London Hack weekend April 2011

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Saturday morning hacking
More photos on Flickr

The London Hack weekend April 2011 is a past event which took place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of April in London


Thanks to AOL for providing a great venue, and Matt (who works there) for sorting this out, and generally doing the organising. The venue was two large meeting rooms in their London offices at 11-20 Capper Street (WC1E 6JA), near UCL, map.

Thanks to Andy Allan for running tutorial sessions (details below)

Who was there?

For sure

Add yourself here if you're planning to come:


Other names on the list who (I dont think) showed up

Things we hacked upon

  • Potlatch 2 - Andy did an excellent presentation introducing the basics of Potlatch 2 development. We carried out some final refinements to Potlatch 2 before making the switch so that this is now the default editor on the edit tab. Also various people got involved in Potlatch 2 hacking following Andy's presentation. Among the work carried out:
    • Internationalisation improvements
    • Various new icons
    • Fixes to problematic advanced tag view
    • Prevent keys/values exceeding 255 characters
    • Correctly redraw junction nodes when removed from a way
    • Support for TMS tile-numbering scheme (as requested by Serge)
    • Make fewer /map calls and keep more stuff in memory
    • Load relations by ID - not live yet
    • New magic POI-to-polygon tool (as requested by Steve) - not live yet
  • Website - (The Rails Port) - minor UI tweaks following Andy's presentation/discussion of things to improve. TomH also worked on compatibility with rails 3 and PostgreSQL 9.0+. Matt hacked on some stuff to move to the next phase of the license implementation plan. Dan improved the mobile stylesheet to make the pages more smartphone friendly.
  • CGImap - Matt (with remote assistance from Ian & Kai) implemented more API calls in C++ to reduce congestion on the backend servers.
  • Toilets! - Gregory made some progress on, and showed this to Gail Knight. He made a start on some editing functionality using Harry's php editor code (doing OAuth). - As a result of the weekend, testing of the editor is available on request.
  • Harry looked at Firefishy's l33t-h4x0r-script and decided it needed comments to make it less l33t-h4x0rish
  • Harry also did some communications working group work, making some progress on a Wordpress theme and MediaWiki skin for the site (not deployed yet)
  • There were other things. Edit the page to add them here!

What is this? Event format

An OpenStreetMap "hack weekend" is a meet-up where we bring along laptops to an office space and spend the weekend doing some technical work to improve OpenStreetMap. This may be development of the "core" components, the editors, or any other side projects and pet projects we fancy hacking on. OpenStreetMap has development tasks sprouting from it in all directions. There's work to do almost in any programming language, as well as tasks like documentation, and even some non-technical graphics design and translation tasks.

We mostly take a fairly unstructured free-form format. People turn up and start beavering away on something, or they turn up and see what they can help with. However...


This time around there is a plan to follow a workshop format for at least some of time. These are all hands-on, helping you not only learn about the topics, but get set-up with a development environment on your laptop. You can join in with the workshops, or hack on your own projects, or both.

Themes for workshops:

  • The Rails Port - A Quick tour of the codebase. Then we'll help with setting up a development rails server on your laptop, making your first change, and getting that commit published. This workshop will focus on improving the website, rather than any hardcore API stuff.
  • Getting started with git - Some OSM projects use git now. Here's a quick lesson in using git, from someone who knows it a bit but not too much. How to set up a fork and submit patches back to projects (e.g. Committing to the rails port)
  • Potlatch 2 - A Quick tour of the codebase. Then we'll help with setting up your development environment, making your first changes and getting that commit published. Both as3/flex development and non-coding customisations (e.g. map_features, icons, MapCSS) will be covered.

Workshops will be run by Harry, Andy and other developers.

Why workshops?

We have a few core developers who are without a doubt "experts" at various aspects of OpenStreetMap hacking. We've seen in the past, that when experts get together in a room for a weekend, great things happen. But it can leave some onlookers with the feeling that they should stay out of the way. We want people to come away from the event empowered with the knowledge and all set up to help with development going forwards. The aim is to try and sow a seed, even if it means less hacking will get done at the time.

See also

Shorter link for tweeting: