Insights from our incredible plugin hackathon

At Mattermost, two of our top priorities are keeping our customers happy and keeping members of our awesome open source community engaged.

On August 16 and 17, we paused the company on the R&D side for a virtual hackathon where our core committers worked with our open source contributors to hack our recently revamped plugin architecture, which shipped with Mattermost 5.2.

We had two objectives: We wanted to build cool, useful features and we wanted feedback on our new plugin framework.

Altogether, our internal team and 17 contributors from all around the world came together, working asynchronously and virtually. And they delivered.

We saw 10 or so amazing projects—in various stages of development, but all working—come to life in that short time. We hope to get a majority of these projects up and running on pre-release.mattermost.com over the next two or so weeks.

Here are some highlights of what we built:

  • A polling plugin, which can be used to create rich polls directly in the Mattermost interface. Easily keep track of who voted for what (instead of seeing who clicked which emoji!).
  • Cross-server channels, which enable users to link up multiple Mattermost servers in a shared channel. Let’s say you’re running several Mattermost servers and have a “Bugs” channel on each of them. You no longer have to move across each Mattermost instance to monitor them.
  • A time zone plugin, which automatically converts times to each Mattermost user’s local time zone. Say goodbye to running a quick Google search when your colleague in Spain says they want to meet at 4 p.m. their time and you’re in San Francisco (speaking from experience!).

Every member of our community who participated in the hackathon will be getting a swag bag for their time. Thank you all so much! We can’t say it enough.

Moving forward, our hope is to host hackathons like this once a quarter, and we’d love for you to join us for the next one. Say hi on pre-release.mattermost.com and head over to our forum to get involved.

See you next time!

(If you want to start building your own plugin right now, check out this video guide to get started.)

P.S. This was our first virtual hackathon. So, to make it feel like a bunch of developers were actually in a room together, two of our awesome teammates tried to order pizza for every core staff member. Unfortunately, their success rate was pretty low. It turns out ordering pizza from another country isn’t the easiest thing to do. Most of us ended up having to order food ourselves. But it was a blast sharing 🍕 and 🍔 across the globe nonetheless.

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Corey Hulen

Corey Hulen is the CTO and co-founder of Mattermost, Inc., creators of the open source enterprise messaging workspace built for privacy-conscious organizations. Prior to Mattermost, he founded Tempo AI, a machine intelligence startup spun out from Stanford Research Institute, which was acquired by Salesforce.com. Before that, Corey served as an engineering manager and architect for Microsoft Office in its enterprise software business across the SharePoint and Business Intelligence product lines. He is an alumnus of California Polytechnic State University.

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