The Magento community has had its fair share of hackathons. Recently, the Contribution Days have been added to this list. But for some people, this has lead to confusion: Are hackathons Contribution Days? Or vice versa? Is it driven by the community or an evil corporation (starting with either A or M)? Here's a peak at the hackathon of MageTestFest (which is only mere weeks away). Driven by me and my 50 Eurocents.
Claudia's blog for context
I would like to point out that this blog is a followup on the blog of Claudia Teubner which was following the feelings of others that hackathons were once good. My blog is a followup on Claudia's - hopefully it is ok for me to mention you here. But the MageTestFest hackathons strategy is not - the ideas were already there for ages, because - as I see it - Claudia and me are on the same level: Hackathons are about people.
It's just that people have different expectations when it comes to voluntary work.
A combination of both
The strategy of the MageTestFest hackathon slash Contribution Day is to combine both: The word hackathon has gotten the meaning that you can pick any topic that you are enthousiastic about and hack away.
With the concept of a Contribution Day, you can work on existing Magento GitHub Issues (you know, bugs in that free open source application that we earn money with) and rely on Magento core developers to help you along with things.
With the MageTestFest hackathon day, there is going to be a part hackathon. With a decent 8 hours during the day, and not skipping nights of sleep like we once did, I'm 40 you know. But in the same energetic room, there is going to be a Contribution Day. And more: Popup sessions, discussions. I'll explain in a bit.
Justifying the Contribution Day concept
Nobody is going to determine that you spend your voluntary time on helping evil corporations. However, the Contribution Day concept is not about that: It is about helping other people who have issues with Magento.
Magento has always been both a company and an open source project. And this has lead to confusion, because where does the effort of the company stop and the effort of open source begin (example: composer
replace tricks versus bundled extensions). Still, the community project exists thanks to the company. And one place where you can see that relationship is during a Contribution Day: The company makes it possible for engineers to spend a whole day with open source developers to improve the product. And for that matter, the entire Community Engineering department is based on that idea.
The Contribution Day is not enforcing you to work for free on issues that concern Magento as a company. The Contribution Day is allowing you to fix outstanding bugs for others, while Magento employees will provide any help possible.
Multi-topic Contribution Day
With MageTestFest, things are even a bit more special: It is not just that the Contribution Day crew (with Max and others) is there. Additionally, people from Magento Marketplace (with their EQP2 project, Ravi Menon, perhaps more) and Magento Functional Testing Framework (Tom Erskins) will be there to help you get the best out of Magento coding with quality.
With more than just hacking
With previous hackathons I organized, I tried to mix up different concepts and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. So this time, instead of just putting the ingredients together, we are going to bake the cake together: In the morning, there will be clear instructions on how to proceed, which area is designated for what purpose.
Even better, if you bring great minds together, there is a need for discussion and learning as well: To facilitate this, there will be break-out sessions on specific topics (quality debates, popup topics), just to make sure that everybody is involved in what they were interested in.
A hackathon is not just about people, it's not just about contributions, it's about learning from each other.
MageTestFest is merely weeks away. Get your tickets now.