Hacktoberfest 2021: Contribute to the all-new Umbraco 9!

Get your hands on some neat Umbraco swag and eternal glory by contributing to the CMS!

Sebastiaan Author
Written by Sebastiaan Janssen

We’re thrilled to say that we are once again joining in with the Hack-tastic Hacktoberfest this October! And yes, that is very soon (like, 2 days soon), so let’s jump in and see how to get involved and earn some swag, shall we? 😍

While it still feels like there are remnants of summer still in Denmark, it turns out that it is almost October already! 😲

And you know what that means right? 

Indeed... It's time for a month of celebrating community contributions as Hacktoberfest 2021 is starting this week!

Let’s start with a quick refresher.

What the ‘hack’ is Hacktoberfest? 


This yearly global event is organized by Digital Ocean and promotes open-source contributions to any project that opts into Hacktoberfest. When you make four accepted pull requests to any participating repositories, Digital Ocean will reward you with a t-shirt, or if you choose to forgo the t-shirt, plant a tree in your name instead.

Your input and contributions help shape the Umbraco CMS, documentation and our other projects - in fact we rely quite heavily on them! That’s why we’ve joined in on the Hacktoberfest fun for the last 4 years, with some swag or trees of our own in addition to the Digital Ocean rewards.

Why contribute to an open-source project?

If you ask us, there are many good reasons why you should contribute to an open-source project - and we can think of even more for contributing to Umbraco 😉

Here’s why:

  • You expand your skillset
  • It is good for your career (don’t tell your boss, but this becomes part of your public resumé)
  • You will start building a network - you get to talk to Umbraco community members and HQ and it‘s good to get to know people!
  • You’ll learn things you never knew, you’ll unlearn things you never knew you should
  • Your contribution will impact thousands of people. How would you like to say ‘Oh yeah, that bug... I helped fix that’ 😎
  • You’ll get your hands on some sweet Swag, or plant a tree in your name 🌳

We at Umbraco are super excited that we can give you the unique opportunity to learn something, have some fun, fix something you’ve always been annoyed about and contribute something back to the software you enjoy using. And hereby also help the hundreds of thousands of other users of Umbraco!

So, go get your Git on and contribute!

How do I contribute? 

This year’s Umbraco Hacktoberfest will concentrate completely on…🥁🥁... Umbraco version 9! (You guessed that already, right? 😉) That means only contributions for v9 will count towards your eligibility to receive swag from Umbraco.

We have very thorough contribution guidelines no matter where you want to contribute (click the links to jump to the relevant section):

If you don’t already have an idea on how to contribute, there are some issues that may help on the CMS issues and Documentation issues boards. We’ve also added “up-for-grabs” and “help wanted” labels to some of the issues, to make it easier for you to start working on them! Once you pick something to work on, leave a comment and say you will be working on it if no one else has done so.

Help wanted - that includes you, first-time contributor!

As well as marking a number of issues on our repositories with “help wanted”, “up-for-grabs”, we also have a “good first issue” label. These are tasks and topics we think are a perfect fit for someone contributing to the Umbraco project for the first time. 

Let’s take a deep-dive into each area you can contribute:

Help us improve the CMS

Okay, there are a lot of areas to contribute to when it comes to the Umbraco CMS. So, where to start?

  1. We have recently added a new acceptance test project to CMS that we’d love some help with. This project uses Cypress to run through common usage scenarios in the backoffice. By running those in an automated test, we can be more confident that our next release is of high quality. There is no detailed documentation for writing these tests yet but make sure to explore previous pull requests in this category. You can of course also inspect the existing code in the test project.
  2. Head on over to the CMS Issue tracker. There are currently only a few up-for-grabs issues for v9 to choose between - but with the release still being so fresh, surely over the next few days we’ll be needing some more help there!
  3. Additionally, we are making a single v8-exception for this Hacktoberfest: any pull requests that affect the backoffice UI/UX/accessibility of Umbraco still need to be done on v8.  The reason is that those changes will still be merged up to v9 and the code is not dependent on the underlying .NET framework. So merging backoffice changes up from v8 to v9 is easy and we’ll keep doing that very regularly. Make sure to scan the list of 200+ up-for-grabs issues that are not for v9 to see if there’s any backoffice updates to pick from.
  4. We’re awaiting some more results from the accessibility team who are running a new comprehensive test of the whole CMS, once those results are in we’ll have more to work on.
  5. If you know of a bug or something in CMS that doesn’t quite work right: this is your chance to get that particular thing updated!

