One of approaches to learn a new programming language is learning by doing. When the target language is Ruby/Rails then there are many open source Ruby/Rails projects that may need contributions. As a long time ASP.NET MVC developer, diving into a Ruby/Rails project must not be a very hard work. One of good resources to find active open source projects that needs contribution is Github but a faster way is CodeTriage. It helps finding projects simpler and faster.
For a person like me there is some considerations to select a project for more investigating:
- Prior familiarity with the field. I have backgrounds in developing software in categories of ERP, CRM, MIS, Accounting, CMS and Trouble Ticket systems.
- Being a user of the software. For example Redmine is a plus for me because I’m currently using it as an issue tracking system.
- Possibility of making money from the project. It include consulting services, localizations, custom developments, etc.
- More people will benefit it. No doubt a music playing or photographing software is good for people too. But I think there are some other areas that have better impact on people. For example if a software or system can reduce traffic jam in cities or helps NGOs fighting poverty that will be more desirable.
- Project characteristics. A project with high technical standards and welcoming people is always a good project to deal with.
With these consideration in mind I picked 4 primary projects from CodeTriage.
- Ekylibre, Simple ERP for little enterprises. Developing mainly by European folks.
- Fat Free CRM, Ruby on Rails CRM platform for Web 2.0 and beyond
- Loomio, an open-source web application that helps groups make better decisions together. Developing mainly by New Zealander folks.
- Grow Stuff, Open data project for small-scale food growers.
Among them, FatFreeCRM is most popular and active project. It has 2636 stars, total number of 183 pull request and 83 contributors. It also has 988 forks. Contribution in FatFreeCRM in addition to learning Ruby/Rails can help making money as it is a demand software in business. GrowStuff seems as a suitable project too. Despite it is not used in businesses as much as FatFreeCRM, it has a welcoming community. 635 total pull requests, 52 contributors and 201 total issues shows its diverse community of contributors.