On Monday, November 11, the FCC successfully held (we think) a first-of-its-kind event in the U.S. federal government!
FCC Open Developer Day attracted about 100 web developers and other technology professionals to our headquarters building in Washington. We spent a day learning about open data sets and APIs, brainstorming together about how they could be combined to benefit citizens with new apps, and starting coding projects toward those goals.
One focus of FCC Open Developer Day was accessible technology. By facilitating the use of fully-accessible technologies - in line with the FCC’s support for our Accessibility and Innovation Initiative - the FCC is promoting innovation and collaborative problem-solving in the field. One exciting fact: FCC Open Developer Day marked the first time many developers in attendance sat and chatted as a group with others using assistive technologies.
The most valuable take-away from this first foray was the opportunity to build the FCC developer community. The momentum from this event will hopefully help bring the popular activity of Developer Day and "hack-a-thons" to the a federal agency. We were grateful, and a bit surprised, at the number of people who came in from out of town to this event. It was incredibly exciting to the see the Commission Meeting Room, usually set up for formal hearings and presentations, organized in tables for eight people and laptops plugged into power strips.
Here are some cool things we got from having the event:
- A Developer Day Wiki which we will use for further community building (which, by the way, is atop GSA's new collaboration-cloud for govies)
- Some of FCC/Developer APIs are now available as data tables in the YQL console for everyone to use. Here’s an example.
- A teaching example mashup using YQL, HTML 5 location awareness, and our FCC broadband API (code here https://github.com/7mary4/FCC-Locations-Explorer)
- Videos! http://lanyrd.com/2010/fcc-open-developer-day/video/
- A couple of great tutorials from our special guests at Yahoo! Developer Network and Yahoo! Accessibility team, including these slides from Yahoo!’s Ted Drake
- Some brain-sharing around maps and custom base layers for things like the coming Broadband Map in February 2011 (listen to an interview between Alex Howard and Eric Gunderson from Development Seed in the FCC TEC lab)
- A fluttering of tweeting
- The FCC's first Lanyrd site
One day is too short to get much hacking done, so we are planning to do more developer days to make them a regular activity at the FCC.
P.S. Eager to participate in a gov-related developer day? December 4 is International Open Data Hackathon. FCC will be there. Will you?
(This is cross-posted on Blogband. Please leave your comments there.)