Daniel Roy Greenfeld

Daniel Roy Greenfeld

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July 15th, 2012 LA Open Source Recap

On July 15th, 2012, at the July LA Hackathons Open Source event, over 60 Python, Django, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, PHP, JavaScript, Node.js, Perl, and Clojure developers arrived to work on a variety of projects. We went from 10 AM to 10 PM, and there was much coding and learning done by all. There was a very powerful vibe shared by nearly everyone there, and it was great to see so many people from different personal and open source backgrounds working together and having a great time as a group.

Filtering out distractions

We made some changes to our proceedings for this event, entirely because last time with 'distractions' that caused some issues. In a nutshell, here is 50% of what we did:

  1. A clear statement in the event description and follow up emails that this event was for developers and designers only.
  2. Laptops were an absolute requirement for entry into the event.

We also rolled in a couple other tricks I'm not going to write down. If you see me in person, ask away. The results were near perfect, and we won't hesitate to use these techniques again.


We let attendees know which sponsors were interested in potential new hires, in this case, Originate and Cars.com. This sort of low-key technique helps us land sponsors but doesn't annoy attendees. Speaking of sponsors, here they are in alphabetical order:

Code/Projects worked on

Next time I'm going to be a lot more careful about getting down the details of what people did. Maybe a signup sheet or an online form? Heck, sounds like a great quick project for next time!

Django Sprints

My conservative estimate is that we had 12 people working on Django or Django related projects. That's at least 20% of attendees. Unfortunately, because I'm not a Django core developer, I wasn't reviewing commits; so I am not entirely sure what was being worked on. I do know that I wasn't the only person to commit to core Django.

As for me, I continued my efforts started at DjangoCon Europe to refactor the Class Based Views documentation. I got in two pull requests and finally managed to badly teach myself how to use git rebase.

note: I want to make it exceedingly clear that I'm not the only one working the CBV doc refactor. I'm just one of the fold.


During meals we tried to keep people's hands off the keyboard. Specifically everyone got a chance to state their name, toolset they were working with, and something interesting/embarrassing about themselves. Three of the more memorable ones:

  • An 8 year old attendee wrote his first 4 PHP programs!
  • sym_kat is invited to speak at the next London Perl Workshop.
  • Someone employed at SpaceX took Zed Shaw's LPTHW class taught by the man himself at Cartwheel Web HQ in 2011 got himself moved from the C# to the Python team. Go open source!

Closing thoughts

There were a few glitches, but nothing major. Most of those glitches stem from us coming off two months of helping organize multiple events while traveling literally around the world. I think things would have been better if I had delegated more to the right people.

For the most part, there was this electrifying energy that had people focused and working on what they wanted all day. Yet it wasn't all heads-down-coding, their was some good coder-to-coder discussion and fun. The result is at the end of the day people seemed refreshed and empowered, wanting another day as soon as possible. We hope to be able to catch this feeling at future events.

Update: Corrected the details about the SpaceX guy.

Tags: python django php Los Angeles clojure ruby nodejs
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