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Ask HN: Where to find co-developers for side projects?
42 points by Liberator on June 16, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 46 comments
I'm college student, working as a part-time Java developer. During summer I would like to work on a side project, which includes building a webpage from a scratch. It is not a billion dollar startup idea, in fact, it probably won't be profitable at all, I'm doing it only for fun and to learn new things. The thing is, I don't know anything about webdesign except for some basic html and css and I don't want to spend whole summer learning javascript and responsive design, because it would feel more like a chore to me, when it is supposed to be interesting and fun. I'm looking for a front-end developer (Angular/React/...), who would join me and together we would attempt to create something. No rush, no deadlines, no salaries. So the question is:

Is there a place where can I find people looking for something to work on and expecting nothing, but an experience in return?

EDIT: HN won't let me to reply to all comments, because I am "submitting too fast". I just want to clarify - I don't want someone to make whole webpage for me. I just want to do the classical split between backend (I'll do that) and frontend. That's like how it is done in most of the companies.





That's a great list, thanks!


If you need a frontend developer to realize your idea, become one or change the idea. There are many people who like to code just for fun, but they have plenty of ideas already. In the end time is the most limiting factor for many of us. You have to pick what are you using that time for very carefully.


Kinda want to echo this. There's _so many_ projects that I could participate in, yours would have to be a pretty unique one for me to be interested.

But that being said, it's not impossible. The people I've done 'fun, not for profit' projects with tend to be with friends, but I can see myself getting interested if your project has something that scratches a real itch for me ;)

You could also consider finding 'hack nights' in your city. You might find people there looking for projects.

Or you can decide to pay for work.


This might not be the answer you're looking for, but if you don't already have someone in mind, then you should probably build you side project on your own.

Also, basic html and css is all it takes to build a webpage. (Well, technically you don't even need the CSS...)

JavaScript is definately not required. Responsive CSS is a bit nicer to have to make the website mobile-friendly, but this is all you really need:

    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <style type="text/css">
    * {max-width: 100%}
    </style>

Build with what you know or want to learn, and if someone comes along, great, and if not you should be just fine.


Thats a genius idea for making sure none of the elements goes our of viewport width. I always had this issue that a div has standard border padding, and width:100% pushes its right to out of viewport. Can't wait to try this.

Just few genuine questions, as I am learning, specifically in making static fixed header bars for few of my fun projects.

Does the meta tag in ur comment needs closure(>), or is it something I might have never come across?

Does implying a max-width 100 in percentage means every element gets max 100% of "its" parent element, which can be traced down back to HTML as super parent of all tags, and thus if I could use "vw" viewport width as units instead of %?


> I always had this issue that a div has standard border padding, and width:100% pushes its right to out of viewport.

You likely want `box-sizing: border-box`: https://www.paulirish.com/2012/box-sizing-border-box-ftw/


> I always had this issue that a div has standard border padding, and width:100% pushes its right to out of viewport.

What you probably want, in addition to the max-width, is

    box-sizing: border-box;
Then the border is included in the width calculation.

> Does the meta tag in ur comment needs closure(>), or is it something I might have never come across?

If you're writing XHTML, then you need to end the tag with /> instead of >. But for HTML5, it's valid as is. And browsers get it right either way.

> Does implying a max-width 100 in percentage means every element gets max 100% of "its" parent element, which can be traced down back to HTML as super parent of all tags, and thus if I could use "vw" viewport width as units instead of %?

That's a good question. I'm not familiar with the vw unit, but yea, that sounds basically right.


Yeah, if I don't find anybody, I will try to do it by myself. The backend will be made in Spring and I thought about using some template engine, like Thymeleaf to do the front. But I'd prefer to work with REST APIs.


I'm a long time backend java developer who has always struggled with frontend tech. The situation today is actually pretty nice; with bootstrap (or other) you can get a "decent" looking site with very little effort (ie better than raw html). And if you just want to work with API, there are a few jquery ui base widget libraries around[1] I've used in SPA's before. Good luck!

