Hacktoberfest 2019

Posted by g.law on 25 November 2019 - 12:24pm
Hacktoberfest 2019 logo

By Rachael Ainsworth, Community Manager and Fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute

Following last year’s successful event put on by many of the city’s Meetup groups, PyData MCRPyLadies NWUKHER+Data MCRPython North-WestDjango-Girls Manchester and R Ladies MCR came together to host another Manchester Hacktoberfest event for 2019.


Hacktoberfest, brought to you by DigitalOcean and Dev, is a month-long celebration of open source software. Maintainers are invited to guide would-be contributors towards issues that will help move the project forward, and contributors get the opportunity to give back to both projects they like, and ones they’ve just discovered. No contribution is too small—bug fixes and documentation updates are valid ways of participating.


John Carney welcomed our 50 attendees to the event, introduced the organisers and helpers, and thanked our sponsors: Code Nation for hosting us in their amazing office, and Microsoft Azure AdvocatesLocke DataOrtom and PDFTA for providing funding towards catering. 

Tania Allard, Microsoft Developer Advocate and PyLadies NWUK Organiser, kicked off the event with an introduction to Hacktoberfest and contributing to open source. She reminded us not to forget that Open Source is community driven for the community and to be mindful and respectful when making contributions. Her suggested steps to making a contribution are:

  1. Make a GitHub account
  2. Choose a project and an issue to work on
  3. Read the contributing guidelines
  4. Set up your development environments
  5. Fork the repository to your account (copy)
  6. Clone the project (download)
  7. Make a branch
  8. Work and document
  9. Test
  10. Submit
  11. Be patient

Tania did a quick intro to GitHub, defining terms such as repository, version control, fork, clone and pull request, before walking us through an example contribution to The Littlest JupyterHub. Tania also supplied an excellent list of beginner friendly issues for participants to work on. You can find the slides to her talk here.

We then broke off into groups based on language or project we wanted to work on. There was also a large group who were brand new to GitHub and contributing to open source, so I lead a more in depth introduction to GitHub in one of the Code Nation classrooms. We took an interface tour and did some jargon busting, before getting hands on with the Hello World tutorial. You can find resources from my past GitHub demos here and here



With about an hour left, we went around the room and shared what we all worked on throughout the day. At least a dozen or so participants successfully submitted their first pull requests! One team worked on the Pick n Mix project, a simple tool for stacking Sci-Kit learn models. Another team worked on the LibreMl project, a reproducible, open source software development kit for machine learning, and created an associated twitter account: @LibreMl. Other teams practiced their GitHub skills on the R Ladies MCRPyData MCR and Open Sauce GitHub repos. A group worked on the Python North-West website and others worked on bug fixes.

And all the while in the background, the PyData MCR team recorded a Hacktoberfest episode for their podcast! They chatted to event organisers, participants who came with projects they wanted help with, and open source newbies. Keep an eye out for the episode coming out on November 25th to hear more about our Manchester Hacktoberfest 2019 event!

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