Led by Seattle Flex User Group Manager Ali Daniali, developers join forces to build an open-source virtual food drive application for a hunger relief agency in Washington state. See transcript below.



Julie Campagna: Hi, I'm Julie Campagna. I manage The Edge Newsletter. Today we're in Seattle attending the 360 Flex Conference. And over the next 72 hours, we'll be focusing on a group of developers who are giving up their time to build a Flex application for Northwest Harvest.

Claire Acey: We are a food distribution agency for hunger relief. We operate in the state of Washington and we are independently run. We distribute food to about 300 meal programs and food banks throughout the state.

Julie: At the end of the 72-hour code jam, Northwest Harvest will have a virtual food drive application that will allow anyone to donate money via PayPal on the Northwest Harvest site. The final application will be released as an open source project so that other food banks across the country can modify and use the application for their own use.

Courtney Grady: Our large food drives that I coordinate now, the special events with media sponsors, they reach so many people but not everybody can come to Seattle or the metro area to donate. The fact that people are going to be able to participate in a virtual food drive online is going to be phenomenal.

Julie: Seattle Flex Users Group manager Ali Daniali is the person who's behind this whole charity code jam event. So, tell me a little bit about the technology that you're using to build the application.

Ali Daniali: Obviously it's a Flex application, and then that's built on top of ColdFusion 8. We've got some integration from Flickr and PayPal, they're coming in. And database using Microsoft SQL 2000.

We're driving money into a PayPal account. That money is aggregated and displayed in some kind of, for lack of a better word, dashboard concept where we see information at who is doing how well.


Julie: So, Ali, it's 5:20 on Monday afternoon. How is the application coming along?

Ali: We've got the database all settled in and we've got people coding on the CFCs, and it's coming.

Joshua Berling: I'm working as a mentor on the code jam. Whenever someone is up in the room and needs some help with Flex, they have a problem and they can't get it working, I'm going to be there with a couple of other mentors and we're going to be helping people out, making sure it keeps moving forward so we can get it done in the amount of time we have.


Roberto Rodriguez: Well, the code jam is a great opportunity to work with the best developers in the market. And it's also an opportunity to give back to the community. Everybody has a task and they build it, and it's very impressive how it works actually, really because it does work.


Ali: This is Ali at the Northwest Charity Flex Jam, and we've been coding for the last 29 hours.

[screaming and cheering in the background]

Ali: Soon we will have an application and it will magically appear. [laughs]

Dusty Jewett: We've got a lot of our components already made, but none of it's tied together yet.


Ali: So, it's about 37 1/2 hours into the Flex code jam. Early morning on Tuesday, it seems like it's been a week.

Joshua: I left at 3:30. I left when we found Ali passed out in the bedroom, that's when I left.

Ali: This bed is very comfortable.


Ali: We're going to have a big push today to get our code reviewed and some tasks completed.

Matt Chotin: I've been really excited to see how many people from the community are involved in working on such a great cause.

Deepa Subramanium: Their heads are down and they're coding away and the energy in that room is fantastic, so it's really wonderful to see them build such an amazing application.

Ali: So this is the basic layout of an interior page. There's actually a description of what the goal is and where they are. This is kind of the design, look and feel of what we're building.

Ali: We've got a task list of kind of the last push before the whole even wraps up and...

Man: The thermometer's working!

Ali: All right. So we've gotten the thermometer all done here.

Claire: The functionality is just beyond anything that we could have ever dreamed of. It's a clean design, really user friendly, and we just think it's going to make an enormous difference in how we do things. So, we're thrilled with it!

Julie: So, Ali, it's over. How are you feeling?

Ali: I'm feeling exhausted, but really good. We've gotten the application completed, made a lot of great friends, made a lot of contacts, and seen some people really grow in their skill sets and brought the community together. So, we're really happy.

Julie: Great! Well, if you want to create an application like this or improve upon this application, it is open source. Definitely get in touch with your local user group manager and get it rolling. And if you don't have a local user group, start one.

And that's it. I hope you enjoyed this edition of The Edge.