[1] http://www.jeasyui.com/


If you want to work with REST APIs, it might be good for you to create a SPA application. The easiest thing to start seems to be Vue right now. With vue-cli with it's build command.

https://github.com/vuejs/vue-cli/blob/master/docs/build.md

Just create a single `.vue` file, run it with `vue build file.vue` and you can immediately just start hacking around. It can be even built that way for production.

Feels simple like in the old days with single index.html, but you aren't missing any features of modern frontend stack.


"I'm doing it only for fun and to learn new things."

Vs

"I don't want to spend whole summer learning javascript and responsive design, because it would feel more like a chore to me"

Huh?


I was going to raise this point. Is it about building a webpage or about what the webpage will do? If OP doesn't want to learn how to make a webpage, perhaps OP shouldn't make a webpage.


I want to learn how to get others to make me a webpage!

A forward thinking individual and upper management material for sure!


That too for free.


There's a difference between doing something in your free time for a month or two of the summer for fun and learning, vs making it your full time job all summer long.


At your college. Put up a flyer or reach out to some computer minded organization. You're not actually going to get an angular / react dev (they cost $$$$), best you can hope for is someone with no skills who wants to be an 'angular / react' dev.


> You're not actually going to get an angular / react dev (they cost $$$$) I also make $$$$ programming, but that doesn't mean I'm not willing to do something for free.


It sounds like you are looking for a friend to code with. Try your local area.

Otherwise everyone has their own projects.

No one will read what you wrote above and think "Wow, he sounds like a good leader with a solid plan."

I could go on and on with suggestions.


Or a mentor. I would be willing to mentor someone, but I don't have the time to do it for them.


I don't think I need to be a good leader for this. What I'm looking for, is a place with bored programmers, where I could present what I want to do and maybe there will be someone who says "this looks fun" and join me. Or is nobody doing software just for fun anymore?. It's a specific topic and I don't want to bother my friends with it, I need someone who will be 100% interested in it.


> I don't think I need to be a good leader for this.

> It's a specific topic and I don't want to bother my friends with it, I need someone who will be 100% interested in it.

These two things are mutually exclusive. The kinds of people who you want to work with tend to have ideas of their own, or a multitude of other offers to choose from.

Since your job is to get people excited enough about your idea to build it for free, you need to have some good sales skills. And, if you want to keep them engaged and productive, you'll need to be an amazing leader.

If you pull this off, I suspect that you'll learn as much about leadership as you do about code. Good luck!!


Take a look meetup, quite often their are programming groups. Could be a good way to get a coding partner.


I can think of a couple routes to this:

* find various organizations devoted to this. Even the small town I live in has a "design society", a python users group, a generic "coder group" and so on. Often groups like this have hack times - just get together, work on your own stuff, but have other people with different skillsets there too to help, co-learn or whatever!

* Find local hackathons - these are a bit more intense but many of them are not primarily contests etc, but just a short-term version of the above

* Find your local (hacker|maker)space.

* Put out an ad in the Craigslist gigs (computer).

If these resources don't exist for you, consider starting them!

Story-time: I was perusing the local Craigslist and came across a person who had put up a tutoring gig - she wanted someone to teach her flask in a structured way. I replied that I'd be willing to share my experience and co-learn, but not really structured and because of my obligations and conflicts of interest I couldn't take payment. Instead I suggested we do the co-learing and experience sharing as a Python Users Group. The one that previously existed in our town had been defunct for several years at that point, and I wanted to see it happen so people didn't need to offer money for learning resources. Long story short - that pug has been around for 5 years now and is still going strong. I'm only involved as an attendee once a month or so, and the other person who founded it coordinates the hack sessions, but new folks have stepped up and filled in the rest of the roles!

Good luck with your adventure - if you have to go the "start a thing" route: warning it's a lot of work, but rewarding. If that happens and you could use advice/experience feel free to reach out:

   $HN_USERNAME@$GOOGLES_FREE_MAIL_SERVICE


Forums and IRC channels specific to the domain you would like to work in. I have not done any myself, but I see people teaming up to make domain specific applications quite often.

