I am scared of publishing my code as open source! I feel inferior, what should I do?

Hi, dev community,

I am a junior developer and I have made a couple of jQuery plugins. If I open source it, it will help me create a good developer profile. However, I fear negative reviews from the developers worldwide. I fear my code is not up to the standards. What should I do?

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Mark's photo

You should post your code especially if you're unsure about it!

If someone sees something to improve and leaves a comment, they'll probably say what you should do instead, perhaps even why. That's pretty much the perfect way to learn!

I don't think it's likely they'll leave mean unconstructive comments, but if anyone does you can safely assume he's an asshole and can be ignored.

If you're really worried you can make two Github accounts, one for code you're more confident about and will include on your CV. But I wouldn't recommend it - you'll always be unsatisfied about code after a few years, that's not exclusive to juniors.

(Practically speaking, it's not likely that many people will look at the code close enough to leave any remark.)

Jason Knight's photo

Now, word of warning, I don't sugar coat things, I'm not gonna slap the rose coloured glasses on your head, blow smoke up your backside, and give you disingenuous soothing syrup words.

To be brutally frank, if you're "feeling inferior" or "scared" about your code, that's EXACTLY the time to have others looking at it!!! When others are critical LISTEN instead of packing up your toys like a child and running home to mommy.

You NEED negative feedback -- no matter how bad -- to get better! Don't practice alone, it only embeds your errors!

When someone says something negative, REGARDLESS of how it's being said, RESEARCH what they are telling you. Weigh the pro's and con's. Learn, adapt. DEAL WITH IT!!!

Mind you, said feedback has to have substance... It's ok for someone to say it sucks if they say WHY it sucks. That's how you separate the wheat from the chaff on feedback. If they use a term you don't know, RESEARCH it to find out what they are talking about -- FAR too many people right now take even the slightest negative feedback as a personal attack -- and that's BULLSHIT if there's actual advice being given... and if you don't understand the advice, LEARN!

Computing is an industry where on the hardware side three years is obsolete, five years is the scrapheap. Software is LUCKY if it can see double those numbers, and sometimes it's half that if you deal with anything security related.

So if you're not ready to change, keep learning, keep improving, and get feedback from others, you might as well just pack it in now. Otherwise, man up, take your punches, and get it done!

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Josh Montgomery's photo

I think what Ingmars Lazdins is saying is that there are constructive ways to offer criticism and there are non-constructive ways to deal with criticism. Being nice to someone (whether or not you know them) is NOT the same thing as bull-shitting people (at least, not most of the time, there are always exceptions). If I had asked this question and got your response, I would immediately ignore it. Not because I'm soft or weak or whatever, but because you do come off in a negative light, and it doesn't do anything for me.

I actually feel bad for you that you consider people being tactful is a sign of an alternative motive. There's enough negativity in this world, why add to it if you don't need to (this is coming from my hippie side I suppose)? There is very little difference in the overall message between your response and Marcos...

Marco Alka's photo

Hello Anon,

thank you for reaching out to us with your concerns. Writing code is always difficult, and requires experience. The only way to become better is by training it.

You say, you are a junior dev. You say that your concern is that your code is not good and that you have deficits. That's ok. It's the same for all of us. I often feel that my code is inferior, especially when working with Rust, a language which I still am a newby at. The important part is that you are prepared to receive review and have the drive to improve. And that's the most important thing and what others will respect about you. If you are eager to improve, people will want to help you do so.

Opensourcing code will not magically get people to review your code, but it will at least enable others to actually do so. You could opensource one of your smaller plugins, which you feel confident about, on GitLab or GitHub, and then ask in dev-communties (like Hashnode) for reviews of the code. Ask the community nicely to state their opinion of the style, where they see problems and ways to improve the code. For a small code base, people will likely help you and leave comments, and those comments will show you how to improve. You do not have to opensource everything at once. Gradually learn by what your peers have to say :)

Especially Hashnode already has a record of review-questions, however often just asking for ways to improve a code snippet. Using Hashnode search you can verify that the community comes up with interesting solutions and positive answers to such review questions and sometimes even discussions arise which help other people, too. Check out the following discussions for reference:

Ben Buchanan (200ok)'s photo

If they work, publish them :) If you get heaps of negative feedback without anything constructive, you can always take it down again. But you might get positive and constructive feedback. You can only be sure that not publishing will lead to no feedback.

Josh Montgomery's photo

I say go ahead and post it, the majority of developers out there have been through exactly what you are going through, and hopefully will be respectful enough to only offer constructive criticism. This is how we (coders) learn our craft, we create something, share it with others, and then use whatever feedback to better ourselves.

Google "Imposter Syndrome" and you'll get a better understanding of what you're going through.