Hacking Makes You Lose Ctrl: The Return of the OPF Hackathon

Hacking Makes You Lose Ctrl: The Return of the OPF Hackathon

The Open Preservation are pleased to announce our 2023 Hackathon!



Our Github


#OPFHACKATHON | The Hack is Back
#OPFHACKATHON | The Hack is Back

This summer, the OPF is holding a two-month hackathon. If this gives you a warm tingle of anticipation as you wonder what you might work on, good. It’ll be great to see you at the event. On the other hand, you might think, “It’s not for me. I’m not a software developer”. Worse yet, the thought might make you slightly queasy or simply leave you wondering, “What’s that”. Read on to find out why there’s no need to be nervous and what you might get out of/bring to this year’s event.

While it’s our first in three years, it’s far from our first hackathon. In-person three-day hackathons were regular events during OPF’s formative years. These paired digital preservationists and their problems with software developers. Participation could be an intense experience, often featuring late pizza-fueled evenings. Each small team worked on their chosen/assigned problem with occasional group updates and a final group “judging” session. Attendees were expected to come with the skills required to “do their thing”, and the atmosphere could get lightly competitive. These events were fun, but the resulting code was rarely developed further following the event. The hosts also incur considerable organisational, operational and financial overheads.

More recently, the OPF changed the format and aims of our hackathons. The events have been virtual and have lasted one to three weeks. This allows participants more flexibility to attend when convenient while making organisation easier. We’ve also abandoned the “challenge” format, where people bring their institutional problems and develop new software. Instead, we ask participants to make contributions to OPF software and supporting resources, for example, documentation. To facilitate this, OPF helps people to acquire the knowledge and skills required to contribute as part of the hackathon.

The summer hackathon will start on June 19th for ten weeks with the following aims:

  • Help people in the DP community acquire the skills they need to contribute to OPF projects.
  • Offer help and tutorials for OPF software users and contributors.
  • Produce/improve the collateral resources for OPF projects, e.g. documentation and websites.
  • Improve the overall quality of OPF software.
Carl Wilson says 'we're only in it for the bugs', a play on the title of the third studio album by American rock band the Mothers of Invention - 'we're only in it for the money'
Carl Wilson says ‘we’re only in it for the bugs’, a play on the title of the third studio album by American rock band the Mothers of Invention – ‘we’re only in it for the money’
Darren Dignam says 'things aren't always #OOOOOO and #FFFFFF', aka 'things aren't always black and white'
Darren Dignam says ‘things aren’t always #OOOOOO and #FFFFFF’, aka ‘things aren’t always black and white’

There will be occasional meetings where participants can choose what they want to work on and ask for help if they’re stuck. Throughout, we will be hosting a new community forum where you can post your questions, tips or tricks. The OPF will also run short introductory webinars to help attendees get up to speed with contributing to OPF projects:

  • A beginner’s guide to GitHub, creating an account and how to raise an issue.
  • OPF documentation on GitHub, introducing GitHub pages and how to create a documentation website.
  • A guide to the new JHOVE project structure and making documentation or code contributions

Later in the summer, we will demonstrate some lesser-known features of OPF tools, including the veraPDF policy engine. We’ll also be listening to you and will cover ad-hoc topics if there is enough interest among the attendees. It’s been a few years since our last event, and we’re looking forward to it. For many OPF staff, it will be their first hackathon. Why not make it yours?

Leave a Reply

Join the conversation