Contributing to open source

For the longest time I was annoyed by a small design bug when using the Jetpack┬áplugin for WordPress. It really wasn’t much and probably speaks to my OCD more than anything but here it is…

Screenshot showing-design bug in jetpack

It’s probably too small to notice but the visual stats graph that’s displayed in the admin bar didn’t sit flush like the rest of it’s sibling links it was 4px too short, once or twice i’d misclick the link so it was a small accessibility bug as well.

I when developing sites that used this plugin, I often thought it was code I’d written that messed up the link so I did a little digging around to find that some inline styling had it 4px too short of the 32px height of the wp-admin bar. Then I remembered that the wp-admin used to be 28px tall, so I figured the styling just got missed and was never updated. So I forked the repo on GitHub, fixed it and submitted a pull request.

A tremendously satisfying feeling when a tiny amount code you wrote gets deployed to millions of active installs. I can imagine it being quite addictive.

I got me thinking about open source and how every little helps, I probably know of many little design inconsistency or wish something worked slightly differently but I’d never think to make the changes myself. I’m guessing I’m not the only one but imagine how quickly things would progress if 10,000 other tiny bits of code / design changes / bugs squashed just as small as the one I did, it would amount to alot and leave the real eggheads to get on with the bigger fish that need frying.