It has been a very busy year. Swept up in the pandemic with the rest of the world, our local communities did their best to make hackathons a meeting point for data activists and concerned citizens.
It's proven hard to find my way back here after the summer, but I found the motivation today to pen some updates on the work happening around dribdat, an open source code base underlying efforts of civic activism, through hackathons making a difference. For, in these hurried times, we need hackathons to help us to find each other.
What a year. Swept up in the pandemic with the rest of the world, our local communities did their best to make hackathons a meeting point for data activists and concerned citizens. New communities formed across continents and oceans. Some plans got pushed forward, in hopes of healthier times, some org-teams went fully virtual. Digitize in hope that all the things will work out ✌️
Since February, Dribdat was used to help produce these events:
At the beginning of March, a virtual hackday by Opendata.ch to dive into Open Energy Data, which will have a physical+virtual rerun next week (August 28-29) in Brugg, Switzerland.
Later in March, a week long event to catalyse Open Covid-19 Monitoring efforts. In a webinar with the Public Health association, Matthias gives an excellent retrospective of this event, and the role that data collaboration played in the Swiss response to the pandemic:
In June, the 2020 Edition of the Swiss Open Cultural Data Hackathon (#GLAMhack) was fully Dribdat-powered with a new hack.glam. server dedicated to hosting this and future events.
(And a good an excuse as any to do some creative chatbot coding!)
In July, the EvalHack event dedicated to international development evaluation, saw over 150 users - many of whom were decidedly non-techie - posting to the Dribdat-powered site. The org team went to a lot of effort to make the experience as friendly and well supported as possible, and funded new features in the project.
Through each of these, attention, support and resources have flown into the project. Thank you in particular to IPDET and the organizing team led by Jeremias Wyss for their contributions and feedback.
I am very grateful to the Statistics department of the Canton of Zurich for engaging the Swiss open data community in unprecedented efforts in organized data collections. They put platforms like Dribdat and GitHub to use in the way we always said they should be.
Thanks go kindly to everyone in the Opendata.ch, ONIA and CH Open associations for their continued enthusiasm and vision. One can really look forward to our fall events!
Here are some of the latest changes to the code, with links to the Pull Request if you're in the mood to read some Python:
- Progress reports happen in a separate form, with short texts inspired by social networking
- Added support for OAuth 2.0 via Flask Dance, allowing users to log in through Slack or other platforms
- Various web analytics platforms can be configured and used site wide, usability of project pages improved
- Refresh of the API, and with it better support for Dridbot, our open source and multi-platform hackathon chatbot
One more thing. In April, we helped to run VersusVirus, a mega-event with over 5'000 participants, where Dribdat was a key reference point for developing the team-building process and online platform. We wrote about this extensively on the forum and in our association blog, though really it would take a book to relay the experience... someday.
We helped to bring this event to Canada and again in Switzerland in May, learning and tweaking along the way. One of the most exciting areas of development is in renewing the focus on acknowledging and benefiting our individual contributors, generating pride in our work and value in our contribution of time and energy.
More on this soon. In the meantime, there's a busy fall ahead!
If you would like to contribute, please take a look at the open issues and follow @dribdat for updates. There are design discussions where you can drop in and share your opinion. You can of course deploy it yourself or contact us for help setting up Dribdat for your event. Try to come to one of our upcoming hackathons. Last but not least: every bit of financial contribution will go towards enabling 100% open source work and put you in our list of valued contributors at OpenCollective.
And if all else fails, I'm always happy to chat about #dribdat over coffee (and, optionally, a mini-hackathon ;)