Hydrogen is an open-source project that exists only thanks to the numerous contributions of many, many people

Some people have contributed pieces of the code for the Hydrogen application, others have contributed by coming up with great ideas, some have helped by spreading the word about Hydrogen … etc etc

How about you? Have you ever wanted to do something to help this project ?

Maybe you have but you just never really knew how or where to start … sounds familiar ?

Well here is some very very good news for you : contributing just got easy !

14 ways to contribute to Hydrogen

Spread the word about Hydrogen


  • become a forum moderator


  • add to/update the manual
  • translate the manual to your native language


  • share your songs
  • share your drumkits
  • share your drum patterns
  • share your video’s


  • fix bugs in the code
  • add new features to Hydrogen
  • test hydrogen or verify fixes
  • share ideas

Sponsor us

  • donate a couple of cents to keep our site up
  • donate contest prizes that we can use in our next contest

1) Spread the word

An applications without users is rather pointless, so tell your friends about Hydrogen, join our facebook group, take part in the discussions on our forum …

Talk, talk, talk !

2) Forum moderators

Just like other forums we get a lot of spam. There are a number of tools that allow us to filter out most spam, but sometimes ‘human interaction’ is still required.

Moderating and cleaning up the forum takes time, time that we would much rather spend on improving Hydrogen, so for that reason we are looking for forum moderators. Interested ? Read on !

Requirements :

  • Some basic knowledge of Drupal is a plus, but it’s no must. Commitment is more important
  • Ideally we need 2 people who are located on ‘opposite timezones ‘ (if you know what i mean) to get optimal coverage, but again this is no must.

How it works :

Forum moderators get email notifications from the spam detection module whenever it detects a possible spam post. The moderator opens the email, clicks the link and is directed to the ‘suspicious’ post, then he/she verifies if the post is/is not spam. if the post is indeed spam no further action is needed (the post has already been marked as spam and will be automatically removed after a couple of days) if the post is OK the moderator simply clicks the ‘publish’ button

On top of this the moderator should frequently check if a spammer was able to fool the spam detection module and managed to post spam on our precious forum. If this happens the moderator can simply mark the post as being spam and that’s it

YES! i want to help out with this !!

3) Manual

Hydrogen is packed with features. Most features are simple to use and the interface is quite intuitive. However, there is more to Hydrogen than meets the eye : dig a little deeper and you will find that Hydrogen can do some amazing things!

Both the ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ features need to be documented in the manual and since more and more newe features are added the manual must also be updated.

Are you the kind of person that can explain complex stuff in a clear and simple way ? Join the team and help us to update the manual !

YES! i want to help out with this !!

4) Translation and checkers

Both the Hydrogen application and the manual are available in several languages. Some translations are complete, but for most languages there is still a lot of work to be done.

Translating the application or the manual requires very little technical knowledge and you only need to install 1 or 2 (free) applications to get started.

The English version of the application and manual are the starting point, so ‘good’ knowledge of English is a must.

Once your translation is complete it is always good to have one or more people review your work. This is where the ‘checkers’ come into the picture.

Do you have a passion for languages and drum machines named Hydrogen? Yes? Then you are the person we are looking for !

YES! i want to help out with this !!

5) Share your songs

Have you created a song with Hydrogen (and probably a number of other tools) that you are really proud of? Share it with other Hydrogen users via our ‘share your songs’ forum and tell us all about how you made it.

Not only will it show what you are capable of (a little promo never hurt anyone, right ?) it might also inspire other users to start playing around with Hydrogen and make some great songs.

YES! i want to share my songs! Take me to the forum !!

6) Share your drumkits

Some time ago we asked you -the Hydrogen user- what you wanted to see happen in the next releases? The answer was quite clear : more and better drumkits.

After al, what’s a drum machine without good sounds ?

So if you have a great sounding drumkit or drum machine, you could sample it, create a drumkit with those samples and share it with the community.

Your work will live on for ever and ever ;-)

YES! i want to share my drumkits !!

7) Share your drum patterns

“Does Hydrogen provide standard patterns for rock/blues/salsa/… ?” is a questions that pops up frequently on the forum. This is a question that is mostly asked by new users, but also by experienced users that are looking for a quick way to compose a song.

The answer to this question is “Yes, but …”. The possilbility to share patterns is probably one of the lesser known features of Hydrogen but it does exist. Now for the but : there are only a couple of patterns available in the library :-(

Maybe you have already created your own private pattern collection and you want to share it with the rest of us ? Or -unlike me- you know what terms like ‘half-time shuffle’ and ‘the double stroke open roll’ mean, and you feel like creating these patterns in Hydrogen?

Click the link below!

YES! i want to help out with this !!

8) Share your videos

On our video page you can find a number of tutorial videos. These video’s have been created by several different Hydrogen users and are a great way for (new) users to get to know Hydrogen’s features.

Have you made videos about Hydrogen ? A tutorial maybe, or a sreencast of you making a song with Hydrogen ? Maybe you have a video of your band performing live with Hydrogen ? Let us know if you do, and we might just add it to the list of videos.

