RFC: Act Hackathon in Oslo in 2015

Philippe Bruhat (BooK) philippe.bruhat at free.fr
Wed Jun 18 14:27:17 CEST 2014

On Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 06:52:02PM +0200, Stefan Hornburg (Racke) wrote:
> > 
> > I don't have any dates or details to offer yet, but if the list is
> > interested in helping making this happen, I'd like to aim for having
> > the hackathon in April or May (having said that, I ask that I and
> > Oslo.pm get to decide the dates for the hackathon, so that we can make
> > the most out of our resources.)

I think April/May clashes with the Perl QA Hackathon, which I'd love to
attend. As you can guess, I'd also love to attend a Act hackathon.

> > Oh, and on a personal note; I think there's a real need to Make Stuff Happen with Act, but I might be wrong or at the very least delusional that we can make something happen. 

I agree that Act needs some love.

> > If you can commit to help in a meaningful way, please reply (publicly) to this message with your formal non-revocable commitment announcement! ;)

> Great idea! Act needs definitely more love. From my point of view, I would like to add a full-fledged API to it in order allow to run your
> own Act app based on the framework of your choice like Dancer2!

API is definitely the way to go. This is what I had in mind for Act2.
(and by "in mind" I really mean that nothing ever happended outside of
my head...)

Some of my main goals for Act2:
- keep what made Act successful (multi-conference, multi-language, sharing
  the data between conferences, integrated payment system, template-driven)
- a main site for everything not tied to a conference (personal
  preferences, etc)
- for organizers, everything should be doable from a web interface,
  including setting up a new conference (once you've been given sufficient
- not Perl-centric
- an API, which would enable CLI tools, setting up your own web interface
  instead of the one provided by Act, etc.
- CLI tools should be available at all levels, even attendees or anonymous
- groups of conferences / plugins (as in "these properties should only
  show up for Perl conferences", "my conference does not need a wiki")
- actually, conference "profiles" (sets of plugins), and "generic conferences"
  (like, define a "French Perl Workshop" profile, and give a number of people
  some right on it, so that they can independently create the next one,
  give further rights on that, etc)
- better support for user-preferences (date formats, timezones, languages)
- support for smaller events (Perl mongers meetings, hackatons)
- better support for "historical data" (updating your generic user profile
  or your profile for ye2014 should probably not update your profile for
  ye2003. Or maybe in some case it should. The user decides.)

Another important point for me is being able to support all existing
conferences, but I think that can be kept for later stages (including
a data-munging phase where we convert old conferences to the new scheme
(which is what I did with ye2003)).

There's one thing I'd love to have: a "decentralized" database, which
would enable:
- having several independent "authorities" that can run their DB locally
  (i.e. close to the main web server), so that the Japanese Perl community
  doesn't need to run its huge conferences on a European server
- working in a disconnected way (eg the admission desk at a conference)

Note that a decentralized database is certainly a complex thing to setup
(I think masak might have some good ideas on the topic) and that not
everything has to be shared betweeen different instances (e.g. payment data).

My opinion is that an effort on Act2 should first focus on the data and
on an API. What is the important stuff about people and events? I think
the idea of a conference toolkit can be generalized to work with any
"gathering of people", possibly down to work-meeting-sized stuff.(*)

Working on an API makes it easier to focus on the data (which is the value
of Act) and to leave working on other things for later (the web framework,
the conference management tools, etc). I think Act2 should come up with a
web application (with better support for conference-specific templates),
but should not be tied to it (so that others can do something else with
it, like a smartphone app).

Act is a rewrite of the ad-hoc tool we made for ye2003. It's probably time
for another rewrite.

(*) and there maybe lies the idea for a startup...

 Philippe Bruhat (BooK)

 No matter who you may be, there is always someone who is a little worse
 because he thinks he is a little better.
                                     (Moral from Groo The Wanderer #3 (Epic))

More information about the Act mailing list