Dev Days: Hacking, Open Source and Docs

Donnie - 20 Apr 2012

Dev Days

Every month we have a "Dev Day" where engineers take a break from their projects and work on "other stuff". Most start-up engineering teams have a "Hack Day" where everyone gets to hack on anything they want as long as they ship and share it with the rest of the team. Of course we have Hack Days but we also have other types of Dev Days too. In fact, we have three types of Dev Days:

  • Hack Days
  • Open Source Days
  • Doc Days

Open Source Days

You know what Hack Days are so I'll move on quickly to Open Source Days. Just like most companies these days, Bizo uses a lot of open source software (OSS). We love OSS and the community of developers and companies that share it. Over the last few years, we've used plenty of OSS but we've also created and given back lots of code as well.

Actually today is one of our Open Source Days so all the engineers are working on both new and old open source projects. You can check out our (growing) list of projects by visiting Over the years, we've created a lot of tools around AWS including s3cp, fakesdb, aws-tools (package of all CLI tools). We've also built a lot of stuff for Hadoop (Hive, etc) including csv-serde, gdata-storagehandler and our latest is a scala query language called revolute (still in development). In addition, we've have a wide variety of other awesome code including the awesome Joist, dependence.js, raphy-charts and other fun stuff!

Doc Days

The third type of Dev Day we have is called Doc Days. I know that you are thinking but Doc Days are extremely valuable days for engineering and everyone else for that matter. On Doc Day the entire engineering team works on wiki pages, code documentation, design docs, architecture docs and even blog posts. It really is better than it sounds!

If you've read my post on "building a kick ass engineering team", you know that one of the keys is the 3Cs... Communication, Communication, Communication! (My high school baseball coach taught me that one.) As a engineering team, we believe that communication is one of the best things we can do for each other. As any company grows communication becomes a larger and larger part of day to day and we see Doc Days as a way to ensure that we are communicating as clearly and accurately as we can.


These Dev Days have been a huge success for Bizo engineering. We've even inspired other departments to have similar days (Marketing in particularly like these documentation days!). We challenge you to go beyond the "Hack Day" and start thinking about other Dev Days that your engineering organization can benefit from.

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