Hey all! I've been posting a lot of questions here ever since I started working on my TelescopeJS clone on Christmas (a couple weeks ago), and though there are still a few pending bugs/features* I would love to take care of, the platform pretty much takes care of the basic features we need, so I thought I might as well announce it:

http://hangouts.codebuddies.org is up and live! Yay!

It's a community for people interested in finding study partners to talk, screenshare, and work through coding tutorials together. We meet using permanent Google Hangout "rooms" (e.g. http://codebuddies.org/javascript-hangout), and anyone can propose a study session time and topic to discuss. Hangouts usually last 1-2 hours.

Before this platform, we were organizing our virtual meetups (we've had over 50 study sessions already) through mailing lists and google calendar invites, so having a platform this week has been a vast improvement over the status quo so far. FAQ about the history of the community here: http://hangouts.codebuddies.org/about

I kind of dove head first into playing with TelescopeJS over the holidays, and though I think I've got some basics down, I'm definitely still not expert-level at Meteor, so I proposed a study session for those who want to work through Sacha's Discover Meteor book together starting next week: http://hangouts.codebuddies.org/posts/aWejhDPktpE36jj7J

Anyway, as I said before, still a lot of bugs (https://github.com/lpatmo/cb/issues) I'm interested in working out -- most notably a better e-mail notification and RSVP system that lets study session proposers send reminder e-mails to attendees -- but in general, I'm SUPER happy with how relatively easy it was to set up and figure out, with some really helpful support in these forums when I asked specific questions.

Also planning to publish a blog post about the roadblocks and 'aha' moments I encountered deploying this Telescope clone. :)



Sacha GreifSacha Greif
2 years ago

Awesome job! I'm really happy that you chose Telescope and that you managed to customize it this much. I think it's one of the most creative uses of the platform we've seen so far :)

And if you want, I'd be happy to make Codebuddies the official hangout partner of Discover Meteor and announce the study group to our mailing list :)

By the way, what happens if a hangout fills up? Do you just open another for the rest of the people, or is it limited attendance only?

2 years ago

Thank you, Sacha! And YES -- that would be awesome! :) (Re: official study group partnership)

So... if a hangout pointing to a specific time slot fills up past the maximum number of people that can join a Google Hangout (10 people), I or another person can simply propose a new study session linking to a different Google Hangout "room" if the extra people also wanted to meet at the original time. For example, one room could point to http://codebuddies.org/javascript-hangout, and another room would point to http://codebuddies.org/javascript-hangout-2, or something. (I still need to pick up a better understanding of "forms" so that I can make Google Hangout link population less manual; for now it works, but in general this is on my bug list.)

In the past, I've found that 2-5 people in a study session is probably an ideal number -- it gives just enough space for people to feel comfortable speaking up when they're running into a problem, and gives the small group a greater chance to bond. Alas, I haven't done anything to limit the number of "upvotes" on a post to 10 people (usually some people will drop out anyway, since it's a free meetup :)) -- so this is also another potential "feature" to fix. Or actually -- maybe if one study session generates 20 RSVPS, the participants can just organize directly on the thread so that half of them meet in another room at the same time.

The most effective hangouts are ones where most people are on the same page, so in general it's important that in the hangout description the prerequisites for joining are stated clearly -- e.g. "In this hangout from 8-9pm EST we're going to install meteor and Telescope together and help each other work out any kinks" versus a hangout that's more "In this 8-9:30pm GMT hangout we're going to review chapter 7 of Discover Meteor. You should already have meteor installed and be somewhat familiar with javascript."

Basically, the idea is that anyone is free to propose a hangout time and session to discuss some code/work through a specific part of Discover Meteor -- but this model only works if there is enough of an audience such that each study session proposer finds at least one more study partner!

Honestly, so far, we haven't really run into a problem with too many people wanting to join a hangout at one time -- the number has usually averaged out to between 2 and 6 people. :)