According to this issue at GitLab.com, version 11.1 of GitLab will add an option to include private contributions in the activity calendar. The activity calendar can be found on a profile at GitLab and shows the number of contributions of the user for every day in the past year. What would it mean if private contributions are included?
Let’s have a look at my calendar. If you access this before the mentioned issue is merged and released, this calendar includes only my public contributions.
If you have a look at the calendar, you see two active seasons. In summer 2017, I was actively developing doxec, a tool to test documentation and tutorials. The second active season is winter 2017/18. This was the time when I was working mainly on three projects:
- sortednp, a numpy extension which provides efficient intersection and union methods for sorted numpy arrays (see SO)
- l2rom, a compiler tool to program EEPROMs, and
- c-shelve, a tool to convert and export python shelve archives (see SO).
Based on the above screenshot, it seems that there has been little development between these two periods of high activity.
However, in the time between these to periods, my focus simply shifted to other projects which are not (yet) public. If you take a look at the internal calendar, you see that there have been many more contributions. The development never really died down to zero, expect during the time when I was on vacation this year in April.
Why does it even matter? I think it is important in the open source community to show ones personal activity. In the open source community, project are usually valued by the quality of the code (structure, tests, documentation). Besides this, a good project, becomes a great project if there is an active developer (or a team of developers) behind it, who maintains the code, develops new features, responds to issues and takes a closer look at bug reports. So, I think an open source projects has a higher chance to become popular if the developers behind it can show that they are active and responsive.
In summary, I think it is a really good idea to include private contributions. I’m looking forward to the release of GitLab version 11.1.
Update: This feature has been delayed until version 11.2.