Monday, July 3, 2017

FreeDOS Summer Coding Blog Challenge

FreeDOS just celebrated our 23rd birthday on June 29. That's a long time for any open source software project, so while there wasn't anything special about "23," we decided to mark our project's anniversary with a FreeDOS Blog Challenge. For the blog challenge, we asked you to share your "FreeDOS story" about how you discovered FreeDOS or how you used FreeDOS. During the month of June, we shared these FreeDOS stories as "guest posts" on our blog. Thanks to everyone who sent in a story! You can find links to all the stories at "Happy 23rd birthday to FreeDOS!"

Since the blog challenge was such fun, a community member on Facebook suggested a followup. I thought that was a great idea.

Announcing the FreeDOS Summer Coding Blog Challenge! Throughout the summer, share your tips about programming for FreeDOS. Post them on your own blog, or email them to us and we'll do guest posts for you.

What should I write about?
You might write a "how-to" article about how to manage very large arrays in memory, or how to load very large files. Or maybe you could talk about how to optimize a DOS program's I/O operations, such as how to read chunks of a file into a memory buffer using read() rather than using streams. Or you might want to write an article about how to use the conio functions to control the screen and read from the keyboard. Or maybe you could write something a little more "entry level" like tips to use the FreeDOS Kitten library to support multiple languages in your program.

Your "how-to" articles don't necessarily need to be about coding in a language like C or Assembly. If your preferred programming language is Pascal or BASIC, then write something about how to write programs in those languages for FreeDOS. If it's a programming language that's included in FreeDOS, we'd like to include it in the FreeDOS summer coding challenge.

Don't limit yourself to compiled languages, either. You can do lots of clever things at the FreeDOS command line and in BAT ("batch") files. So you could write an article about how to use a batch menu tool, like Jerome's V8 PowerTools included in FreeDOS 1.2, to create a neat interactive "program" as one smart batch file.

We want to hear from everyone! It's not just about developers, or people who contribute to the FreeDOS Project directly. The FreeDOS summer coding challenge is for anyone.
How do I write an article?
If you don't often write for a blog, then writing a FreeDOS "how-to" article might seem a little daunting. But really, it's easy!

I recommend you write your article as though you were explaining it to a friend. If it helps, write a draft in your email program, so you can convince yourself you're emailing someone about programming in FreeDOS. And if you like, you can actually send that email message to me (jhall@freedos…) and I'll use it as a guest post on the FreeDOS blog.

If you have your own blog or website, post your story on your blog, and email me to let me know where to find your article. If you don't have your own blog, I would be happy to post it for you as a "guest post" here. I'll even do light editing for you and take care of formatting.

Don't worry about making it perfect. I can do light editing for you before I put it up as a guest post. As in the FreeDOS Blog Challenge, I'll edit for spelling, grammar, and style before I post your article on our blog. I try not to make changes to content or to the flow of your article—but if I do, I'll always run the changes by you first.
Send us your story by September 30!

If the FreeDOS summer coding challenge works out well, we might do a similar blog challenge in winter, maybe about your favorite DOS applications.

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