Open Source health information systems provide cost-effective tools for healthcare. Even if you are not a coder, you may be able to contribute to open source projects. As a matter of fact, some open-source projects find it difficult to get volunteers to document and test the code. E-Health enthusiasts from the clinical and management fields often want to contribute to popular open source projects, but do not know how.
Open source projects involve a collaboration of people with various skills, often with no way of physically meeting each other. In a complex software product, even a misplaced comma can break the system. How do open source projects effectively collaborate avoiding such code-breaking mistakes? Well, they use some specialized tools and workflows to manage code, many of which are not familiar to non-programmers. In the next few posts, I will introduce you to the most important tool that coders use; the versioning system. We shall discuss Git (the most popular versioning system), from a non-programmers perspective.
This is not for those who are familiar with Git and we will not be discussing advanced Git usage. Hence, let me state the assumptions that I am making about you as the reader. You have not heard of Git before. You are as scared of code as you are scared of python. When you hear Java, the first thing that comes to your mind is the island in Indonesia. You don’t know what ‘typing on the command line’ means. But you own a computer, know how to download and install programs, know how to navigate the web, wants to learn more about contributing to open-source projects and above all want to help save lives especially in resource-deprived areas. Watch the video below for inspiration.
At the end of this journey, you will know how to follow open-source projects and make minor code contributions. This might initiate you into learning computer programming, but that is not my intention. You might even win a free T-Shirt from DigitalOcean. If you are ready to jump right in, follow the steps here: http://wiki.canehealth.com/index.php/GIT:_First_Steps_(Creating_GitHub_Account_and_Downloading_SourceTree)