Evergreen development workshop at FSOSS 2009

Posted on Fri 30 October 2009 in Libraries

Update 2009-11-24 Robert Soulliere has also made the videos available via the Internet Archive - thanks again, Robert!

Update 2009-11-09 As promised, Robert Soulliere has posted the video recordings he made of the workshop - thanks, Robert!

Yesterday, I lead a three-hour Evergreen development workshop at the Free Software Open Source Symposium. I had promised Nick Ruest from McMaster that it wouldn't be three hours of me talking... but in prepping for the workshop, I ran out of time putting together the virtual image that was going to include all of the tutorial materials... and therefore, ended up talking for almost three hours. Not ideal. Interestingly, there were a number of non-library-world attendees who were interested in OpenSRF, so I was able to spend most of the first hour covering that framework and (I think) managed to successfully keep their attention for that period of time. I wasn't suprised to see them leave once we hit more library-centric content :-)

That said, there is a stake in the ground now for developers who are relatively new to Evergreen. The assumption is that the developer is already comfortable with basic install and configuration of OpenSRF and Evergreen, at least as far as following the install instructions, and that the developer is comfortable writing one or both of Perl or JavaScript. I posit that such a person should be able to work through the workshop tutorial and follow the workshop slides through the evolution of a CGI program to an OpenSRF service that eventually taps into the Evergreen IDL (see workshop tarball).

In writing this down and trying to provide basic examples that can be building blocks for bigger applications, I surprised myself by how much I had to re-learn or in some cases learn for the first time. But now it's written down, and the re-learning path (because my brain is full and constantly rids itself of even painfully learned lessons) will be much shorter. And I hope that this makes it easier for others to become productive OpenSRF and Evergreen developers as well.

This content will continue to evolve and improve over time, as I'm betting that my fellow Evergreen developers will suggest improvements to the materials. Note that I'm delivering a four-hour workshop covering much of the same material at the OLA SuperConference in 2010. The extra hour should give us time to complete some hands-on exercises, and I'll incorporate the feedback that I've received from the FSOSS workshop for the OLA workshop. (Your feedback is always welcome, either in comments to this post or via email at dan@coffeecode.net). It would be great to see other people take these materials and improve and deliver them as well - they're under a CC-BY-SA license - so if there's interest, I'll be happy to check them into a public source repository (hmm, maybe a bzr branch at the Evergreen Launchpad project).

Oh! And Robert Soulliere from Mohawk College recorded the entire workshop and plans to make it available online. So if you need some sleep, those video segments will be available!