I am a Principal Software Engineer at Object Computing, Inc. (OCI), and live in the St. Louis, Missouri, USA area. Although I know and regularly use several languages, I've predominantly been programming in Java for the last ten years. I first started using Linux in 1995 and have been a strong advocate of open source software ever since. Perhaps the best example of how I've been active in improving open source software has been my work with the NetBeans Platform. I was very skeptical about the platform at first, but I quickly came to realize that it was the best way to create Java desktop applications and so I set out to try and make it even better. Since 2005 I have written documentation, reported bugs, supplied patches, given presentations and answered questions on the development mailing lists. I won the NetBeans Community Award in 2006 and now serve on the NetBeans DreamTeam and NetBeans Governance Board. Tom has posted 4 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

Announcing the NetBeans "First Patch" Program

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Since every NetBeans IDE user is also a developer, every user has the potential to make NetBeans better.  If you've ever considered contributing code to NetBeans but felt you needed some extra guidance, we'd like to explain the "First Patch" program to you. This program will pair a NetBeans user who has never contributed code with a mentor who volunteers to lead that developer through the process of submitting his or her first patch.

To be clear, this program is aimed at getting through the patch process, not on learning Java or the NetBeans APIs.  You're welcome to find an existing issue to work on or to file a new one, but in any case, the change should be a relatively simple improvement to NetBeans.  The mentor who is assigned to assist you will be able to answer your questions about Mercurial, NetBeans coding standards, testing, patch creation, IssueZilla and verifying the issue after it has been integrated into NetBeans.

As a volunteer, you'll gain experience while making NetBeans better for all who use it. Of course, your resume/CV will probably also benefit from being able to say that you've contributed to one of the most popular open source projects around. But most importantly, you'll be able to give something back to the NetBeans community.

To ensure participants get the attention they deserve, each mentor will work with just one developer, so space is limited. If you're interested in submitting your first patch, or are an experienced contributor who wants to volunteer as a mentor, please contact me (tomwheel@gmail.com) directly and I'll follow up with some more
information in the next several days.

For more information on the First Patch program, see our Wiki page.
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Tom Wheeler.

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