Contributing to GnuCash

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The GnuCash Project is a volunteer-driven organization and depends on volunteers, such as you, to survive and grow. This page explains the ways to contribute to the project.

Many ideas here are taken from this slashdot comment.

If you ever used GnuCash, you were already ...

Testing

Programmers can be fine testers, but non-programmers seem to be able to break programs in new and mysterious ways. The trick here is to learn how to give the best information to the programmers about how to reproduce bugs. A programmer will usually only be able to fix a bug they can see; if you can't make the programmer see your bug, it won't get fixed! If you find a real reproducible bug, check with Bugzilla to make sure the developers know about it. Programmers should feel free to add plenty of unit tests (see Testing) as well.

Resulting on your tests, you should give us some ...

Feedback

Providing feedback on what features are used, and what aren't is important to developers who may spend a lot of time on a feature they think is important instead of a feature that actually is important. From another comment: What this thing needs is some normal human beings using it and saying "you know what, it's NOT acceptable that window A obscures window B and freezes while window B is waiting for input from me." It needs, I am sorry to say, Quicken or MS Money users, who say "It was really easy to do X, Y, and Z, but here, I can't even figure out if it's possible,"

Possible ways of feedback are explained in this section and following of the FAQ.

WishList

Similarly, it is important to keep track of wishlists — both those of the official developers, and of users. Since this is a wiki, a user named Andy Glew has taken the liberty of creating such a WishList, but the developers prefer that you post your enhancement requests into Bugzilla or try the new "Uservoice" Feature Request Forum.

If you are mostly satisfied, tell it your friends:

Advocacy

You usually get developers because they use software and have an itch to scratch. I'd guess that GnuCash's biggest problem is that programmers don't use the software. Running tutorials, presentations at local LUGs can be invaluable for getting a larger userbase (and therefore hopefully a larger developer base).

If you have really no time over, you can also spent some ...

Money

The GnuCash Project encourages financial contributions in several ways as described on the donations page of the main website.

In addition to the suggestions there, you can make sizable donations to specific developers to help fulfill feature requests.

And thanking developers for past work can be done individually, but will not be done through the project.

Documentation

Writing documents on how to do things, see e. g. Concept Guide, (or why to do things, accounting is a black art to many). Help people out using the program. The article said that the programmers are spending a lot of their time answering questions instead of actually getting on and doing the job. Even simple things like "Tips and tricks" are a good start. If users can help other users, then the current programmers can spend more of their time getting new developers up to speed.

Wiki

Write answers to FAQ's. Wiki'ing is very addictive and fun. And while you're at it, everyone learns! As you probably have noticed, you are looking at such a wiki right now. You'll need an account. Unfortunately we've been beset by robot accounts and spammers over the last few years and now require contributors to request an account. This is human-moderated and you must convince the human that you're not a spammer or a robot. Don't bother requesting an account until you see something you want to change. Fill out the request form and explain in the "Reason" box exactly what you want to change and why. General descriptions of your skills aren't useful and will be ignored. If you've been contributing on the mailing list mention that with your email address (the request form isn't public, only wiki admins can see what you enter).

For most browsers exist Wikipedia editing extensions to make the job easier. To get one, search the addons page of your browser provider.

Localisation

If your natural language is different from english, you can contribute by translating

  • parts of this wiki,
  • the website,
  • the messages of the program or
  • its official documentation "Help" and "Tutorial and concepts guide"

See Translation for details.

  • Add or improve Account Templates for your region.
  • Add or improve Tax Reports for your region, which might be nontrivial. But adding a wiki page with [links to] tax forms or the description of the online interface of your tax authority could be a first step as programmers are seldom Certified Public Accountants, too.

See also Development#Tools.

Code

If you're a programmer, obviously a good way to help is to start writing useful code :). Please see Development for how to get started and Development Process for our procedures and guidelines.