GNOME Development Documentation and Tools Hackfest

Berlin, 2nd to 5th of December 2010

Relevant GNOME teams

Documentation, Development Tools, Art, Marketing


The idea of this Hackfest started out on LinuxTag when Stormy asked me about improving the GNOME developer experience. After further discussion especially with the documentation guys on GUADEC it became clear that we really need to redefine our developer documentation to attract new developers on our platform.

The aim of the hackfest is to provide at least a start for getting people into GNOME Development for GNOME 3.0.

Agenda, goals

The current state of GNOME Development Documentation and Tools is very cluttered and poor in some places. At the Documentation BoF at GUADEC we realized that there is no single point of entry for a developer to start contributing to GNOME or write a new application for the GNOME desktop.

The idea was to reorganize the Documentation in a way to show the power of the GNOME platform and to point out where to start. This will also mean to give new developers a preferred workflow for an easy start. During the BoF we discussed that we think a workflow based on Anjuta + Glade + <one of C,C++,Python,Vala> could be a very good starting point for developers coming from the Windows and Mac environments where the usual combination is Visual Studio + .Net or XCode + Objective-C. One of the primary goals for sticking with that workflow is to avoid scaring away people with the beloved autotools which is still our favorite build system in GNOME.

Some people pointed out that another target group, web developers, are more used to using the command line for getting things done. We haven't discussed the further during the BoF but there are of course areas where we could also improve their experience.

Another big area was to clarify what the GNOME platform consists of and which libraries can be used to achieve common features. This might involve reworking what we consider as the GNOME developer platform for GNOME 3.0.

In short:

  • Bring the developer documentation in a decent state:
    • Write tutorial to attract developers from a simple "Getting Started" to more advanced topics (GtkTreeView, Clutter, GStreamer, etc.)

    • Create a single entry-point for developers on
    • Create the impression that at least the languages C, C++, Python, Vala and JavaScript are first-class citizens and

      • are fully supported, e.g. kill the word Binding any non-technical sense
  • Polishing the development tools:
    • Improve integration between Anjuta and Glade
    • Fix all the little things that pop up during writing the tutorials
    • Rethink where the workflow is currently broken and try to fix that
  • GNOME 3.0
    • Promote the GNOME Developer platform ( comes to mind)
    • Tell people why the should develop for GNOME 3.0
    • Getting started with gnome-shell extensions???

Measuring your success

  • For the documentation:
    • At the end of the hackfest we should have solid ready-to-ship documentation for all the basic topics and the platform documentation.
    • Developer documentation front-page done
    • Have the platform and language overview done
  • For the tools: have already fixed some stuff which having everything else in bug-reports for the 3.0 schedule
  • For GNOME 3.0: have a good prototype that can be used on


(Put your home country and the amount of sponsorship you might require, if any, in brackets)


Openismus was kind enough to provide a free venue. Hotel costs have to be checked but shouldn't be too high in Berlin in general. Probably some of the Openismus people are willing to provide private accommodation.

Current sponsors

  • Openismus (Venue)

How to get there

Berlin is (as you might know) in the north east of Germany. There are good train connections from all major German cities, Poland, Czech Republic. There are two international airports (Tegel (TXL), Schönefeld (SXF)).

Accommodation and food

The venue is in a crowded place with lots of restaurants and bars. There are nearby hotels and hostels available (reachable by walking).


  • Wednesday December 1st: 20:00 - Opening dinner - meet at the office
  • Thursday December 2nd - Sunday December 5th: Hacking sessions starting at about 10:00 at the office
  • Sunday December 5th: Open End in the afternoon

Hackfests/DevDocTools (last edited 2010-11-30 12:39:28 by VincentUntz)