The Angular Meetup here at HQ on Monday was a really fun event. We had about 60 attendees, and the members of the audience were there to talk to other people about topics ranging from how to use Angular to job opportunities. We had Escape from New York pizza and some Racer 5 IPA. Given how often I hang out at EfNY for a quick lunch when it's late in the afternoon, I can say that it was still incredibly good.
The Lithium space looked great, and our IT and Facilities teams did wonders to ensure overflow seating for up to 120 if we needed it. Donnie delivered an amazing raffle session.
The speaker was Ben Busse from DreamFactory talking about their open source framework for app development based on Angular. Ben covered a fairly sophisticated set of topics regarding how the DreamFactory REST framework can be used with Angular, and how quick it can be to build an app.
Meanwhile, in the audience, @AdamA was flipping through his slides with his game face on. He gave an awesome Lightning Talk about what is going to end up being a great use of Angular in the marketplace, and a real-world example of Angular at Lithium. We will have a lot more to talk about soon publicly regarding our approach. Adam's presentation is the beginning of what we hope will be a much expanded version for partners and future Angular meetups. We are investing in this technology, and it will serve us well as we build out a nimble and customizable extension to our Community product.
Finally, @JackH took the stage to do his Lightning Talk about Angular/D3 open source visualization work that he had done in Labs and was offering as open source. He immediately got some members of the crowd excited about taking a look, and after his session several people asked to connect to Lithium's github repo to see some of the Angular work in action. This was a nice validation of Lithium's open source efforts, and something that will push us further toward making our software available to the broader development community.
Below is the recording of the session. Thanks to all who participated. It was a great opportunity for Lithium to engage with the Angular community, and we will do more of these in the future.
...and the recording:
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Lithium has recently created and published two original Java-based open source projects, Multiverse-test, a test framework allowing Java developers to simulate multiple nodes in a cluster within a single JVM, and StarQL, a framework for creating query languages against any domain model. This is a wonderful milestone for our engineering team.
For many of us who wrote code on these new Lithium components, including me, this was our first experience getting something out into mavencentral. There's a certain pride you take when you see your code sitting out there for other developers to consume. The use cases for these shared components are somewhat narrow, but they are tools we use today to build our products and we hope that others can find them as useful as we do.
Give us feedback if you decide to take one of them for a spin! And of course, fork them to your heart's content.
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Last Thursday, we held our semi-annual Engineering Hackathon at Lithium. For the first time, the event was held in our new SF offices - and as usual simulcast with the crew in Austin. We had participation from teams across Engineering, Product Management, Tech Ops, and even Services and Marketing this time. All told, we had 34 entries from as many teams, ranging in topics from new innovations in how community members interact, to compelling visions for customer support, and a team even put together a Confluence page showing who the most frequent bug fixers, and build breakers are (for better or worse, I was in neither category - this time).
The format we use at Lithium chooses winners from several categories of innovation. We have a track for internal process innovations, one for awesome product ideas, and a category for best working code. We definitely go all-out and do the 24 hours format. In the morning, at 7 am, just to make sure that it was as hard as possible to actually stay up all night, we served waffles and bloody mary's. Starting at promptly 10 AM on Friday, each team had 3 minutes, in a sleep-deprived altered state, to convince the audience that their idea was the best.
While some people generated many lines of code, others took a more balanced approach, like @darrencassar, our MySQL DBA who walked a marathon - all 26.2 miles - on the treadmill under his desk during the event.
The last Hackathon we held was back in February and no fewer than 7 of the 25 entries have made it in some way into the product or near term roadmap. The event generated a ton of good stuff this time around, and we're excited about several of the ideas. The overall winner was a super-group of tech ops team members across Austin and SF, (@JustinFr, @WillY , @AndrewMc, @ChanhD) who worked on an awesome mobile idea. While some winners went iPhone 5s for their prize, discerning consumers like Justin will sport a new Galaxy Tab 3.
Overall, the event is actually great fun, and somehow energizing and exhausting at the same time. Our director of QA, @Nariman (pictured to the right in his tent that he set up for the occasion), and I drove home together after the event, and I was talking to him with one eye closed as half of my body slept.
Next one will be in 2014. We're resting up for it. Check out the photo gallery of the event.
Nariman seeks momentary shelter from hacking
Getting strong now
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