First Kill Bill hackathon

at April 17th, 2015

Groupon recently hosted a Payments Tech Talk where Stéphane and I went over our progress deploying Kill Bill internationally at Groupon, and what our roadmap for the rest of the year looks like. To our surprise, most attendees were engineers, and while we went over the architecture of Kill Bill, there was clearly an ask to dig deeper into the code. This is why we came up with the idea of a hackathon, which Groupon hosted in their San Francisco office last Saturday.

Because it was our first event of such kind, we decided to invite only engineers from a few select companies which we knew were already in the process of switching to Kill Bill and were familiar with the system. The event lasted from 11am to 7pm: Stéphane and I covered two brief technical sessions, but the rest of the afternoon was focused on coding and answering questions.

The day turned out to be quite productive: Greg wrote the first ever Kill Bill plugin in Scala, Sean gave Kaui a much needed facelift, and Ivan updated the Node.js client. We also had design discussions leading to API changes for 0.13.7 and talked about migration best practices. Even Stéphane and I managed to get some coding done: he wrote a performance benchmark testing specifically usage APIs, and I worked on automatic deployments of our Docker image to EC2 using Cloud 66.

The most exciting part of the day for me was when I realized the breadth of the ecosystem. When, at the beginning, we were all brainstorming about the type of projects to work on, quite a few ideas were generated, such as a Go client library, Chef recipes for deployment, and a new admin UI in AngularJS. While the very core of Kill Bill is a Java library, you don’t need to know Java to contribute to the project, and whether you are a back-end or front-end developer, whether you know Python or Rust, you can be part of the Kill Bill developer community (and if you want to do this as your full-time job, Groupon is hiring!).

We’re happy the event was a success, and we’ve already been asked to organize a follow-up one. This will happen at some point in the summer, and we will probably open it to a bigger audience. If you want to participate, get in touch!


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