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Meet the projects coming to Code Convening: Write The Docs

by Ryan Pitts

We’ve learned a lot from our OpenNews code convenings since the program began last year. Code Convenings are our tweak on hack events; we love hack days where the outcomes are new ideas and new relationships, but these are smaller events with a different goal: shipping code. At a Code Convening, journalists and developers bring projects that have already proved useful, and we provide the time and space to finish up an open-source release. That’s really the only fixed point in the program, though, and we’ve tried something new each time out.

Our code convening that starts Sunday will be our first embedded within a larger conference. Write The Docs feels like a great fit for this kind of work–we want newsrooms to use the tools that get released, after all, and that won’t happen without solid documentation. And the learning that will happen over the next three days is an investment in all the projects our participants are involved in down the road.

This code convening is also our biggest so far. Seven projects will join the Write The Docs sprint on Sunday:

  • Web component CSV charts, The Seattle Times: Custom elements that generate flat charts from CSV input, intended to reduce the load on graphics staff for boilerplate web graphics.
  • Driveshaft, The New York Times: A publishing pipeline for sending data from Google Drive documents into S3 in JSON format.
  • Developer documentation for Largo, INN: Largo is a responsive WordPress theme framework developed by the Investigative News Network specifically for news publishers.
  • Donation Builder, The Texas Tribune: A framework to help organizations, especially nonprofit newsrooms, seek new members and support for funding their projects.
  • Geomancer, DataMade/Associated Press: A tool to help journalists join datasets based on shared geography.
  • Google Analytics/Facebook Insights clients, Stijn Debrouwere: Libraries that make it easy to authenticate/authorize, then grab analytics in Python or on the command line.
  • Flatsheet, Seth Vincent: An editor & API for curating data in realtime as a team, giving newsrooms an option beyond Google Spreadsheets.

As always, much of the work for a code convening happens in advance. These teams and individuals are coming to Portland with code that’s been used internally for a while, and over the past few weeks they’ve been cleaning up, adding features, spinning projects off from organizational repos, and generally doing the things you do to get ready for an open-source release.

All that effort means Sunday is the finish line, when the journalism community gets shiny new versions of all these tools. With fresh documentation to help you see how they can fit into your newsroom. We can’t wait!

posted May 16, 2015 | posted in codeconvenings 

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