Write and update the Docs 🤓

The documentation is for many people the easiest place to start -  as soon as you’ve figured out how something works and it's not in the docs yet, you can help out. 

The main focus on the Umbraco Documentation for Hacktoberfest this year is Version 9, and The Umbraco Documentation Curators team have been hard at work preparing for the launch. 

However, there are still plenty of things that need to be finished and Busra Şengül has written about all the details in her blog post.

Umbraco Docs logo

There’s also a request for help verifying existing v7/v8 documentation for v9 and work being done on a cheat sheet. Do check out Busra’s blog post for all the fun details.

Package contributions

For the second year in a row, we’re super happy to again encourage work on packages! For v9 of course 😉

Now, there are some more details attached to this:

  • Only contributions made to open source Umbraco packages added to the Hacktoberfest Package repo list counts
  • Follow the contribution guidelines provided by the package creator
  • Look for the “help wanted” label on the issue tracker associated with the package you want to help out with

Read much more about how this works, and guidelines on adding your own package repo to the list on the Umbraco Packages Hacktoberfest homepage

Remember that contributions to Umbraco packages also count as a contribution to Umbraco, and will therefore also grant you Hacktoberfest swag and praise 🙌 

Will there be swag? And how do I earn it?

You bet!  We will again this year be handing out swag to anyone who participates in Hacktoberfest by contributing to any of the open-source Umbraco repositories and packages 👏👕

Also like last year, you will be able to choose between swag or planting a tree as your reward.

Here’s how it works:

  1. First of all you’ll need to complete the Umbraco Hacktoberfest challenge: Have at least 1 PR approved on any Umbraco repository or Umbraco Package repository. In general, we encourage all kinds of contributions, whether it’s whole new articles in the Documentation or bug fixes in the CMS.
  2. You’ve made a contribution, woo!  We will review it and decide whether you’re eligible for some swag (we’ll talk about eligibility in a second). 
  3. Your PR is approved for swag! We’ll add the “hacktoberfest/contrib-2021” label to it 🎉
  4. Once Hacktoberfest is over and you’ve completed the Hacktoberfest challenge, you will have a choice to make:

👕 I want an exclusive Umbraco Hacktoberfest t-shirt

🌳 I want to help the climate by having a tree planted (read more about this)

I Eat Prs For Breakfast Small

More information about delivery, shipping and planting will be available once October is over, and we’ve got an overview of the - hopefully - overwhelming amount of Hacktoberfest contributions. As a “rule of thumb”, brace yourself with some patience. You will not get your reward on November 1st - hopefully, we can get it to you before Christmas 2021 😉

So...how do you know what qualifies your PR for Umbraco swag? 

We use the Hacktoberfest Quality Standards to qualify PRs, so contributions that do not follow these standards will also not count towards Umbraco swag. These standards are to ensure we get quality PRs and that the right efforts get rewarded 🙌

If you’re contributing to one of the open-source Umbraco Packages, please check the Packages Hacktoberfest guidelines to learn more about how a contribution is marked as “swag-eligible”.

Hacktoberfest events

Our friends Carole, Emma, Laura and Lotte from the Candid Contributions podcast are back with a hackathon this year! Time to mark your calendars for October 29 and 30th for a 24 hour online hackathon! 

Yes, you heard it right! This event will last for 24 hours, to accommodate anybody in any time zone. The event hosts will follow each other starting in Europe, moving to Australia and then to the USA until Europe wakes up again.  The CanCons will soon be publishing more details about this event and we’ll obviously remind you again throughout the month of October.

Hacktoberfest Q&A

Yes. We might not get around to merging them all in October, but we will add a special “Hacktoberfest 2022 Contributor” label to those we will merge - and with this tag, your Umbraco Hacktoberfest swag is of course secured as well ☺

Only if your PR gets the Hacktoberfest 2022 label. Hackathons are a great way to get help and make sure you are working on something relevant!

When October is over, we’ll contact you with all the details, and you can choose between 👕 or 🌳.

You will need some patience here, as it might take a while for the swag to arrive, especially depending on where you live in the world. However, we aim that you have it before Christmas 😉

Any more questions?

In order to help you succeed we at HQ are trying to be available as much as possible during the month of October on our new Discord server in the #hacktoberfest channel.

Whether you need some inspiration, guidance, help getting things to build, and so on - we’re there to support and guide you, together with the Core Collaborators team.

Umbraco Discord

So come join us and the other 230+ people already on the Umbraco Discord server at: https://discord.gg/umbraco!


Happy Hacktoberfest! 🎃

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