Upload your video to Youtube, Vimeo or some other video hosting site, send us the link and we’ll check it out

YES! i have a video i want to share !!

9) Fix bugs

Yes, Hydrogen has bugs … and we sure can use your help to fix them!

To be able to fix bugs you will need to

  • subscribe to the mailing list

  • learn how to use Git (there are several good tutorials available on the internet : this is a good place to start)

  • get a Github account (not really needed but highly recommended)

  • get the latest source code

New contributors :

To make it as easy as possible for new contributors to get started we created the ‘paper cuts’ label in our issue tracker

The idea is to label ‘easy-to-fix’ issues with this ‘paper cuts’ label so new users can quickly find the ‘easy’ issues and get to know the code while working on it.

Once you feel confident enough you can move on to more complex issues.

Click here to get an overview of all paper cuts issues

Experienced contributors :

This is how it works :

  • go to our issue tracker and browse trough the open issues
  • pick a bug that interests you and let us know that you are about to jump in via the mailing list ! (dont hesitate to ask for tips/help!)

Once you have found a fix for the issue you picked, someone from the Hydrogen team will have a look at it and almost certainly he/she will have some remarks/suggestions. Apply these suggestions and your patch is ready to be added to the main Hydrogen branch.

To allow us to add your patch to the code we urge you to make a Git pull request. This way of working makes it so much easier for us to organize our code properly.

We love small patches! If you have created several fixes please don’t group them in 1 pull request but create several smaller pull request. This makes it a lot easier to pinpoint any problem that might have been introduced in one of the patches.

YES! i want to help out with this !!

10) Add new features

Coming up with an idea for a new feature is great. Sending us a patch for it is better :-)

Let me rephrase that :

Step 1 : the idea

Step 2 : get to know the Hydrogen code base, implement your feature, test it, fix the bugs, retest it, change it … you get the picture :-)

As you can see, the idea is only a small portion of the whole process, and implementing it might be harder than you think.

The best approach is probably to get to know the code by diving in and trying to fix some bugs first

11) Testers

Where there is software, there are bugs …

When a new feature is added to Hydrogen the author of that feature will of course make sure it works on their own PC, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work on all systems (old, new, Linux, OSX, Windows, 32bit, 64bit …) Therefore it is very important that as many people as possible test it on different systems under as many conditions as possible.

Currently there are no test plans (documents that describe how to test a specific aspect of Hydrogen). This means that there is no standardized way to testing Hydrogen. Instead we ask anyone that wants to test Hydrogen to upgrade to the latest** version and verify that their setup still works ok. That way we can can check for regressions (things that used to work but are broken in the latest version)

** The latest version can only be found on our Github repository. You will need some basic knowledge of Git and how to build from source, but we are here to help you and of course you can take a look at the wiki.

YES! i want to test Hydrogen !!

12) Share ideas

If you feel that a feature is missing in Hydrogen, or you have a good idea to improve an existing feature : feel free to post it on the development questions forum so we can brainstorm about it. Once the idea has matured you can create a new ticket in our Github issue tracker and add the ‘question’ label to it. We will have a look at your proposal and see what we can do with it.

Important : please don’t take offense if your idea gets rejected. Not all ideas are feasible to implement or fit within the Hydrogen philosophy. It’s also possible that your idea is already available in Hydrogen, but in a different form than you expected.

If you create a github ticket (as described above) other people that like your idea can add an ‘i like this!’ comment to your ticket. Popular ideas are likely to get implemented quicker than ideas with no ‘likes’, but this is no guarantee.

YES! i have a great idea! take me to the development questions forum !!

13) Donations

You have probably seen this phrase before : ‘If you liked hydrogen, buy us some beer.’

These ‘beer’ donations help us to pay for the hosting of this site. It is by far the easiest way for anyone to contribute.

So if you don’t have the time or none of the other contribution options appeal to you : buy us a ‘beer’ !

14) Contest prizes

A while a go we had our first drumkit contest. The goal was to encourage the Hydrogen users to create and contribute drumkits and this was a great success.

For this first contest we provided the winners with some nice gifts, but for future contests we are looking for a generous sponsor willing to donate a couple of nice prizes (a midi controller or audio interface maybe ?)

The exact conditions are to be discussed (contact us via the mailing list)

YES! i want to sponsor the next contest !!

Yes! I want to help !

First of all :


If you want to get involved you will need to

a) subscribe to the developers mailing list and wait for membership approval

b) once your membership has been approved you need to send us a mail containing the following info :

describe what it is you want to help out with (it’s best to use the ‘role description’ used on this page) introduce yourself briefly Hey! It’s like a job interview, but without any of the annoying questions and assessments ;-) … and also without the salary at the end of the month, but with infinite of love and kudos from the community !

c) after you have emailed us you will be contacted by someone of the dev team and he/she will go over all the details with you. Be patient, the dev team is quite small and we all have busy lives

d) do your thing and submit your work (before your work is accepted we will review it and possibly ask you to make some modifications)

e) once you have contributed ‘enough’ to the project your name will be added to the list of contributors

f) enjoy eternal gratitude from the Hydrogen community

Thank you for contributing !

The Hydrogen team