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It’s a couple of weeks old now, but this post from Pedro Piñera stuck with me. He talks about open-source projects, why people work on them, and how the expectations of people who find your code might be unrealistic.

It can feel frustrating to find a project that was abandoned after a few commits, especially if it almost meets your needs, or has a bug that prevents you from using it. It’s the case that most open-source code is in that situation too, but it all has value, and the point that Pedro is making is important. You don’t owe the community anything with your open-source work, or your blog posts, or with anything else you make available online.

Every motivation for publishing code as open-source or writing about something in a blog post is worthwhile, and the things you make don’t need to be perfect to have value. Whether you were curious to play with an API, experimenting with something to scratch your own itch, or trying to explain something that caused you to struggle - It might benefit someone, and if it doesn’t, that’s also OK! Even if you set out to change the world and it didn’t work out, who cares? Who knows if what you published might include something that’ll solve a problem, or be an inspiration to someone? If you get something from it, that’s all that matters, and if you don’t, there’s no need to make it public.

To add a quick note here. I know that people can feel a need to produce open-source work to stand out when applying for engineering roles. That’s a slightly different topic from what I’m talking about here, but I might get into that another day!

Anyway, I want to conclude by saying a big thank you to everyone who ever copied a code snippet into a gist, pushed an open-source repository that never received an update, or wrote a blog post without a conclusion. It’s all valuable. Thank you. 😘

Dave Verwer

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