organizing a hackathon howto and thoughts

Hello all!

I have been thinking about organizing an OpenMRS Hackathon in Vienna, Austria. Dont have any details, so this topic is more about how to do it (ideas, do’s, dont’s) and to get started :slight_smile:

Who: I am thinking of asking a Meetup group (for ex. Java Group or a free code camp group) to organize it with me, so I could get some people to attend and help me with the venue.

When: since I have so many other plans :smile: I would target December, so I have some more time to organize it (get jira issues, make a design forum/or dev forum).

What: Another question is of course: on what to work? When looking at I thought, why not create a theme for the hackathon like a “Clean up” Christmas party :christmas_tree:

Im sure it wouldnt be difficult (guess still time intensive) to generate quite an amount of tickets from the Sonar code smells/issues + some classes that definitely need to be tested or refactored. Since I dont know how many people would attend in the end I would rather have way more tickets.

Also I guess it would be good to coordinate so that there are maintainers online at the same time so code can be reviewed and merged. Dont want people to get bored or angry at me :laughing:

Thank you guys, am looking forward to your feedback!! and help :wink:

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@teleivo this is a great initiative and we shall fully support you!!! :smile:
What dates are you thinking? For how many days do you plan to run the hackathon?

I plan 1 day as I dont know how much time people would be willing to invest. And maybe on Saturday 3.12 or 17.12 (not sure if thats to close to christmas for people).

I am at a meetup tonight and will try to talk to the organizer about it. He might already have experience with organizing hackathons and I guess he knows lots of people from the group, so this will give me a better idea. Will post what I learned tomorrow :slight_smile:

For further logistics:

  • I guess people would need an openmrs id, so they can claim tickets.

Do you know how long that takes? Heard that some people where having trouble getting an openmrs id due to errors on the registration page and then later access to jira took a while due to helpdesk times.

This is great. I’d like to host one too when school starts :slight_smile: Will let you know when am set

@teleivo The OpenMRS Conference Hackathon runs on 10.12 and 11.12, maybe we can join hands somehow as we were planning for remote participation too. Thoughts?

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that would be sooo wonderful but Im traveling that weekend, so I cant :cry:

but we should definitely coordinate issues.

@teleivo, see the How To Organize an OpenMRS Hackathon wiki page (and update it as you have new learnings!).

A lot of the comments on that page are more focused on functional tickets, and less on refactoring/code-smell tickets, but do read the first paragraph. :slight_smile:

Happy to discuss further.

Great idea! I think the 3rd of December might be a tricky date to get support from the OpenMRS developers since most will be about to travel or already traveling to the summit, may be the 17th or as @ssmusoke you can align it with the hackathon in Uganda.

Dear @darius @wyclif and @dkayiwa and of course everyone else :sunny:

New year, same idea, different place :smile: I’m now in Berlin working for ThoughtWorks as a consultant developer and would like to finally organize my first and hopefully more hackathons.

I’ve read the wiki on how to organize one, I have a location and the awesome help of @wolf :blush: who has experience in organizing OpenMRS hackathons. We are discussing dates for one day hackathons (maybe end of march & april); will tell you as soon as we agreed on them.

I would like to focus the hackathons on paying back technical debt. I think this way we might be able to mitigate the issue (that was mentioned in the wiki and the related article) that people coming to hackathons often do not know the projects code base or the domain. I want this to be of help to the community!!! and not just take up your time in reading tickets and reviewing pull requests that are not a priority.

Please share your opinion/advice on the following

Thanks for your help!


Not related to the hackerthon :smile:

@teleivo first I like to say congrats on the new job. Its nice seeing a post again from you after a long while. Welcome back. :slight_smile:

@teleivo good to see your post again and congratulations for joining TW! :smile: Dealing with some aspects of our technical debt looks exciting and achievable. Those sonar issues are easier to prepare, work on, and review. So perfect for a one day hackathon. :slight_smile:

Labeling the tickets is what i have always seen people do in the past. So you are not alone in this line of thinking. :slight_smile:

@teleivo congrats upon your new role, labelling tickets should be able to work.

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Thank you all :blush:

We have set the date for the first hackathon in Berlin on the Sa 22nd April

I created a wiki for the hackathon and a JIRA label ‘hackathon-germany’ as I might organize hackathons in other ThoughtWork cities in Germany later on.

I created a first ticket and would like to start discussion about whether I should proceed with creating issues like that from the sonar rules. And also if you have tickets you want us to tackle please feel free to label them with ‘hackathon-germany’ :grinning:


In previous hackatons, there was some problems with access and everything.

New users can be blocked by our spam filter, and also they don’t have access to write in confluence or they don’t have access to JIRA.

Is there any chance you could convince people to register beforehand? Anyway, PM me later with more details (do they need JIRA access? wiki?)

I have looked at the ticket and it looks perfect. So yes, go ahead. :slight_smile: Since your date is still far, you are going to have to create a good number of them because am sure some of the GSOC aspirants are going to steal some of them. They are juicy! :smile:

Thank you for mentioning this. I wrote that people need to create an OpenMRS ID under a “mandatory pre-hackathon TODOs” section in the wiki. I am creating a meetup event (with link to the wiki) where people will pre-register, where I will also send out a message to the participants maybe two weeks in advance to remind them to create the OpenMRS ID.

When they have created an OpenMRS ID, do they need to create a helpdesk case to get JIRA access? If so can you please point me to the wiki so I can link that into the hackathon wiki instructions. They need JIRA access so they can claim issues.

haha, yes you are probably right :wink: but I wont be sad, since if they complete the tickets they help us anyway :smile: I think its good to have this much advance since its my first one and this way I also dont put to much stress on the ticket reviewers since they have more time.

Yes, they need to go to and request JIRA access (please mention their ID).

I’m OK as well if you send it in batch (as in, one request with several different accounts to be granted access).

They should raise a ticket on the same place if their IP is blacklisted by spam filters too.

This is very good and important information @cintiadr :slight_smile: @teleivo do you think you can add it to our wiki page of how to organize hackathons?

ID Dashboard 2.1 will have it in 2 locations if they haven’t requested access. There’s a dialog that people must dismiss now.

If you know their OpenMRS IDs now…you could probably get a head start