Jessica Lord, open web developer—designer

Patchwork Year!

  • Jessica Lord
  • 2015-01-22
  • github, open source, git-it, reporobot

A little over a year ago I volunteered to lead a community event at GitHub with the goal of helping new users make their first pull request. At GitHub we think a lot about how people learn to use Git/GitHub and as a stil-new-ish person in web development I think a lot too about how I can share what I've learned in a way that is meaningful to someone else starting out. I was excited about the challenge.

We called it Patchwork because each of us in open source contributes pieces to something bigger, quite literally and metaphorically we make quilts. Props to Kelsey on this element.

patches @reporobot's quilt of patches

Fresh off the heels of NodeConf 2013 and the first workshops, I decided to make a Git based workshop and thus Git-it was born. But I couldn't teach people how to use GitHub without someone to collaborate with—and I couldn't feasibly review and merge each and every pull request that came in—so @reporobot was born. As of writing he's helped 1493 people on Git-it!

patchworksf photo by @muanchoiu

So it was that a year ago we held the first Patchwork at GitHub's office in SF. It was nerve wracking for me (@reporobot was my first server!) but it went well, whew! We then had 14 more over the course of the 2014. GitHubbers hosted them where they were and we held Patchworks in London, Edinburgh, Nashville, Chicago, Columbus, Atlanta, New York City, Phoenix, Taipei, Tokyo and Boulder. Over 700 attendees!

We learned and iterated on the events. We used Git-it for some and then went web-based and command-line-free using the Hello-World Guide. Many props on content here to Chrissie who works with more GitHub users than probably anyone.

We added talks. An introduction from a GitHubber on their first pull request and how they got involved with open source—dispel any ideas that developers were born developers. We all started somewhere. A closing talk from a local open source developer to introduce projects and real world open source practices.

branch Branching

I'm really proud of Patchwork. It's a simple event for sharing skills and giving back. Locals volunteered their time to come out and mentor attendees, to sit down and talk about branching like someone once did with them, and I am ever so grateful to all of you! Equally thankful to all the GitHubbers who attended, hosted and helped pull these off.

Patchwork keep going 2015 and be even better with full time dedication, so keep an eye out! I'll step back and cheer it on and continue in my spare time to maintain Git-it and @reporobot. More on that soon!