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Code Across America: Dallas Brigade

Code for America

Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM - Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 5:00 PM (CST)

Code Across America: Dallas Brigade

Ticket Information

Type End Quantity
Coder Ended Free  
Designer Ended Free  
Subject Matter Expert Ended Free  
Student Ended Free  

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Event Details

We will meet online to coordinate finishing up Enlist, a Free & Open Source web application to manage volunteers and their efforts at community and civic events.  The application tracks their hours, rewards and communications, and can be easily deployed by non-technical users to cloud hosting providers, often for free.



Enlist is the product of the 2011 conference hackfest.  The application was conceived by Peter Farrell after a volunteer event with Team Ortho, during which he noticed volunteers being tracked on spreadsheets.  The application has three primary goals:

  1. To provide non-profits and civic organizations with a Free & Open Source web application for the management of volunteers for community and civic events
  2. To promote the ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) by modeling many of its strongest features and its support for best practices in software development, integration with and use of Open Source libraries such as jQuery, Twitter Bootstrap boilerplate UI, the Mach-II and ColdSpring frameworks, the Open BlueDragon CFML engine, extensive front-end optimizations, and of course, a Free Software license (GPL Version 3)
  3. To not require any investment in server infrastructure, but rather to be easily deployed by even non-technical users with a few mouse-clicks to any of the many new Java Cloud Hosting providers, in some cases, entirely for free.


Current Status

Enlist is a fully-functional application, but it was originally written to run on Google App Engine (GAE) since GAE offers relatively liberal cost-free hosting. Unfortunately several months ago a bug was introduced in the GAE Java platform that causes issues with running the OpenBD CFML engine on GAE and this bug does not seem to be a high priority for GAE engineers.

Since Enlist was first created Cloud Computing has exploded, and since CFML-based applications are deployable as standard Java WAR files there is now have a wealth of Java PaaS cloud hosting companies from which to choose (CloudBees, Jelastic, and many others). In addition, since the application will be a standard WAR file it can easily be deployed to any standard Java servlet container such as Tomcat or Jetty.

This year’s Conference Hackfest’s primary objective will therefore be to remove the dependency on Google App Engine and make Enlist deployable as a 100% standard Java web application (WAR). This will open up many more deployment options for the application.

Additional objectives for the 2012 Hackfest are:

  • Move the code from Subversion (where it currently resides) to GitHub
  • Add support for MySQL as well as the embedded H2 database (for light use). With H2 this will mean a zero-configuration deployment since the database is pre-configured and included as part of the WAR.
  • Add reporting and mapping functionality.
  • Make the UI more skinnable by moving it to Twitter Bootstrap.
  • Promote knowledge-transfer between participants concerning tooling, techniques, and best practices for development.
  • And finally, to be the first CFML application in the CivicCommons’ new Application Marketplace, where we in addition to providing a great volunteer management application, we hope it will help promote CFML as a great choice for rapid application development now that open source CFML engines are available, and a perfectly valid technology option for Civic Hacktivists.

Further Information


GitHub Codebase:

Twitter: @EnlistApp @EnlistApp

Google Group:!forum/enlist-app


Please direct any questions or concerns to

Have questions about Code Across America: Dallas Brigade? Contact Code for America


Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM - Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 5:00 PM (CST)

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Code for America

Code for America believes government can work for the people, by the people in the 21st century. We help government deliver services to the public better using the tools and practices of the digital age. 

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