As the relentless Texas summer gradually relinquishes its grip, other northern hemisphere locales are welcoming the cozy embrace of Fall! Our friends below the equator are ready to see the brilliant blossoms of Spring! Regardless of your seasonal preference, there’s something universally exciting on the horizon – Hacktoberfest!

What is Hacktoberfest?

Hacktoberfest is an annual event that encourages participation in open-source software development. It takes place in October and is sponsored by DigitalOcean and GitHub. Participants are encouraged to contribute to open-source projects by submitting pull requests on GitHub, and in return, they can earn rewards such as limited-edition T-shirts and other swag. It’s a way to promote and celebrate open-source software development and collaboration within the global developer community.

What’s new this year?

For Hacktoberfest’s 10th anniversary this year, Digital Ocean has pledged to plant a tree in the name of the first 50,000 contributors with accepted pull requests. Otherwise, rewards will be digital. Boo! I was looking forward to the t-shirt!

But fear not, wearable rewards enthusiasts! ServiceNow is also rewarding contributors to their own projects; you could receive a CreatorCon 2023 t-shirt or misc ServiceNow swag! This is ServiceNow’s 7th year participating in Hacktoberfest.

How do I get started?

If you haven’t contributed to open-source projects, you’ll want to learn how to use Source Control with GitHub. There are a host of tutorials on the internet, but I recommend starting in these three places:

  1. The beginner resources listed right on the Hacktoberfest website.
  2. ServiceNow’s own Maria Gabriela Ochoa Perez Waechter (MGOPW) wrote a very detailed article on from a beginner’s perspective a few years ago:
  3. Jace Benson wrote about what makes a “quality pull request” on the ServiceNow Developer blog in 2020:

I WISH I had seen these articles my first time around!

After you have a GitHub account, register for Hacktoberfest. This step is required if you are trying to get a tree planted or any digital swag from Digital Ocean. It’s free, and you can use your shiny new GitHub account to authenticate.

You will also need to register with ServiceNow to qualify to receive swag for contributing to their projects. Stay tuned to the ServiceNow Developer blog or the sndevs slack #hacktoberfest channel for details and to watch the leaderboard!

Where do I contribute?

There are thousands of open-source repositories participating in Hacktoberfest. You can browse the open projects in GitHub and GitLab to find a place where you can contribute.

ServiceNow has several projects, including (but not limited to) Code-Snippets, SNDevs Slack automation, and Next Experience components. My favorite for this year is Instance Scan checks! I’ve included links to the ServiceNow Dev Program Repos at the bottom of this article.

ServiceNow also has two live streams coming up to describe their projects and how to participate:

  • You & I Builder Live! Join Brad and Maria Gabriela on September 28, 2023, to learn how to participate in the Next Experience projects
  • Live Coding Happy Hour Join Earl on September 29, 2023, to learn how to participate generally in Hacktoberfest

Like in ServiceNow, GitHub users can open “Issue” records that identify a to-do item, something broken, or a new feature. These issue records are like a shortcut to finding things you know will be appreciated by the repo owners! Here is a list of unassigned Issues with the Hacktoberfest tag across all of the repos in GitHub.

ServiceNow repos don’t currently have any issues tagged with #hacktoberfest, but there are plenty of issues for contribution. that can count towards swag. This list includes all ServiceNowDevProgram repos, so make sure that the one you are contributing to is participating in the Hacktoberfest event.

To finish your Hacktoberfest goal:

  • You must make four (4) approved pull requests between October 1 and October 31.
  • These four pull requests can be spread out across multiple projects or can all be for one project.
  • From experience, you are more likely to get the swag you want the earlier you complete the goal! ServiceNow may not be the only company giving away swag for contributions!

Who can contribute?

Not a developer? That’s OK! Many open-source repositories need non-code issues fixed. For example, I identified and fixed some incorrect data in a file earlier this year. Check out the Issues lists linked above or the links in the START CONTRIBUTING section on the Hacktoberfest website; you may find something perfect for your unique skill set! When you maintain software, the to-do list is endless, and sometimes, all you have time to do is log an issue so that you can come back to it later.

