How to get started helping out in the curl project
We are always in need of more help. If you are new to the project and are looking for ways to contribute and help out, this document aims to give a few good starting points.
Scratch your own itch
One of the best ways is to start working on any problems or issues you have found yourself or perhaps got annoyed at in the past. It can be a spelling error in an error text or a weirdly phrased section in a man page. Hunt it down and report the bug. Or make your first pull request with a fix for that.
Some projects mark small issues as "beginner friendly", "bite-sized" or similar. We do not do that in curl since such issues never linger around long enough. Simple issues get handled fast.
If you are looking for a smaller or simpler task in the project to help out with as an entry-point into the project, perhaps because you are a newcomer or even maybe not a terribly experienced developer, here's our advice:
- Read through this document to get a grasp on a general approach to use
- Consider adding a test case for something not currently tested (correctly)
- Consider updating or adding documentation
- One way to get started gently in the project, is to participate in an existing issue/PR and help out by reproducing the issue, review the code in the PR etc.
In the issue tracker we occasionally mark bugs with help wanted, as a sign that the bug is acknowledged to exist and that there is nobody known to work on this issue for the moment. Those are bugs that are fine to "grab" and provide a pull request for. The complexity level of these will of course vary, so pick one that piques your interest.
Work on known bugs
Some bugs are known and have not yet received attention and work enough to get fixed. We collect such known existing flaws in the KNOWN_BUGS page. Many of them link to the original bug report with some additional details, but some may also have aged a bit and may require some verification that the bug still exists in the same way and that what was said about it in the past is still valid.
Fix autobuild problems
On the autobuilds page we show a collection of test results from the automatic curl build and tests that are performed by volunteers. Fixing compiler warnings and errors shown there is something we value greatly. Also, if you own or run systems or architectures that are not already tested in the autobuilds, we also appreciate more volunteers running builds automatically to help us keep curl portable.
Ideas for features and functions that we have considered worthwhile to implement and provide are kept in the TODO file. Some of the ideas are rough. Some are well thought out. Some probably are not really suitable anymore.
Before you invest a lot of time on a TODO item, do bring it up for discussion on the mailing list. For discussion on applicability but also for ideas and brainstorming on specific ways to do the implementation etc.
You can also come up with a completely new thing you think we should do. Or not do. Or fix. Or add to the project. You then either bring it to the mailing list first to see if people will shoot down the idea at once, or you bring a first draft of the idea as a pull request and take the discussion there around the specific implementation. Either way is fine.
We offer guidelines that are suitable to be familiar with before you decide to contribute to curl. If you are used to open source development, you will probably not find many surprises there.