Help for newcomers


I’m very new to the OpenMRS project, but during past few weeks I’ve been having many issues with installation and module development. Do you have any scheme of “mentoring” fresh members of community? Are there any senior devs, who can answer questions and support younger ones? There’s obviously talk.openmrs forum, but many of the issues i’ve been having were just some stupid mistakes that could be solved in 5 minutes, not deserving for opening a new thread, but I’ve spent very long time (in a few cases - hours) to solve them, just because I didn’t had some basic information. Tutorials on wiki don’t help either - in fact, most of the problems were caused by the fact that many of them are outdated or incomplete. I’m asking about something like ‘mentoring’ on GSoC, but for people not participating in that initiative.

Kind Regards Jack

One good resource for this is We paused those calls because the attendance was poor. On many instances, the teachers were in class with no students. So we are now changing our strategy by letting the students push for and organize the calls with their topics of interest. Here is an example of how you can get started with organizing for one. Choose a topic and date (a Wednesday) when you would love to have this dealt with. Post on openmrs talk asking for a teacher who will be available to teach the class. After getting a volunteer to teach the class, go head and announce that a university call is confirmed to be happening on that date. Take the responsibility of reminding the teacher when the call is about to start, just in case he or she forgets. You could also send out a reminder, on talk, calling upon other students, just about ten to five minutes before the call starts. This will be a good start and example for other students to take charge of these calls. Feel free to ask for anything that may not be clear.

Thanks for pointing this out. I am sure it can serve very well for learning new things, but at the moment I am more concerned about ‘ad hoc’ help, for solving simple, frequent errors, which I believe require some other form of teaching than scheduled, ‘mass’ classes.

Some of the classes are just Questions and Answers. So those can fit your scenario. Not so? :slight_smile:

I don’t have the dev knowledge to actually volunteer myself, but I’m going to say two things:

  1. Please fix the wiki. If it’s wrong or incomplete and you know the answer, add it, add a comment saying it didn’t work, anything. It will save someone hours to fix it too.

  2. I know sometimes it feels bad to ask silly questions, but OpenMRS has probably the most open source welcoming community I’ve seen. As far you are trying, there are really no stupid questions. Really :slight_smile:


@dkayiwa Q&A sessions still aren’t exactly “quick-fix” type of help. First, they usually appear frequently and are easy to fix, so such sessions would need to be very frequent and quite short - I don’t think that format fits such conditions. Additionally, most of these problems have more ‘individual’ nature, so there’s no sense in gathering people to hear the solutions - it’s not some new knowledge, and chances that they will encounter the same error are low (most of my problems weren’t described on OpenMRS forum when I’ve searched for them, so probably only a few people, possibly none, have had them before me).


  1. ‘Fixing the wiki’ indeed can be done in case of some simple errors (for example changing the reqs from Java 1.7 to 1.8), but it’s hard to complete sombody’s else tutorial, when half of it is missing, or it don’t have any source, or is outdated.
  2. I don’t think that such questions should be asked on the forum. The reason is what I wrote above - most of them won’t be needed by anyone except the person asking.

In my opinion IRC provides so far the best way to solve such problems, but asking somebody directly would be much easier - conversations on public chat are frequently interrupted, so it ends in PMs anyway, and a list of “mentors” would just remove that step of looking for somebody on IRC.


Here we always encourage the assumption that what may appear to be a problem unique to you, will turn out to be somebody else’s problem tomorrow. That is exactly why we discourage private chats when on IRC. It is not about majority. Even if it is just one more person who will face the same problem, a shared solution is always the winner. :slight_smile:

If you are not able to complete or fix somebody’s tutorial, at least add a comment or post a message on talk and share what you feel should be added or changed. Then some one else will take it from there.

Any body can be a mentor. Even you yourself are a potential mentor to someone who may be asking for what you already know, however little it may be. That is how we grow the community where help does not come from a fixed list of people, but anyone who has something to share. :slight_smile: Just in case you had not seen this, we have some IRC tips here