In this week’s episode of Elixir Mix the panel is joined by David Bernheisel and Cory Schmitt, from Taxjar, to discuss the different ways developers can contribute to the community. The first way to contribute to the Elixir community is contributing to the Elixir core code. While David shares a little of his background, he shares his first experience contributing to the elixir code by submitting a pull request about asdf. The panel all thanking him for his contribution.
The next form of contributing the panel discusses is open-sourcing projects. Cory and David share their experience getting their date-time parser open-sourced. They express gratitude at the support they received from Taxjar at open-sourcing the project.
Before moving on to the next way to contribute the panel stops for a moment to ask Cory and David about their date-time parser. David and Cory explain why they decided to build a date-time parser after finding a problem in Timex and other time libraries. They talk about their first attempt at the parser and explains that it was a disaster.
The panel expresses their interest in nimble parsec and asks our guests to share their experience using this library. Cory and David explain that it was easy to use and a little slower than libraries found in other languages but still fast enough for production. They go into more detail of what it was like to code in nimble parsec and give tips for optimizing performance with the library.
The panel asks about future plans for the date-time parser. David and Cory explain what cereal time is and how it will soon be usable in the parser. The most interesting things they learned while building the parser are listed including some of the surprising results they got while testing the library. They also talk about the difficulty of time zone math and other problems with programming for time zones.
The panel moves on to the next way you can contribute to the Elixir community is through running and attending meetups. The panel shares the places and types of meetups they run. Trying to prepare future meetup hosts, the panel shares their experiences starting up or taking over meetups, explaining what they need to know. Such as, not everyone that attends a meetup is going to be as hyped up about the language as you. Also, meetups are about building relationships and connections just as much as it is learning and sharing.
Still talking about meetups, the panel gives tips to both the host and the members. To the hosts, they give ideas on how to run their meetups, such as project nights, lightning talks. They explain that a lot of the people coming to the meetups will be new to Elixir and warns not to dive too deep into the code and lose them. Instead, the panel recommends recruiting the developers new to Elixir that still have all their enthusiasm for the language to help you run the meetups. Another recommendation is to vary the depth and range of the topics, that way you can maintain the interest of your members. The panel talks about the financial part of running a meetup and advises hosts to find a good notification service and a sponsor.
Speaking to meetup members, the panel reminds them that just by attending meetups they are contributing to the Elixir community. By going they make connections, share ideas and grow as developers in that community. The advice they give to members is to find ways to get more involved, explaining that no meetup host is going to turn down a willing speaker or a helping hand. They also discuss encouraging a comfortable environment and helping other members feel welcome in the community.
The final form of contributing the panel discusses is attending and speaking at conferences. The panel shares their excitement for the upcoming Elixir Conf. They also discuss the value of smaller regional conferences that may be easier to attend. At regional conferences, it can be easier to connect with others since there is a smaller crowd. Also, a singletrack style conference may encourage you to attend talks you normally wouldn’t choose, allowing you to discover new and exciting technologies. The panel explains how the number of conferences has grown over the years giving more opportunities to both attend and speak. They encourage all developers to go to conferences often.
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