For example, I am part of a tea channel on IRC. There are two people who have teamed up to make a tea journal app for Android.


I am trying to write a new programming language. Language design is new to me and would really love a co-developer. If anybody is interested the language is at https://github.com/prettydiff/simple and the design is still at the very beginning.

Basic design goals:

less is more, holy war elimination, strong/strict references, no syntax overloading, blocks by reference, single paradigm, sub-types by assignment/extension instead of by generics, lexical scope instead of classes/inheritance


Interesting!

Consider post it to /r/ProgrammingLanguages: https://www.reddit.com/r/ProgrammingLanguages/


I did not know this existed. Thank you very much!


Find local hackathons in your city. In mine I can find some on http://meetup.com. That way you get together with strangers, work on something for a day or a weekend or whatever, and there's no pressure after that. You'll get to learn new things and make connections at the same time.

EDIT: thanks for the correction, it's meetup.com not meetings.com


you mean meetup.com?


My tip to you would be to raise your goals. Learning JavaScript should not be a chore if your goals are high enough.


Actually it would be nice to have a competence exchange website where volunteers could register and find matches. But instead of dating, this could be for developing.

Because the limitation of the "just do it yourself on your own" approach is that when looking for specific solutions I often stubble on a dozen of half-backed, dubiously maintained, side projects. And I can't keep from wondering what great things theses solos developers could have done had they worked together form the start.

Also a good example come to my mind, you might want to ask OpenStreetMap.org developers how did they gather and start what is a "recent" and huge FOSS success story with a large community behind it.


It would be very nice to have a platform where people can propose/ask for FLOSS projects and subscribe to them as potential contributor / tester / user. It could allow searching by keyword/tag/topic and voting.


This is the only understandable reason I can see that people would upvote thE parent topic. Other than that, the OP has provided no value proposition to his potential partner.


Created a fb group for this scenario: https://www.facebook.com/groups/665825200225224/


Its sad that I quit fb few months ago because it was sucking most of my free time and now I cant have a look on this group.


Hackathons and meet ups might be a good place to start.


Maybe you can talk about what your looking to create.

Or, maybe build it as an API and people find it useful and build front ends for it.


Well, I'm looking to build a modern and robust opensource anonymous imageboard software (most people here probably know about 4chan), as all the existing usable alternatives are written in PHP and the code is 10 years old and barely maintained. Yes, maybe I will try to do the front end by myself and also provide rest api on the side, if anyone was interested.


One bit of advice, don't go for React/Angular/front-end unless you actually need to or you actually want to.

Whatever web framework you're using (probably some variation of Spring if you're using Java) should have built in templating which should be more than sufficient to build an MVP/Proof of concept imageboard. I doubt 4chan is running any kind of SPA either.

Then if your project is successful or you want to stick with it, you can build your frontend javascript app as a phase 2. In most webframeworks you'll do largely the same query/controller work to get the data for both a JSON API and a templated web page. The API will just map that data to JSON while the templated page will map the values into an HTML response.


This, 100%. Fancy Javascript frameworks are super-complicated, and are easy to misuse. Unless you spend the time learning the principles, all you're doing is needlessly introducing abstractions.


...and unnecessary for 95% of webapps. Most of the time user have to click few buttons and refresh few divs and nothing more.


Do the back end, make a barebone frontend with bootstrap and open source it. If your product is interesting, you should be able to attract people to help you out improve the frontend.

You can get pretty far with bootstrap before hitting a wall.


...or something less heavy.


Don't overengineer it then. You'll do fine with old-school server-side rendering and polling for new posts with plain JS.


This is really low effort. If you think this is a chore maybe you just shouldn't do it. You sound like an ideas guy who doesn't want to do work. You also sound like you basically want other people to work on your side project. Maybe you should start something first. People are more willing to help those who help themselves.




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