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Flying to a different country to meet open source contributor

About two years ago, I made my first contribution to the open source. Back then, I had no idea that one single commit to a brand new project could turn my career for 180 degrees. In the early days, it was just a fun little side-project that I thought would look good on my resume. One day after a successful launch that got us nearly 1000 GitHub stars, I jokingly said to the Angelos, the original creator, that I would buy a plane ticket to meet him once we reach 50.000 stars. We both knew it was impossible.

Fast forward two years, I am writing this blog post on my flight back from Greece. That single side-project turned to be the 6th fastest growing open source project on GitHub in the previous year, got more than 50.000 GitHub stars, and, most importantly, started a popular series of educational repositories used by thousands of developers every day. We planned nothing of that - it kind of happened as an accident.

We passed the major milestone a few days before my trip to San Francisco, where I spoke at GitHub Universe about organization Angelos, and I co-founded on a mission to provide free educational material to all developers.

At first, the idea of blowing several hundred dollars to fly to another country for three days to meet open source maintainer seemed ridiculous. Still, once I experienced the notoriously expensive San Francisco, everything was less dramatic. After short planning, I got the plane ticket to Greece and a 3-night stay at one very cozy Airbnb.

Eating burgers with Angelos in Greece

I landed on Thursday evening at the ATH airport and immediately jumped on a subway since I planned to meet the maintainer for a quick dinner and casual chat. It was nice being able to chat face-to-face with somebody you worked with for the past two years. Right after the dinner, we didn't want to lose any more of my 72 hours and jumped to the nearby cafe to plan organization OKR's for 2020. One of the OKR's for Q1 was to be more present on social media, and therefore we decided to spend one day of my stay coding a social bot to take care of that.

The next day was a very active one. Angelos had to go to work on Friday, and I had a whole day to experience ancient Athens on my own. I was fortunate because, during all other days, the rain was pouring non-stop. I took a walk to the Acropolis of Athens and enjoyed lovely seafood throughout the day.

Saturday was the day we originally planned to spend together and code something for our little organization together. Considering our OKR plans that we put together the day before, we decided to code a social media bot. We started the day by meeting at the central subway station and getting to Angelos's favorite cafe while he was still studying. The plan was very straightforward. We wanted to make a bot that is going to tweet a fancy picture of a random snippet from our codebase to the organization's Twitter account.

A more detailed blog post will be coming in early 2020, but in a nutshell, we used Google's Puppeteer to scrape snippets and apply fancy images from Unsplash as their backgrounds. Once we had the image, we used Twitter's API to post it once a day using GitHub Actions.

We managed to get it working after a full day of work, and it felt fantastic receiving Twitter notification from the bot that knew to publish things on its own. If you'd like to check the tweets out, you can find the work on our official twitter account.

The trip was shortly over as I had my flight in the morning the next day. It was one of the coolest experiences I had in my career. Kudos to Angelos for organizing such a trip and planning those 72 hours so well and to GitHub for making a platform that connects people with code.

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to continue to follow the tech journey of a 20-year-old, be sure to follow me on twitter @fejes713 as I will be writing a lot in 2020.