Hack-a-thon May 2020 - a review

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Hack-a-thon May 2020 - a review

Alfresco Employee
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May 11, 2020 saw the DevCon hackathon take place as a virtual event. The ‘follow the sun’ hackathon produced a number of notable projects, more of which later.

Pros & Cons of Virtual

While we are all sorry to have missed out on meeting face to face in London, we did benefit from having people join the hackathon from around the globe, particularly from India and the US.

So, one benefit of a virtual hackathon is that it allows people from around the globe to participate in a way that physical events can’t. That said, Alfresco Hackathons have always been hybrid in-person and virtual events.

And while there were some really good discussions going on during May 2020, I personally missed the chance to physically meet and interact with my peers in the Alfresco community. Sometimes the best moments at a conference or hackathon happen outside the coding rooms, when serendipity and networking happen. So, all the more reason to see if we can get DevCon back on the road sometime in 2021!

The Projects

While Hackathon is often about the code, not all May 2020 projects were just about coding. A nice example is Tom Page’s blog post on Community Mirroring with Git, which he wrote during hackathon. The post looks at managing public access to parts of a private Git repository. This is also a good example of how hackathon can produce results that are relevant beyond the Alfresco community, in the true spirit of open source.

In a similar vein, Jeff Potts was able to use Hackathon to update his seminal tutorials, the Alfresco developer series. These tutorials are a core community resource for people getting started with Alfresco, and so having them current and up to date is really important to the community.

However, for many people, Hackathon is a chance to scratch a particular code itch, whether that’s to address an annoying bug or introduce a new feature, or even experiment with other coders.

Alfrescan Angel Borroy, had a particularly productive time, working on a number of projects:

TietoEvry provided two teams. One developed an Alfresco garbage collector monitor, to help track down possible performance issues, nicely presented in a ADF admin tab or in the Alfresco Admin console.

Tieto’s Indian team in Pune, worked on developing Content Models OOTB Support Tools, to list all the content models and interrogate their properties from within Admin.

Venzia IT also provided a team tasked with improving Alfresco Content Search Experience, by adding highlighted search terms in the results and preview for PDF-A formats. This was built using ADF 3.8.0 and tested on ACS 6.2.

Adrien Sauvez, of Smile, worked on implementing GraphQL endpoint for Alfresco. GraphQL is an alternative to ReST and Adrien implemented several endpoints in Alfresco.

This is not the definitive list of projects and their participants, and I’ll update this review as more information arrives. So, keep checking for updates! There will also be close up looks at some of the projects in separate posts - so another reason to keep checking back!

I'm looking forward to the next hack-a-thon!

About the Author
My own background is in Java and PHP development. I’ve previously worked with Alfresco and more recently with Open Source software such as Joomla & Magento as a freelance developer.