Name: Rachel Breeze
Job title: Senior Web Developer
Has been working with Umbraco: Since 2013
Rachel shares here how she goes about contributing to the Umbraco project in a set of answers covering:
What type of contributions to the Umbraco project are you involved in?
I have made contributions to Umbraco 7 and Umbraco 8 core. I’ve written for Skrift and for 24 days and had planned to talk at Codegarden2020. I am also a member of the Umbraco Manchester Meetup Admin Team and part of the Back Office Accessibility Community team.
What motivates you to contribute?
There are many reasons to contribute, from working with a friendly community to learning a new technology and other development approaches. Umbraco is a great product and used by so many people, and one of the motivations for helping with accessibility is to enable everyone to work with Umbraco.
Other motivations for me are just fixing a bug. Lotte summed it up perfectly on the CandidContributions Podcast: “at the point you find a bug you are the person who knows the most about it so why not try and fix it”.
I’ve only just started helping with the Manchester Meetup, but I am motivated here to help build on the work already done with the Manchester area, building a community and sharing knowledge within both the Umbraco community and the wider community.
How much time do you dedicate to contributing?
Contributing can take many forms, so this is very hard to timebox! It’s possible to help people and share ideas on Slack or Twitter (people who know me know that it can take me a whole day to write a tweet).
When preparing for a talk I tend to use the rule of thumb of 1 hour of preparation for one minute of a talk. For contributions to the core, it really does depend on the contribution, I am a C# developer so I suspect that I am taking slightly longer over front end PRs than front end developers can, but as a guide I plan about half an hour to get my laptop up and working with the latest code base for v8 before I can start development.
How do you manage your contribution time?
When deciding if to start on a PR to the core I try and size it to work out if there is time to work on it, just as I would if I was working on a development piece for work. If it’s too big I break it down into smaller chunks. I have been advised that if it’s really big it’s probably worth running a feature request first!
I really enjoy the dedicated time that Hackathons provide; my first ever PR was made with Carole and Sven at UmbracoUKFest in 2016. Joining the Umbraco UKfest hackathons and Candid Contributions Virtual hackathon is a great way to meet people from the Umbraco community, make friends, get support, have fun and make space for PRs if feeling a bit busy with life.
It is also very important to look after your mental health, so I will take a break from using a computer outside of work hours if I need to make space for a breather.
Are there productivity tools that you use and that you can recommend to (new) contributors to the project?
In all honesty, if you want to do the odd thing here and there. If you want to help out with the odd PR, HQ mark up issues as up for grabs. Do check on your GitHub notification settings.
The need for a productivity tool probably arises if you have a lot on the go and want to keep track of the items. Here tools like Trello or Todoist work really well.
Work with the Accessibility Team
How were you able to get started with the team?
I responded to Mike Massey’s request for to help build a team making Umbraco more A11Y, the request was made just before Codegarden2019
How are the tasks organized between the team members?
Danny Lancaster performs most of the accessibility testing, the latest list of issues can be found here. We will also add issues when we spot them. Anyone is welcome to work on an issue, they just assign themselves to the ticket to indicate they’ve picked it up.
How much time do you allocate to the team?
As a team, we do the accessibility work in our free time.
What advice do you have to someone interested in joining a Community Team?
Do it! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a great way to collaborate with people you wouldn’t normally work with, make friends, whilst sharing skills and working on a great CMS.