So I spent this weekend at the #SNDMakes hackathon. SND is the Society for News Design, and they hosted a hackathon on improving the experience of news content creators at the offices of Upstatement in Boston, MA, on October 17-19.
This was the nicest hackathon I’ve ever been to. At other hackathons, I didn’t know many people, didn’t end up getting onto a team, and ended up milling around and leaving because I had nothing to do. So, side note on inclusion and diversity: assigning teams and making sure everybody who wants to work gets on a team is a BIG DEAL. If you’d like to learn more about what happened there, here are my notes, which will recap all the teams and presentations for you.
Most of my technical experience revolves around
- Finding stuff on Github
- Downloading it
- Seeing if I can get it running
- Adapting it for my own uses.
I am a gleaner of the Global Junkyard O’Code, a role which I am delighted with. I do not write much code from scratch. My fellow team members, however, do, and so they did the heavy lifting of building our app. For myself, I stuck to what I did best: seeing if it’s usable, and expressing how to use it to others.
So I created the project site for our app. It was my first time using Bootstrap, a mobile-ready front-end framework originally developed by Twitter but now used by countless developers to make apps and sites.
What’s a front-end framework? Let’s break it down:
- “framework” — a framework is a toolkit of prewritten parts. In this case, there are prewritten parts to help you make a site or app that automatically resizes so that it looks good on a big screen or a phone; nicely formatted input boxes, buttons, and more.
I decided to use Github Pages and Bootstrap to create a one-page site for our project. I briefly considered using Jekyll, but it seemed to me like Jekyll was more suited to blogging, and all I really wanted was a nice-looking one page/landing page site for our project.
Github pages lets you use the popular code-sharing site Github as a host for simple, static websites. I love Github pages — they’re wonderful. I used a Bootstrap template to create the site, and Github Pages to host it. Here it is.