To showcase the journeys of first-time contributors, we reached out to individuals from Apache Software Foundation (ASF) projects to learn about their initial tasks and contributions. In this #FirstASFContribution Campaign blog post, we highlight three ASF community members who have committed their time to improving technical documentation for the Apache APISIX, Apache Camel, and Apache HTTP Server communities.
Technical documentation enables open source software users to understand and utilize the software effectively, reducing the learning curve and making it accessible to a wider audience. Clear and comprehensive documentation also fosters collaboration within the open source community, as it allows developers to work together efficiently, understand the project’s structure, and contribute effectively. Documentation also serves as a reference point for troubleshooting and debugging, helping users and developers resolve issues and improve the software.
Contributors who help improve upon technical documentation also help ensure a project’s longevity and sustainability, making it easier for new contributors to get involved and maintain the software over time.
Zhiyuan Ju – Apache APISIX
Since 2019, Zhiyuan JuI has been helping maintain Apache APISIX as well as its cloud native API Management based on LuaJIT and OpenResty. His contributions include code, community relations, and technical documentation. Since joining the APISIX community, Zhiyuan has communicated with more than 400 community users (individual and enterprise users), contributors, advocates, and others to help build community but to also collect feedback from users. He has used the feedback collected to help make technical improvements to the code as well as update documentation available for users. He is grateful for being able to collaborate with community members like Ming Wen.
Mateus Alexandre – Apache Camel
Mateus Alexandre recognized that most of the technical content and documentation for the Apache Camel community was created in English, and he wanted to make some of the content available in Portuguese. While he was creating a video series for the Camel community in Portuguese, he found some invalid links in the documentation and example projects, which ultimately became his first contribution to the Apache Camel project. Today Mateus contributes to Apache Camel in many ways: code, documentation, and video tutorials. He gives a special thanks to Andrea Cosentino, PMC Chair for Apache Camel, for his collaboration and support.
Daniel Gruno – Apache HTTP Server (httpd)
In March 2012, Daniel Gruno started experimenting with an innovative module for httpd. Despite having used httpd since the late 1990s, Daniel had never actively engaged with the community. But when Rich Bowen, a prominent figure in the HTTP Server project and an Apache Software Foundation Board Member, noticed Daniel’s work, he encouraged him to become more involved in the project. This friendly nudge led Daniel to begin proofreading the documentation, addressing issues like broken links and inaccuracies, thereby enhancing the overall quality of the project’s resources.
The Community Over Code Ethos
The experiences of these first-time contributors exemplify the “community over code” ethos deeply embedded in ASF’s open source communities. Their work illustrates how contributions come from a diverse range of individuals and how good documentation helps ensure the long-term stability of ASF projects. We applaud the collective efforts of these contributors and recognize that the open source community’s strength lies in collaboration and support.