Report From a Two-Day Code Sprint at the TYPO3 Offices in Düsseldorf, Germany

Categories: Community, Documentation Created by Sarah McCarthy
My first code sprint at TYPO3, Düsseldorf, Germany. Photo: Sarah McCarthy (Public Domain)
I really didn’t know what to expect when I decided to go to my first code sprint at TYPO3 HQ. I had been to a few TYPO3 bar camps before so I knew a few faces and names, and I had already met Lina Wolf (the head of the Documentation Team) online when I attended a Documentation Team meeting.

First Impressions and Introductions

I arrived in Düsseldorf and drove across the river to the TYPO3 office building. I took the lift to the 2nd floor and stood outside the reception looking at the familiar logo. Here it was, a whole set of offices belonging to TYPO3—the software I work with every day. This must be what it feels like to visit Google!

Once inside, I found myself in a modern, spacious set of offices. A stage was still set up from a big party that had taken place a few days before. Orange bean bags were scattered around. Fruit and chocolate were laid out in the kitchen. A few people were sat working at computers. Along the corridor I found the Documentation team in a meeting room working at their laptops. They were Lina and Tom Warwick (TYPO3 Documentation Team) as well as Mathias Bolt Lesniak (TYPO3 board) and Alexander Turek (freelancer). The code sprint had started.

Day One: Getting Started with Docs Tasks

I got a few small tasks to do to introduce me to the system. The TYPO3 documentation files at are a set of markup text files known as reStructuredText files. These need to be converted into HTML files to be displayed on the website. The conversion process used to be carried out by Sphinx, but this is now being switched to phpDocumentor which has been around for many years, and is used by many companies and in many projects. The others helped me anytime I got stuck.

Refreshments with a View

Before I knew it, it was late evening and time for refreshments. We went for a cocktail in the 20th-floor penthouse bar of a local hotel with a nearly 360° view across Düsseldorf as the sun set. There, we met up with Wouter (Symfony documentation and core team) and Jaap (main contributor to phpDocumentor). They had come over from the Netherlands and it was their first time at TYPO3 in Düsseldorf too.

Day Two: Continuing the Code Sprint

Next morning it was back to the meeting room and on with the code sprint. Jaap gave an overview of phpDocumentor. A parser takes in markup text files, such as rst or markdown formats, and converts the data to a node tree (known as an AST or abstract syntax tree). The node tree is then fed to a renderer which produces the desired output format, normally HTML. 

The Power of Face-to-Face Collaboration

Although online collaboration works really well, particularly for software development, nothing beats meeting people face to face to touch base and inspire each other. And having such a great venue is the icing on the cake.

Additional contributors for this article
  • Proofreader : Felicity Brand
  • Content Publisher : Mathias Bolt Lesniak