07 December, 2010

GNOME Development Documentation and Tools Hackfest 2010.

I spent the last 4 days attending the Gnome Development Documentation and Tools Hackfest, which was held at Openismus offices in Berlin. The venue was just the most convenient for the event, since with such weather (-15ºC one of the days), the days turned to be very productive... no one wanted to spend much time outside!.

Almost all the attendees arrived during Wednesday evening and to compensate their (most of them) long journeys, we had a great dinner at the Massai's African restaurant (courtesy of Openismus). Hard work started the day after.

We spent almost one day trying to make an agenda with the topics we would like to cover during the hackfest and finally focused on two main themes, the "GNOME developer platform" and the "developer stories" or put another way, "who is going to use GNOME and what for?". After this, we did some brainstorming on the way we wanted to make this possible and some ideas came out.

First, we realized after some discussion, that most of the people find it difficult to know how to get started working on GNOME, so one of the agreement points from the very beginning, was that a platform overview needs to be done. Here, questions such as 'where is 'x'?' and 'what is 'x' for?', among others, would be answered. We also want to do this in a way that is attractive for getting developers involved and convince managers that GNOME makes the difference. After some more discussion and work, the idea took form and now you can already see the results in the form of a screenshot.

An other idea that we decided to put into practice, was the initiative of writing  ten-minute introduction tutorials for various GNOME technologies (first in five target languages: C, C++, Python, Vala and Javascript) in order to show what kind of easy and amazing things one is able to do in a lunch break time period. I was involved in this team and my task was to create a very small simple image viewer GTK+ application in the C language (the tutorial is coming soon). For writing the documentation, we decided to use Mallard, so Schaun gave us a small and very useful introduction on it. You can see all the mini applications and some of the tutorials in the GNOME git repository. Please note that they haven’t been fully reviewed yet.

The hackfest went very nicely and the desire of being collaborative and helpful was present during the whole event. I am happy I was there and had the chance to meet all these people and be useful in a way. Thanks to everybody for comming, as well as to those who read in the planet GNOME that we were meeting, and just appeared by own iniciative in the office and joined us, like Konstantine or Clemens, which might join us at the Desktop Summit 2011 with some cool design thinking workshop again!!

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