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Recapping the Open Government Hackathon at RubyConf

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Last week, David, Eric, and I attended RubyConf in New Orleans. The organizers of the conference were kind enough to offer us space for an open government hackathon that we held every day of the conference. During the day, as conference sessions were going on, quite a few folks trickled in and out during the "open hacking" hours. On the first two evenings, after the conference sessions ended, we held a series of talks of our own in the hackathon room. We hosted a little over twenty people each night for the talks.

Big thanks goes to Tropo for sponsoring food and drinks for the hackathon attendees. We were able to enjoy beignets, soft pretzels, and king cake, not to mention stay hydrated and caffeinated, thanks to them.

Here's a quick recap of what we worked on:

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Preview: Real Time Congress API

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My main project for the last month or so has been something we're calling the Real Time Congress API. It's not quite ready for production use, and the data in it is subject to change, but I wanted to give you all a preview of what's coming, and to ask for your help and ideas.

The goal of the Real Time Congress (RTC) API is to provide a current, RESTful API over all the artifacts of Congress, updated in as close to real time as possible. For the first version, we plan to include data about bills, votes, legislative and policy documents, committee schedules, updates from the House and Senate floor, and accompanying floor video.

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Sunlight Hackathon at RubyConf

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I'm happy to announce that Sunlight will be hosting an open government hackathon at RubyConf. The three day event will be held in New Orleans from November 11 to 13. This is the big show in the Ruby world, where the Ruby core team from Japan will make the trip across the Pacific. While the event initially sold in a matter of days when registration first opened, a second batch of tickets will be made available today. So head on over to the RubyConf registration page right now to get your seat.

The RubyConf organizers, Ruby Central Inc., have been gracious enough to provide us with a dedicated room at the conference venue. Previously, Sunlight has hosted successful hackathons at PyCon around the Open States Project. With the hackathon at RubyConf, we plan to have a diverse selection of projects for developers to work on. We'll have projects at the federal level and state level, like writing data importers for the National Data Catalog. In the past year within our community, there's been tremendous energy at the local level. We encourage those working on city-centric efforts to bring "shovel-ready" projects to the hackathon, and we'll support you throughout RubyConf. Just get in touch with me and we'll get your project on the board. We're also working with key stakeholders in New Orleans, and hope to have some projects ready that can directly help the city in its recovery efforts.

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