At graze, developers are given the option to spend one day a month as hacker time to work on whatever project they like. Every couple of months we also do a hack day with the entire tech team. Sometimes these are collaborative efforts and sometimes they are competitive, such as one we did last year in conjunction with Rackspace.
In about a week’s time we will be doing another team hack day based on all things Open Source. Open source is important to us at graze as not only do we make use of a lot of open source software, but we also have produced a number of open source tools and libraries. We have an open source guild that is a cross-team group of people that champion open source within the team and are the people behind this hack day. There are some people on the tech team who have not had any exposure to making contributions to open source projects and so hopefully this day will help with that.
While the exact details are still being ironed out, some overall themes for things to work on have emerged.
Internal project issues
There are already a number of issues in Github against our open source projects that are suitable candidates for completing within a day. We will be going through and applying Github labels to allow people to easily find them. This is similar to efforts such as Hacktoberfest (which was one of the inspirations for this day).
Open sourcing internal tools
We have a number of internal tools that we would like to open source. They just need a bit of TLC and some tweaking to conform to our open source standards. Some examples are:
- A tool for seeding databases with development data.
- Our new React-based tech blog.
We use Docker extensively within our development and production environments but there are many projects which pre-date our introduction of Docker in the development workflow. These projects would be ideal for someone who wanted to learn about dockerising a project.
As all developers know, documentation is not always fun to write but is often incredibly valuable to have. Most of our open source projects have a README which gives a basic explanation of what the project is and how to install it. They don’t really go into any depth beyond that. Writing some documentation would be a great way to learn about the projects. There is also the opportunity to introduce new tooling such as MkDocs.
It’s not all about us though. This would be a great chance for people to have a go at making changes to some of the third party tools we are using. This one is the most open ended because there is so much out there to choose from but also perhaps the most exciting because you are out there, “in the wild”!
We are always on the lookout for more things we can do as a team so if you have some other ideas for a tech team hacker day, please don’t hesitate to contact us via Twitter.