Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First ever Vancouver Eclipse Hackathon...success!

Last night we had our first Vancouver Eclipse Hackathon. It was a wonderful night, and we had 20 Eclipse hackers showing up with all kinds of experience. The goal of the evening was to introduce some programmers to Eclipse-based open source projects, to help them collaborate and learn about the project, and maybe even contribute some code. Some hackers had written Eclipse plugins before, others knew nothing about Eclipse (other than it being a great Java IDE), and a few didn't even know Java. It was a good range of people and we spent almost six hours working on our bugs.

Working on quick-assists inside of Groovy-Eclipse

Team working on mark-occurrences in the Groovy editor.

Some Mylyn Hackers working together.

More hacking.

Almost complete silence in the room as everyone concentrates on their bugs.

Happy birthday, Eclipse!

And here are the results of the evening:

  • 20 hackers (including two project leads)
  • 6 hours of hacking
  • 24 bottles of beer drunk
  • 6 pizzas eaten
  • Half of an Eclipse 10 year birthday cake eaten
  • 3 Eclipse-based projects worked on: Mylyn, AJDT, and Groovy-Eclipse
  • 12 bugs worked on
  • 3 patches submitted
  • 2 more patches in process
  • Fun had by all

It was encouraging to see the dedication of all the hackers. We will definitely be hosting another one soon. However, we did learn a few things about organizing hackathons that we will do differently next time:

  • Make it easy for hackers to set up their dev environments. Put up instructions a few days before so hackers can get ready before the hackathon and they don't have to spend 90 minutes setting up before starting.
  • Internet connections can be unreliable and slow. Have USB sticks available with Eclipse SDK tarballs for different environments. Also, have some workspaces set up with the source code of the projects checked out.
  • Try to have more projects and more project leads available. This time, we only had three projects and two project leads, but more variety would have been nicer. We were originally expecting more leads to show up, but they had to cancel.
  • Have a very concise list of bugs for hackers to work on. Be very specific about how to get started working on them.

Also, a huge thanks to the other co-organizers of this event Ducky Sherwood and Zoe Jong from Tasktop Technologies.

If you want to organize a hackathon in your area, drop me a line and I can help you get started. It is a fun time.