The OpenMRS Community, circa 2013
Now that you understand the basics of OpenMRS development, you can do a lot or you can do a little. How deep you dive into the OpenMRS community is up to you! Keep in mind that someone may want to pick up your work where you leave off, so be sure to document everything as you go along.
Finding JIRA issues
If you don't know where to begin putting your development skills to good use, start with JIRA's Issue Navigator to view Introductory Issues. These are Ready for Work and have been deemed the right amount of complexity for a new OpenMRS developer.
Read http://go.openmrs.org/newdev-start for introductory issues and other tips on getting started working with JIRA issues.
Community development swim lane
The "Community Development" swim lane has two objectives. The first is working on high-priority bugs and long-standing issues, and the second is providing accessible mentorship to new developers. There are always experienced developers leading this swim lane. This leadership role entails serving as a mentor to new developers, including guidance on anything from which introductory issues the new developer should choose to helping with troubleshooting as you work on those issues, or providing tips for your own OpenMRS-related projects. To help you find this person, read our Wiki page on the community development swim lane and calendar at http://go.openmrs.org/newdev-swimlane.
See if there is an official mentoring program coming up. OpenMRS is one of many open source projects that has successfully participated in Google Summer of Code for students and FOSS Outreach Program for Women. Prospective interns for these programs apply to participate via project proposal. OpenMRS provides many suggestions for possible project proposals. Successful project proposals are matched with an experienced community mentor who will serve as a guide for the project through out the program timeline, usually the summer. For more information, visit these programs' web sites.
- Google Summer of Code (GSoC): http://www.google-melange.com/
- Outreach Program for Women (OPW): https://wiki.gnome.org/OutreachProgramForWomen
Community gatherings online
The weekly online Developers Forum and OpenMRS University meetings are great places to learn, as well as share. When you make significant progress on a project, volunteer to present your work on one of these calls. That may seem scary now, but you are among friends. Hopefully you are working on a project that will be used in implementations. That makes it interesting to others in the community.
For more information on these meetings, see: http://go.openmrs.org/newdev-weekly
Community gatherings around the world
The annual Implementers Meeting began in 2006 as a way to bring members of the community together during a dedicated amount of time to collaborate, share implementation experiences, and find ways to improve OpenMRS. Developers are welcome to attend and may even apply for financial assistance.
People from OpenMRS regularly participate in other open source and eHealth conferences as well, and even organize their own local meet up events such as hackathons. These can be great opportunities to meet other members of the community, talk about OpenMRS, and form lasting relationships.
These events are usually announced on the OpenMRS developers mailing lists, so be sure you're subscribed to learn about them and share your own.
One simple way for you to contribute right now is to give us feedback on this book! Anything you have to say will be helpful to us, so please fill out our brief survey: http://go.openmrs.org/newdev-survey.