Hello, and welcome to ASWF Dev Days!

What is Dev Days?

The ASWF is organizing an event called "Dev Days", which is kind of a hackathon with the goal of getting people who haven't contributed to these projects (or maybe any open source project) to pick a one-day task and make their first contribution. It's scheduled for October 12-13, 2023 (you pick whichever day or time split is convenient to you). During that time, the senior developers of the project will be monitoring Slack and GitHub, standing by to answer questions and help you through the process.

Check out the ASWF Dev Days site and the participating projects, and if you are interested in participating, please register! If you have questions, feel free to reach out on the #devdays slack channel of the ASWF Slack organization.

If you're reading this, you're probably interested in contributing to the MaterialX project. So also say hi on the #materialx channel of the ASWF Slack, introduce yourself, and let us know what you'd like to work on (or ask for advice on what to work on).

Why is this helpful to you (and your company)?

Here's how the co-chair of Dev Days, Larry Gritz, explained it to his company:

I really can't emphasize enough how much participation in these open source projects can be an enriching professional experience: becoming more knowledgeable about, contributing to, and steering technologies that are critical to us and the industry as a whole, while collaborating with, learning from, and having your work seen and acknowledged by your peers at other studios. This event is a low-stakes way to dip your toes into any of these projects for a day.

This is for you to get something out of, but it's also for us as a company. These projects are not just fun, do-gooder tasks. Almost every one is a critical technology underlying our tools and productions. Sometimes, though, we may have only one person who is knowledgeable about the internals and feels comfortable fixing or enhancing these projects, and that's a risk given how important they are. So it's helpful for us to have multiple people who feel like they can jump in and make changes needed.


  • Check out https://sites.google.com/view/aswfdevdays/home, and sign up on the registration form.
  • Choose a project (probably MaterialX if you're reading this) that you'd like to learn more about by working on for a day.
  • If you're doing this at work, arrange with your supervisor to get the time on those days to work on it. Also, your company may need to do some advance work to ensure you have permissions to work on the project, get CLAs signed, etc. Just check with whoever seems to be experienced with open source at your company to have them tell you what, if anything, you need to do. If you are a student or independent, or know for sure that things you work on in open source are your own, then you can skip this step (you'll need to still sign an individual CLA, though).
  • Between now and the event, take the time to fork, clone, and build the source so you aren't fumbling with that for the first time on the day. Take a look at our Developer Guide for more details on building the MaterialX project. We know that CMake and GitHub can be tricky, please don't hesitate to ask questions if/when you get stuck.
  • Choose a task - see below.

Choosing a task

Ideally, you want to choose a task that's big enough that you'll learn something and that will be helpful to the project, but small enough that you can probably complete it in one day. Hard enough to stretch you, easy enough to leave you excited and wanting more.

On the Issues page of the MaterialX GitHub, we try to mark things of this size -- maybe a one-day task for somebody who is new to the project -- with a tag called Good First Issue. You can choose one of these marked tasks for Dev Days 2023, but of course you're free to focus on issues without this marking, or even propose new tasks based upon your own interest in MaterialX.

Once you have a specific task in mind, make sure to reach out on the #materialx Slack channel, so that our development team and other Dev Days contributors know what work is in progress. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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