So it has been quite some time since my last post. Today will be a relatively short one, but I think I'm going to try and get into the habit of writing a blog post now and then.
Today I wanted to mention a little about contributing back to Dart. This is something very easy for anyone to do, on a variety of different levels. First and foremost, I've been contributing in small ways in the past just by using Dart. And in particular by using Dart and filing bug reports when you run into something. Currently I have 15 bug reports that I have reported and are still open. And many more which have been fixed for a long time.
You can submit bug reports for not only code that isn't working correctly, but also for documentation which may need to be updated or corrected; for updates to the website; or even just style recommendations (particularly those which may apply to the Style Guide).
Bug reports are a great way to contribute as the more bugs that are found and squashed the more stable and attractive Dart becomes.
Eventually you may start feeling comfortable enough to provide solutions to the bugs you provide. Either pasting in a suggestion into the bug report, or by submitting a patch.
Note: I will mention this here ahead of time. Before Google can integrate any code you provide them, you must sign the Contributor License Agreement (CLA).
I have personally submitted patches to a number of areas of the Dart project. My first was to the dartlang.org website. I found a typo in the language tour. So I went to GitHub site. Found the Dartlang/dartlang.org repository and forked it. I made the edits that I saw needed to be corrected and issued a pull request.
One handy tip I received, was to use a rebase workflow when dealing with edits to the github repositories. After doing a bit of searching around, a very good article I found was A Git Workflow for Agile Teams. This shows a very straight forward method of using rebase to create nice clean commits when pushing upstream. I still refer to it when working on patch for the sites.
After submitting a couple of corrections to the dartlang.org site(s) I began to feel comfortable enough with submitting code to the dart source code. This process is significantly different than just forking a github repository. First instead of using github, its best to follow the steps here for getting the source. Make sure you can build before trying to edit any code.
Once you've verified you can build after getting the source code for the first time. You can go ahead and make your changes. After making your changes, make sure you once again build. Then also make sure you can pass the tests. If possible run as many tests as you can, not just specific to one area as you never know what else might rely on behaviour you didn't expect (I found this out the hard way myself).
If everything looks good with the test. Submit your patch. I'll give you a hint now as well. Once the patch is uploaded, it will display a chromium code review site. Similar to: https://chromiumcodereview.appspot.com/10918056/ Be sure to go to that site. Edit the issue and add a reviewer (if you're not sure who should review ask in either the bug report that you're working on or from the mailing list). Update the issue once you've added a reviewer. Then click on 'Publish+Mail Comments'. If you don't do this, no one will know that your patch is waiting for review!!! (Mine waited over a week because I didn't do this haha).
Once your patch is looked at, you will usually get a 'lgtm' (Looks good to me) and possibly some suggestions on small typos to fix. If you get line comments on things to fix, then fix them in your code, then re-upload a patch (using the same method as before). It will automatically associate it with your previous patch (as long as you're using the same git branch!). Then go to the comments in the source that were left for you, click on each. Then click on the 'Done' link. That will signal to the reviewer that you looked at each comment and addressed the issue. Once you've marked each comment as 'Done', then 'Publish+Mail Comments' again.
Usually by this point the reviewer will commit your patch for you into the source. They will usually link another patch ID, and on that patch ID will be a revision id such as https://code.google.com/p/dart/source/detail?r=12278. Once you have that you can also watch the buildbot progress for your patch to see if you end up breaking anything ;)
So that's a summary of how I have, and you can, contribute to Dart. Now get out there and enjoy it!