Learning by doing: Ushahidi

Ushahidi and FrontlineSMS are such an inspiration and example. They get things done. Ushahidi describe experiences with co-ordinating software development in one of the blog posts:

One of the things we know about software developers contributing to open source projects is that they don’t have a lot of time. Everyone has their day jobs, their personal projects, their families…in other words life. We like to support a relaxed, but structured atmosphere where there’s things that need to get done but no pressure on any one volunteer dev.

As a group, they tend to like ’sprints’ where several developers gather to get as much done as possible in only a few hours. Events like Crisis Camps, Where Camps and Dev Camps are really helpful in that they facilitate spaces where developers can come together to brainstorm and get things done.

However, the one barrier to entry many of them find is that they aren’t comfortable with the language that the rest of the community wants to use, or that the platform is built in.

They describe a modular approach – why does this work ? Because its open – which makes it so much more attractive to developers – if you have a limited amount of time but want to volunteer and contribute, you can find a way much more easily regardless of your programming specific experiences – there are many different streams with which developers can become involved.

I’m sure this has encouraged many people across the world to go and get involved with Crisis Camps, just looking at the latest Projects wiki page shows an incredible range of different technologies.

The great thing is just being interested and having a few hours available is enough. If you can turn up in person that is fantastic, if you can’t – its becoming easier to join in remotely too. One of the projects Crisis Camp London is now looking at is the Simple Tasks Anyone Can do. This week:

Saturday 6th Feb:

Large Common Room, London House
Goodenough College
Mecklenburgh Square
WC1N 2AB London
United Kingdom

Register or follow #CrisisCampLdn for more information