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At BitMethod, Amanda has Design+Tech, Scott just started DeMo, and it’s becoming obvious that we love community events. I had been wanting to put on an event of my own and, inspired by Amanda and Scott, I spent some time thinking about what I’m passionate about.

In 2005, I started using and contributing to the Dojo Toolkit, a JavaScript library. I had to learn how to write code that was reusable and flexible. Code that would stand up to criticism. I loved it. Over the next few years, I spent more and more time coding in JavaScript, working with the frameworks and APIs created by other developers.

So I’m starting a new programming club called Des Moines Code Co-op. I’m looking for help organizing people and proposals to get it started and begin shaping the community.

The Event

Here’s my idea so far: at each meeting of the Des Moines Code Co-op, area programmers will present a code bundle they have used to solve a problem common to projects they work on. Presenters will explain their code in a way that makes it easy for anyone with a programming background — regardless of language — to understanding the limitations encountered and how the presenter overcame them.

After the meeting, presenters will be encouraged to open-source their code and add it to the co-ops collection of community resources. My hope is that the Des Moines Code Co-op can grow to be a resource for programmers everywhere and a community we can all be proud of participating in.

There are two ways to help right now:

  1. Like our page on Facebook and join the conversation about this group
  2. Submit a presentation proposal. I’ve included instructions on submitting below.

How to Present at Des Moines Code Co-op

1. Propose

Describe what you want to present in the form of a brief proposal. Tell us what problem you encountered, why it’s a problem, and a brief summary of how you fixed it. Proposals will voted on by the group, so take time to make it interesting!

Consider presenting solutions that will facilitate conversation about framework and API design. Solutions should also be intended for frequent reuse (as opposed to clever, one-off solutions).

I’m going to give the service User Echo a try for receiving proposals and the eventual post-event write-ups. Here’s an example proposal.

2. Present

Present the code you’ve created! If it’s short, you can go through line-by-line. If not, summarize as best as possible. Discuss the API, how it can be configured or adapted, where the code should be used and how flexible it is, etc. The more complete your code is the better, but if it’s a little rough around the edges, we can work through that during the presentation.

3. Follow-up

What happens after the meetings is just as important as what happens during. I’ll walk you through how to contribute a write-up on your presentation through User Echo and open-sourcing your code for sharing and collaboration.


Neil Roberts

About the author: Neil is a Dojo master (unrelated to Kung-Fu) and an accomplished programmer, educator, and author. He’s recently developed projects for iOS, Android, and the web. Neil freqeuntly runs JavaScript and iOS training programs for enterprise-level development teams, and has taught at Sun’s JavaOne Conference.

Reach out to Neil Roberts at