Inaugural OpenAustralia Hackfest Was Terrific

Last Saturday, the 13th of June, was OpenAustralia’s inaugural hackfest, bringing together developers and users of the website. Fifty people volunteered their time and effort to help open Australia’s democracy and make it easier for Australians to keep tabs on their representatives in Parliament.

The day kicked off just after midday with Matthew giving us a run down of how we can get involved and contribute to OpenAustralia (see below for a reminder). After that, the 40-strong participants worked in groups on projects they were interested in, fixing bugs or just getting their heads around how the OA code works.


There were a number of projects worked on during the day, here’s some details on just a few of these:

Mobile OpenAustralia

Rob Manson began work on a mobile version of OpenAustralia so you’ll be able to see an optimised version of the site when you’re on the move.


Silvia Pfeiffer started investigating and discussing advanced video on OpenAustralia, using open codecs like Ogg Theora and Vorbis and the upcoming HTML5 video specification. Take a look at Metavid for an idea of what to look forward to in the future.

WordPress Plugin

Sherif made excellent progress developing a WordPress plugin for OpenAustralia, which will allow you to quote speeches from OpenAustralia in your WordPress blog. It is the first new development to use our API and we can expect the code to be released in the next few weeks.

Development Introduction

I (Henare Degan) helped some people get the code up-and-running in their development environment so they can see how it works and hopefully start contributing. There were quite a few questions during the day so if you’re stuck on anything or have any questions, don’t forget to send a mail to the development mailing list. There’s a bunch of people ready to help you, and we’re bound to learn something along the way too!


During the day we had:

  • Five total commits, two to the web application and three to the parser
  • Nine issues in total updated in the bug tracker, with four issues resolved
  • A number of new developers added to the bug tracker so there’s now over 10 people that can update tickets

There’s a lot more effort that’s not in these numbers that hopefully will be coming out in the days ahead as people start releasing their results from the day.

Pretty impressive for a first effort I think, as Matthew says, “Give yourself a big pat on the back!”.

Get Involved

Matthew gave a great introduction where he reminded us of how we can all get involved:

Thanks again to the core organisers, Matthew, Kat and Sarah for initiating such an excellent event, thanks to Google, Tim and James for an excellent venue and facilities but thanks most of all to everyone that came and made it the great day it was.

We can’t wait to see you all again at the next OpenAustralia Hackfest.

PS. Don’t forget to tag your photos and tweets about the day oah09 so we can all find them

Update 18/06/09: Minor typo

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 13, 2009 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    WordPress OpenAustralia plugin is up and running for those that are interested:

2 Trackbacks

  • […] first OpenAustralia hackfest, held in Sydney in June, was a big success, attracting 50 volunteers. We worked on solving existing […]

  • By Melbourne’s first OpenAustralia hackfest on September 8, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    […] as starting new OpenAustralia projects including a mobile version of OpenAustralia – read all about the day on the OpenAustralia blog to get a taste of what the Melbourne hackfest will be […]

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