What will YOU contribute?

Hacktoberfest is fun, ultra-collaborative, and a fantastic way to practice your skills! I feel great knowing I made an impact and improved the experience of the software I use! Plus, who doesn’t love seeing their name climb up a leaderboard? What are you waiting for?

ServiceNow Dev Program Repos

Repo Description (from the Repo Owner)
Code-Snippets A community moderated repository that hosts ServiceNow code-snippets for all situations. New to Git and source control? Start here and learn the process without having to leave GitHub, and then come back to any of the other projects below to learn how ServiceNow works with Git and source control.

SNDevs Slacker Bot The @Slacker bot on the community has been completely rebuilt to make contribution easy. Through some clever automation between GitHub and the ServiceNow instance that hosts the bot, approved Pull Requests will introduce new functionality immediately to the Slack server, so everyone can benefit from your contribution right away! Check out the “Issues” tab for ideas.

SNDevs Points Thing The @points_thing bot on the Slack workspace has been rebuilt for easier contribution: cleaner API calls, better table structure, less hard coding, etc. Feel free to add a milestone message as an app metadata or new features!

Menu Generating Operations Program Widget (MGOPW) Custom Component Did I come up with a very convoluted and awful name for my component just so I could put my initials on a project? Why yes, I did. Has it caused some level of confusion? Yes, it has. Do I have any regrets? None!

This repository holds the source code for the Menu Builder custom component! It allows for the configuration of UI Builder Portal Experience menus, so you don’t have to touch JSON. It’s a great example of what you can do with custom components, and you can poke at the source code all you want! Make sure you check out the sister repository for the Experience Page linked below!

Heads up: Contributing to this repository is complicated, you MUST check out the CONTRIBUTING.MD file to be able to correctly contribute and have your PRs approved. (Oh you should also try finding the other references we put in the source code… and feel free to add your own!)

Menu Generating Operations Program Widget (MGOPW) Experience Page Hi there, hopefully you read the previous repository’s description before checking this one out. No? Ok I’ll give you a minute.

Ok, you good? Awesome. This is the UI Builder Page that actually houses the component so you can use it in your instance to craft awesome custom menus. If you want to test your component in an instance, this is a must have.

Heads up: You REALLY need to read the CONTRIBUTING.MD file for these two repos to understand how to contribute. We tried to explain it in the clearest way, but if you have questions feel free to reach out to me over on at @MGOPW or in our #next-experience-uib-workspace channel.

Plants App The ever popular “Show us your office plants” plants app is here, contribute by adding your metadata and/or expanding functionality.

Dispatcher Configurable Workspace We’ve created a Configurable Workspace solution for 911 operators to do 911 operator things and stuff. Come help build out this custom application and brush up on your UI Builder skills. I feel bad that this description is so short, but I don’t know what else to write. Listen – you try to be witty and funny three times in a row and let me know how it works out for you ok?

Instance Scan Checks We all agree that Instance Scan is a great way to keep your instance in a healthy and performant state, but what we are lacking are the rules that should be added as Checks to the engine. ServiceNow ships with Instance Security Center checks, and you can find Instance Trouble Shooter checks in the ServiceNow Store, but in this community-contributed repository, users are providing their own “use-at-your-risk” checks.

Syntax Macros Type in a keyword and a whole template script appears? Life is always easier with syntax macros. This repository was started up earlier last year to collect the community’s favorite syntax macros.

About the Author: Carleen Carter

About the Author: Carleen Carter

ServiceNow developer and architect since 2009, Carleen is self-described as a Serious Script Includer and Low Code Lover. She holds several ServiceNow certifications, including Certified Master Architect. Carleen has a knack for explaining challenging concepts in a relatable and approachable manner. She thrives on enabling customers & colleagues and loves to see their success. She excels at crafting creative solutions to complex problems with an eye on the big picture.