Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dev-Evening around a dining table - Developing Digital Craftsmen

TLDR; Lot's of great discussion. No coding. Some interesting projects in the works and we are all agreed that we need to "crack the code" on how to empower more Jamaicans to become "Digital Craftsmen".

I've been trying to figure out a way to get some developers to code together for some time.

Thanks to Khary Sharpe, who launched the Jamaica Software Developers Community at Google+ it has finally happened. The group which is barely weeks old, already boasts almost 50 developers (not all Jamaican, we have at least one Barbadian and an American). I tangent.

As I was saying, I proposed a "Dev-Evening" which is "an invitation to spend a few hours coding around a dining table for an evening". A few persons signed on and here we are.

The purpose?

The idea is to get a few coders and aspiring coders under the same roof to do some code,  hopefully some learning can happen. So we have two designations: Coders and Over-the-shoulderers (Ots).  I also kept it small for two reasons: so that Coders don't get overrun by Ots and I only have so many seats around my dining table.

The Plan

I like structure (sometimes). So I proposed that the meetup have there stages. Stage 1: Introductions and state what you hope to do, Stage 2: Do stuff, ask and answer questions and Stage 3: Wrap up.

What Really Happened

Well the introductions (uhm) never finished. We talked and talked and talked some more. Good conversations. Matthew McNaughton projected some of his vision for the future of SlashRoots.
Marc Gayle is working on a top secret project. I can say that it is built in Ruby on Rails and that it is going to be awesome. Can't say anything else at the moment.

We definitely all agreed that we'd like to see a more structured approach to "raising" "Digital Craftsmen", developers who do more than "slap" a project together. We're trying to figure out an ecosystem that fosters love for coding and entrepreneurship. It's going to involve a lot of bits including: Apprentiship, tools, training, code reviews. On the other side of all of this there we expect that we'll be exporting Digital Craftsmen while others will start businesses that develop web scale products.

We wrapped up with a spontaneous brainstorm around possible business models.

The Future

We all agreed that the conversations were critical and, in a sense, needed catching up. There was valuable exchange and I think it has been a "win" for all of us. In the future I hope to actually do coding at the event. Nothing before it's time.


Matthew, never took out his laptop for the whole time. Very much by the way and much more boring, I'm working on extending a custom Plone Add-on, it needs to be date-time aware so that it shows up in the standard Plone calendar, event listings and search results related to "eventish" objects. It's almost there, so if I'm lucky I'll squash all the bugs and still get to bed before midnight.

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