I’ve just came back from first Hackergarten in Gdansk (which also happened to be first one in Poland as well!) organised by Tom, Kuba & Michał, hosted by Spartez and boy, it was awesome!
If you don’t know what Hackergarten is tl;dr version is:
Hackergarten is (…) a [developers’] playground (…). Our goal is to create something that others can use; (…) [i.g.] working software (…). Our intent is to end each meeting with a patch (…) submitted to an open and public project. (…)
Since I no longer program at my work, I occasionally participate in similar events because I don’t want to get rusty and c’mon, programming is just fun – you can’t just quit it! On the other hand I usually don’t participate in many hands-on events since I’m not as fluent as full-time programmer and in case of i.g. iOS TDD Workshop (#TODO maybe I’ll cover it another post) I enjoyed it very much but frankly speaking I didn’t finish half of exercises in timely manner on my own as had only experience with one simple iOS app a year earlier. But this event was different.
Hackergarten’s agenda was pretty straightforward: person who was submitting Open-Source project proposal was pitching it to the rest of participants. At the end everybody have chosen which project are they joining – ideally groups of 2-3 developers should be created. Another rule of this event was that it should end with contribution which in most cases was a pull request. We’ve chosen to work on popcorn-Time, but I’ll cover that in another post. There were quite a few teams as whole event was attended by 21 developers and if I’m not missing anything 5 teams ended with a pull request – IMO pretty neat result.
What made the whole event so awesome to me? First of all it was people attending. Of course I knew few folks earlier. But majority were unknown to me as I haven’t participated in any of earlier Java User Group events. It’s similar thing to conferences: when it comes to presentations at most half of them are good, but part where I benefit the most is getting to know people and talking to them exchanging opinions, experiences, build some fun relationships. Second of all construction of this event allows me to prepare a little bit beforehand and I don’t have to program as fast as everybody else because we can split work accordingly. But what mattered to me most in that regard was ability to pair program with more experienced folks.
I guess that I just don’t have another choice than add Hackergarten to my calendar on regular basis. And I strongly recommend it to others. (-;