2012 Hydra Developers Congress


From December 3-5, the Avalon Media System developers were at the University of California-San Diego for the Hydra Developers Congress, or "Hackathon." The Hackathon consisted of approximately 20 developers from institutions around the country, mainly universities but also MediaShelf and the Boston Public LibraryMichael B. Klein and Adam Hallett (Northwestern University) and Chris Colvard and Phuong Dinh (Indiana University) represented the Avalon Media System. Project Director Jon Dunn (Indiana University) also attended, though he took part in the Strategic Planning Meeting and not the Hackathon. 


When the developers returned, I asked them a few questions about their trip.


How does Avalon use Hydra?


"It's a framework that Avalon developers are building on to create the Avalon Media System. The main interface is a Ruby application built pretty much entirely using Hydra." -Phuong


What was the goal of the Hydra Hackathon?


"Hydra partner meetings are quarterly gatherings for developers and managers to come together and solve a problem or chart a trajectory. This time around, developers wanted more developer-only time. The Hackathon was totally separate--developers coding (and talking when necessary) and managers discussing in another area." -Chris


What was the agenda like?


"The call for agenda items was posted beforehand. When we arrived, certain things on the list--bugs, new features to be added, discussions--were chosen and we broke up into groups by topic. After that, it was totally freeform." -Adam


Was anything Avalon-related discussed?


"Whether, when, and how to package Avalon's core functionality as a reusable gem for other Hydra heads (see Sufia, developed from PSU's ScholarSphere, for an example of another gem-ified Hydra application)." -Michael


"Things that we are doing in Avalon that might be pulled into the Hydra-head core."-Phuong


Did you leave with any new insights or ideas?


"We discussed the future of defined XML terminologies using nom-xml instead of OM. I'm particularly interested in the nom-xml work, as well as the work being done to build a Rubygem ecosystem around Hydra with a lot of plug-in functionality as opposed to application-based silos." - Michael


What was your favorite part of the trip?


"It was great to connect with the Hydra community. People are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, so it's exciting to learn from them." -Phuong


"Collaborating with other developers to work on the Hydra tutorial." -Adam


"I most enjoyed spending time away from Avalon to dig into the internals of Hydra. I was able to get problems that we had run into fixed." -Chris

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