Ruby on Rails BugMash

On Saturday, Gnip hosted a Rails BugMash. Ten people showed up. We mashed some bugs. We learned about Rails internals and about contributing to open source. It was organized by Prakash Murthy(@_prakash), Mike Gehard(@mikegehard) and me (@baroquebobcat).

What’s a BugMash, you might ask? Rails BugMashes were something that came out of RailsBridge‘s efforts to make the Ruby on Rails community more open and inclusive. We wanted to use the format to help get more people locally involved in OSS culture and to show how contributing to a big project like Rails is approachable by mere mortals.

One of the themes of the event was to help with migrating tickets from the old ticket system. Rails moved to using GitHub Issues as the official place to file bug requests in April and there are still a lot of active tickets in the old ticket tracker, lighthouse.

For greater impact, we focused on tickets with patches already attached. For these tickets, all that we needed to do was verify the patch and make a pull request on GitHub. Migrating these tickets was straightforward and we got a few of these merged into Rails that afternoon.

When the event started only two of us had contributed to Rails. By the end of the afternoon, everyone who had participated had either submitted a patch or helped to do so. Some of the patches we submitted were already merged in before the event was over.

Thanks to @benatkin, @anveo, @mikehoward, @ecoffey, @danielstutzman, @jasonnoble and @jsnrth for coming out on a Saturday to contribute to Rails. Also, thanks to the Rails core team members who were watching pull requests Saturday who helped us with our commits and offered suggestions and comments on our work. In particular, José Valim(@josevalim), Santiago Pastorino(@spastorino) and Aaron Patterson(@tenderlove) were a great help.

Bugs Smashed

Updated: added participant’s twitter handles.

Social Media in Natural Disasters

Gnip is located in Boulder, CO, and we’re unfortunately experiencing a spate of serious wildfires as we wind Summer down. Social media has been a crucial source of information for the community here over the past week as we have collectively Tweeted, Flickred, YouTubed and Facebooked our experiences. Mashups depicting the fires and associated social media quickly started emerging after the fires started. VisionLink (a Gnip customer) produced the most useful aggregated map of official boundary & placemark data, coupled with social media delivered by Gnip (click the “Feeds” section along the left-side to toggle social media); screenshot below.

Visionlink Gnip Social Media Map

With Gnip, they started displaying geo-located Tweets, then added Flickr photos with the flip of a switch. No new messy integrations that required learning a new API with all of it’s rate limiting, formatting, and delivery protocol nuances. Simple selection of data sources they deemed relevant to informing a community reacting, real-time, to a disaster.

It was great to see a firm focus on their core value proposition (official disaster relief data), and quickly integrate relevant social media without all the fuss.

Our thoughts are with everyone who was impacted by the fires.