailed description of your changes.

8. Review and Collaboration

Your pull request will be reviewed by the project maintainers and other contributors. Be open to feedback and willing to make changes as requested. Collaboration is a key part of open source development.

9. Celebrate Your Contribution

Once your pull request is accepted and merged, you’ve officially made your first contribution to open source React! Celebrate your accomplishment and look for more opportunities to contribute.

Tips for Successful Contributions

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you embark on your open source journey with React:

  • Be Patient: Open source contributions may take time, and not all your pull requests will be accepted immediately. Be patient and persistent.
  • Communicate: If you have questions or need guidance, don’t hesitate to ask for help on the project’s communication channels, such as Slack, Discord, or mailing lists.
  • Follow Coding Standards: Stick to the coding standards and guidelines of the project you’re contributing to. Consistency is essential. You will usually find the guidelines for contributing in the README section of the repository.
  • Document Your Code: Write clear and concise documentation for your code changes to help others understand your work.
  • Contribute Regularly: Try to make regular contributions to stay engaged with the community and improve your skills continually.


Contributing to the open source React community is a rewarding experience that allows you to give back to the developer community while enhancing your skills and building valuable connections. Remember that open source is about collaboration and community, so don’t be afraid to get involved and make your mark on the React ecosystem.

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Rajae Robinson

Rajae Robinson is a young Software Developer with over 3 years of work experience building websites and mobile apps. He has extensive experience with React.js and Next.js.

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