13 September 2011

Getting Started with Hackergarten

Hackergarten is a computer programming contributor group. Read more about Hackergarten here. To join the group either find an existing Hackergarten near you, or start your own. This is a step by step list of what I did when I started Hackergarten Vienna.

The Simple Way to Start a Hackergarten
  1. Contact a few people that might be interested.
  2. Find some Open Source committers and the smallest tickets/ideas to implement from their projects. Usually committers are short on personal time anyway and will love to find someone who is willing to help.
  3. Ask them to create a list of possible things to do in advance and publish it. Maybe have a theme for a night.
  4. Determine the preconditions (what is needed to code...) and publish them, so people are able to instal before.
  5. Find a place with wireless network. Most likely this is the office of a small company, e.g. Canoo or Sphinx. You might also find some pub with a separate room/wireless for no charge.
  6. Negotiate a proper date and time. At least for the first time. Then having a fixed time, e.g. first Tuesday each month is probably the best.
  7. Meet.
  8. Discuss the agenda for max. 15 minutes, do not discuss too long.
  9. Have food and drink ready so people do not have to leave for it.
Read the Hackergarten FAQ for further details and what to avoid.

What to Do
There have been all kinds of contributions made during a Hackergarten. Here are some general ideas what to do during a Hackergarten:
  • Fixing an outstanding ticket (bug) in project X, submitting a patch.
  • Writing Javadocs/doc pages for project Y.
  • Building a plugin for project Z.
  • Making screen casts showing how you can integrate W with Q.
  • Writing a new feature for project P.
  • Create a kata cast.
Also everything applies from Ways to Contribute to Open Source without Being a Programming Genius or a Rock Star.