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Grace Hopper Open Source Day


Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to work with 20 incredible women on building some apps for a good cause.

Grace Hopper Open Source Day has over 200 people working on different projects. From high school girls working on games, to professionals making updates to Firefox, to humanitarian efforts, Open Source day is all about volunteers getting together and bringing an open source project forward.

The project

Our specific project was chartered by Microsoft Disaster Response and Humanitarian Toolbox. Humanitarian Toolbox  is a set of ready to deploy solutions, designed, built and maintained by a virtual organization of volunteer engineers.

Crisis Checkin

Our specific team worked on the Crisis Checkin project, which is all about helping organize volunteers in a crisis. In some disaster situations there can be hundreds of volunteers, and it can be difficult and unwieldy to track those volunteers, and get them organized.

This video does a great job of explaining the challenge, to led to the spark for the project. Due to some some great volunteer efforts in the past, we already have a Crisis Checkin website created that starts to solve the problem.

The goal

We had an amazing goal for the day: to start mobile apps for Windows Phone, Android and iOS for Crisis Checkin and get them submitted to the open source project on GitHub. That is a very tall order given we only had six hours to work on it together. We divided into four teams:

1) Windows Phone app

2) Android app

3) iOS app

4) Server-side modeling

What was accomplished

It was an intense six hours, where we went from getting organized, to getting setup, to getting designs started, getting it coded, and finally getting it all submitted to GitHub.

New Windows Phone app

Starting from scratch, they adapted the basic sketches into a better Windows Phone design, and built the landing page with dummy data! All submitted to GitHub!


New Android app

Starting from scratch, they created a new design for Android, got the app icon created, got the homepage setup with some dummy data and submitted to GitHub! They even had it up and running on an Android phone!

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New iOS app

Starting from scratch, they took some simple app design sketches and created a new iOS app with the landing page, login screen and the scaffold for getting the data populated in the view. All submitted to GitHub!

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Data Model Plan

They looked at the mobile app designs, and existing web services and came up with an actionable plan for exposing the Crisis Checkin services as a Rest API. Tget created detailed API requirements and descriptions in place so the next hackathon can pick up where we left off to wire up the apps to the services! These API requirements are submitted to GitHub!

User Scenario Documents

They created user scenarios for the mobile app and thought through how people will be using these apps in the field. These user scenario documents can be used multiple times to help validate that we’re building the right features in the apps! The user scenario documents are submitted to GitHub for the next set of people to use!

What’s next?

There were a ton of really excited folks who wanted to keep contributing to the project. The great news is all of the code and resources are in the main HTBox GitHub repo, so folks can just fork that project and start making changes! Feel free to check it out if you’re interested!

We had fun

I had an amazing time working with everyone! There was a lot of excitement, ups and downs and ultimately a ton delivered in a short time frame! In all of the excitement there was a great camaraderie that was built between everyone and we had a ton of fun! This was my first open source day, but it definitely won’t be my last!




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