OSCOM Hackathon

in conjunction with
ACM Hypertext 2004, Santa Cruz, August 9-13, 2004

"OSCOM Hackathon"

Duration: 2 days

What is a hackathon / sprint?

A sprint is a multi-day session of intense development organized around extreme programming (XP) ideas such as pair programming. The idea originates in the Zope community.

Sprinting Explained

For the development of Zope3, Tres Seaver at Zope Corporation launched a concept called "sprints", based on ideas from the extreme programming (XP) community. A sprint is a two or three day focused development session, in which developers pair in a room and focus on building a particular subsystem.

This model has worked well for the initial Zope Corporation-only sprints. We'd like to try out the sprinting model for OSCOM. This helps accomplish the goal of getting OSCOM interop projects off the ground. Additionally, though, this establishes leadership in the community by sharing development approaches, intense sessions of focused communication on a topic, and explaining in person the OSCOM development model.

A sprint is organized with a coach, such as Jim Fulton from the Zope community, leading the session. The coach sets the agenda, uses the whiteboard to track activities, and keeps the development moving. The developers work in pairs using XP's pair programming approach. One of the pairs needs to be a veteran sprinter. Some sprints are focused on a specific topic, like internationalization or cataloging.

The sprint approach works best when the first few hours are spent getting oriented. This means presenting the OSCOM goals, getting everyone's computers working with the CVS server, etc. The need to have a veteran in each pair can be a limit on the number of pairs, which shouldn't go above four (for a total of eight sprinters). The coach can be a veteran in a pair.

Needless to say, a sprint needs a host to provide the space and connectivity. Whiteboards are usually needed. All sprinters should bring their own laptops with ethernet connections.

At the end of the sprint, code is produced and OSCOM (and, by exentension, the member projects) moves forward.

Workshop theme and goals

OSCOM wants to organize a hands-on workshop that focusses on finding common solution to hard content management problems. OSCOM has run such workshops in the past.

The goal of the workshop is to build consensus around a topic such as WebDAV, site maps, web site introspection, authoring APIs and then write code to build support into various projects. the close cooperation at the workshops has been very inspirational and productive in the past.

Outcomes of the workshop

Running code that implements the consensus of the workshop in different systems. Advancing the understanding of practical aspects of the topics relevant to Hypertext 04. Cross pollination between hypertext researchers and implementers.

Intended audience

Hypertext 04 attendees with an interest in practical applications of hypertext research. Also, the general public to swell the numbers of attendees and provide a broader range of participants. Programming experience is a plus, but not required.

Description of activities planned

Setting goals for the day in advance, using and other electronic channels. On the day of the event, rapid brainstorming and introduction (the expectation being that attendees show up with prepared laptops that contain all required software) to the tasks at hand. Discussion in small groups. Pair programming to achieve results.

Required equipment

Attendees will bring their own computers.

Submission Details

Submit your Hackathon ideas to the mailing list, with an appropriate subject, and participiate in the discussion.

The mailing list participants will review the submitted ideas and prepare the workshop.

Workshop Organizer

Gregor J. Rothfuss
Wyona AG
Hardstrasse 219
8004 Zurich
Phone: +41 1 272 91 61