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It’s not quite contributing to Open Source, but I have been strengthening some atrophied Go and Ruby muscles with the excellent exercism.io. This takes the programming koans or kata format (solve this problem, here’s a unit test that will tell you if you’ve solved it correctly) and goes further.

I’ve only done a few exercises in each language, but more than just hammering out brutal code to get the tests to pass, there’s a community element which praises good code and nitpicks (their word) code which would be improved.

My Ruby Hamming solution has three iterations, because I’d received some great feedback from another user in iteration one, and then was inspired to look closer at how my code could be more elegant after submitting my own second iteration. It adds a whole other experience on top of getting a ‘pass’ from your test runner.

My Go Hamming solution was way too complex the first time, despite passing. The third iteration is an improvement but it still seems long - or maybe it just feels long compared to how terse the Ruby version is.

Each language’s tests seem to be tailored to the languages idioms, too: the Roman Numerals exercise required to me to extend Ruby’s Fixnum with a new to_roman method, rather than just create a new class with a static method on it.

Go check them out, maybe pick a language you know well for the first choice and, once you’re happy you understand the algorithm required to solve each problem, try something new.