The Magento Pre-Imagine hackathon is a wrap for this year, and has once again been the highlight of Pre-Imagine. More than 60 developers and business analysts from 32 different companies and 11 different countries were represented at the 2017 Imagine Hackathon, which took place in a small conference room at the Wynn Las Vegas. This resulted in more than 700 man-hours spent critically thinking about different improvements to the Magento ecosystem and executing on those ideas.

More than 700 combined hours were spent critically thinking about improvements to the Magento ecosystem.

Imagine Hackathon Sign

As a three-year veteran of this event, my expectations have changed year after year. I have discovered that the purpose of this hackathon is not to prove how much you know, or how elite you are, but rather to expose yourself to things that you don’t know, to become better at the things you do know, and to help others along the way. The purpose is not about competition, but instead about bringing together a community that is diverse from a cultural, national, gender, and professional standpoint to do something unique and great.

The purpose of the hackathon is not about competition, but bringing together a community to do something great.

The Great Hackathon Work

The more than 700 combined hours by hackathon participants resulted in a number of ideas – both from Magento and the community – being brought into fruition. Below is a list of work that was either partially or completely finished during the hackathon.

  • Collaboration with the Magento, Inc development, and architecture teams to make changes to the core product for Magento’s upcoming releases.
    • Scope override notifications that clearly communicate to the merchant that configurations and product attributes have been overridden at the website or store scope.
    • Layered navigation changes to include multiple filter items selections for each filter option.
    • Sitemap and robots.txt generation settings and bug fixes.
    • Github Top Voted Issues
    • CLI tools to give information about about a specific classes dependencies plugin usage.
  • Community extension development.
    • An admin panel grid that displays information about the cron jobs running on your Magento installation.
    • Functionality around configuration search that will help you identify where specific configurations exist in the Store > Configuration section of the backend.
    • Command line tooling to detect the integrity of your files in your Magento installation.
  • Core Developer Documentation.
    • Import/Export documentation for complex use cases.
    • Documentation contribution instructions
    • Many other minor updates

Top 5 Takeaways

Sometimes even the smallest contributions of ideas or technology can provide great value.

  1. Learning to empathize with the complexities of making changes to core Magento modules. When making core changes, not only do you need to worry about implementing the actual feature, but also about following the guidelines and requirements around backwards compatability-breaking changes, proper modular programming decisions, the scrutiny that will be placed on the implementation by the open source community, and passing the automated testing and static code analysis suites. This experience shed a new understanding on why development moves at a slower and more deliberate pace that what we can output as system integrators.
  2. Sometimes even the smallest contributions of ideas or technology can provide great value.
  3. Long-term relationship building is important, and can be even more important than solving the short-term problem at hand.
  4. Documentation can be just as important as the code itself.
  5. Magento’s technical staff is a gracious group of people, and will offer guidance and mentorship to the people in the community that need or want it.

It’s an interesting, and somewhat awkward, feeling to be sharpening the skill of your competition, while you yourself are learning and gleaning insights from them. In the end, however, I guess that is what makes the Magento community so special.  We know that, in some ways, all of our boats rise and sink together.

A big thanks to David Robinson of AOE for organizing this event, and to Magento, Inc for their continued investment in the hackathon and their investment into the individuals who participate in it. We are grateful that DEG can be a part of the #realmagento community and look forward to seeing you next year!

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