Quarter of Open Source

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The first quarter of 2019 was very interesting for me. It was the first time I did a lot of open-source work as a way to scratch my own itch. Every time I thought I needed a specific tool which I couldn’t find, I built and open-sourced it.


The number of contributions I’ve made on GitHub has increased by over 20x in the past few years.


In 2015, I made slightly more than 100 contributions. These were mostly on my own projects, like my personal website, Made with Love in India, and Saga Music. This is still less than 2014 (when I made a few projects centered around CSS and WordPress), but it’s still something.


2016 was better, with more than twice the number of contributions. This is also when I founded Oswald Labs, so some of that work went into building our websites and first open-source extension.


2017 was even better with 465 contributions. In the first half of the year, I was working full-time on Oswald Labs (along with some freelance projects), and moved to Enschede in the second half. I also participated in (and won!) two hackathons, whose projects I also open-sourced. Oswald Labs mostly worked on GitLab, so there are (scattered) contributions here and there.


Last year is when there was a substantial, 6x increase in my open-source work. With over 2,500 contributions, this was the first time I was in four-figures, and my work was mostly on personal projects and a few libraries.


Finally, as of the first quarter of this year, I already have over 1,500 contributions. These are split around both Oswald Labs and my personal projects, and I also made a system to count my GitLab commits. At this rate, I should hit 5,000 this year (thought I don’t know how long I can keep this rate up).


These are the projects I’ve built in the first quarter of 2019. In this section, I’m counting a little bit of December 2018 and a few days in April 2019 as the first quarter too, because I started some projects a few days before 2019 began, and finished one a day in April.

📝 Hovercard

Itch: For a hackathon project, my team and I made Aristotle, an e-learning system. For this, I wanted a way to show Wikipedia summary cards for important terms.

Scratch: A DOM library to show Wikipedia summary cards using Wikipedia’s API. JavaScript, December 2018 · GitHub · NPM

👋 Hello-Bar

Itch: The Hello Bar service is expensive, and Oswald Labs needed a way to show targeted announcement bars with important information to visitors.

Scratch: A package to show targeted hello bars. JavaScript, January 2019 · GitHub · NPM

♿ Accessible Web Component(s)

Itch: There’s a lot of boilerplate to make inputs with labels (id, for), and I wanted a web component to automate that

Scratch: A web component, <form-group> to automate labels and IDs. JavaScript, January 2019 · GitHub · NPM

Around this time is also when I learned TypeScript, so the projects after late-January are not in ES6.

📅 Calendar Link

Itch: For an AI scheduling assistant I’m working on, I wanted a way to send platform-agnostic calendar invitation links.

Scratch: A Node.js library for generating links for Google, Yahoo!, and Outlook calendars. TypeScript, January 2019 · GitHub · NPM

🌐 Auto I18N

Itch: It’s hard to translate JSON files using Google Translate, especially if they have nested items. However, this is a necessity if you can’t afford to pay human translators and still need localization.

Scratch: A Node.js utility to translate works, objects, and files using Google Translate. TypeScript, March 2019 · GitHub · NPM

📦 Typestart

Itch: With me making so many DOM libraries in TypeScript, I wanted a easy-to-use, no-configuration starter with didn’t have tons of boilerplate code.

Scratch: A TypeScript starter for libraries with DOM support and tests using Jest. TypeScript, February 2019 · GitHub · NPM

🔔 Changebar

Itch: I wanted a plugin to show users the most recent updates and features on Agastya’s admin panel.

Scratch: A notifications widget to show changelogs, powered by Markdown files hosted on GitHub. TypeScript, February 2019 · GitHub · NPM

🐦 A11Y is Important

Itch: I wanted to build a Twitter bot (never did that before), and also wanted to curate a timeline related to accessibility.

Scratch: A Twitter bot which tweets and follow #a11y-related people and things. TypeScript, March 2019 · GitHub · NPM

🐎 Twente License

Itch: The MIT license is great, but I wanted to add values like privacy to it, to ensure that my code isn’t used for evil.

Scratch: A fork of the MIT license with an added paragraph about privacy, along with a static site generator to show it off. TypeScript, January 2019 · GitHub

🗄 Fraud

Itch: MongoDB is an overkill for simple key-value storages, and I wanted a git-based backup system to store and manage Oswald Labs’ developer API keys.

Scratch: JSON file-powered key-value storage with cache; super fast, always available. TypeScript, March 2019 · GitHub · NPM

📝 GitWriter

Itch: I wanted to write my honors research proposal, but on GitHub with auto-saving.

Scratch: A progressive web app to write text in Markdown on GitHub, auto-saving and cross-platform. Vue, March 2019 · GitHub

🔗 Sharer.link

Itch: I wanted to share links to my favorite podcasts with my friends, but didn’t know which podcast player they prefer.

Scratch: A web app to share links for podcasts, songs, movies, and more, with support for most major apps and stores. Vue, March 2019 · GitHub

🗃 Embed Widget

Itch: Many websites these days want to embed tiny live chat or support widgets to their websites, and most of them live in iframes. I wanted a starter for that.

Scratch: A button widget to open and manipulate embedded frames on webpages. Typescript, March 2019 · GitHub · NPM

🎨 Prefers Color Scheme

Itch: In macOS Mojave, users can choose their preferred color scheme (dark or light), and I wanted a way to see which theme a user has selected.

Scratch: A DOM utility to get a user’s preferred color scheme. TypeScript, March 2019 · GitHub · NPM

📷 Photomonster

Itch: I want to backup my phone’s photos, but to my own S3 instance because I’m afraid to lose them (I already pay for Google Photos, but I’m paranoid about data loss).

Scratch: An app to backup photos to S3, Firebase Storage, or custom endpoints. Work in progress. React Native, March 2019 · GitHub

🈹 Language Icons

Itch: Flags aren’t good icons for languages. For example, should I use the US or the UK flag? Why not Pakistan’s? They have more English speakers than the UK.

Scratch: A generator for language icons using their codes and flag colors. TypeScript, March 2019 · GitHub · NPM


I made the most contributions I’ve ever made (per day) in the first quarter of 2019. I learned a lot (like TypeScript! I love TypeScript!) this quarter too, so it was a great start to an important year.

Of course, the number of contributions is not a great way to measure impact. It depends on how much code is in each commit, and how much it’s truly adding to the open-source community. But, all in all, I’m happy with the way things are going and hope to continue to do my small part to build the ecosystem.

Illustrated portrait of Anand

About the author

Anand Chowdhary

Anand Chowdhary is a creative technologist and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CTO of Pabio, an interior design and rent-to-own furniture company funded by Y Combinator. He lives in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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