Open Source Best Practices: Key Documents to Help Welcome New Contributors to Your Project – Security Boulevard

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As part of Sonatype’s partnership with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) for our Security Slam event aimed at helping improve security of open source projects, we created a series of blog posts on best practices for open source maintainers.

Here in the first post of the series, we focus on the basics of good documentation to attract new contributors and lower the barriers to contribution.
So, how do you instantly show the ease-of-use and immediate applicability of what you built? 
Better documentation.
You can find similar sentiments in articles like this one from the New York Times, where they posit that “one of the biggest pitfalls for open source projects is a lack of documentation.” 
Your project probably makes sense to you. It’s a solution to a problem that needs to be solved. So you parsed out the pieces and assembled a tool that’s freely accessible and empirically useful. But prospective users did not witness your linear progression of problem solving. They heard about it, read about it, or stumbled upon it, and now they’re at your repository and need to deduce its value without any roadblocks in a matter of seconds. 
Thankfully, popular formats of documentation exist to serve exactly this purpose for your project. While the capabilities and use cases of open source projects differ widely, the majority of projects contain one or more of the following pieces of content in their repositories.
A project’s README file tells prospective contributors and users what your project is all about. 
Oftentimes the README is the first interaction a user has with your project. Your fellow developers want to solve problems, so a README that contains clear, concise, and necessary information that shows how to get started gives you the best chance of (Read more…)
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Sonatype Blog authored by Aaron Linskens. Read the original post at:
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