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The Hacker Within - Illinois

This is the website that keeps the blog posts for each THW meeting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The rendered website can be found here.

How To Be The Speaker

One very common reason that folks want to contribute to this repository is that they are planning to give the main skill sharing session for some week at THW. To be the speaker, you'll need to sign up, set up, show up, and speak up.

Sign Up

We try to decide the semester meeting topics at the beginning of the session. So, if you have a topic you'd like to talk about, please suggest it over the listhost before the semester starts or show up to the first meeting of the semester.

Set Up

We love sessions that have example code! If you have example code, please place it in an appropriately named directory in the master branch of this GitHub repository. Make a pull request or push your branch to the thehackerwithin/illinois fork. If you know how to do that, please go right ahead. If you aren't sure about forks and pull requests, here are some detailed instructions:

Uploading Example Code

  1. Go here:
  2. Press the Fork button (you'll need a github account)
  3. In your terminal, execute git clone
  4. Enter the new directory with cd illinois
  5. Add the THW remote with git remote add thw
  6. Fetch information about the THW remote with git fetch thw
  7. Now, you need to check what branch you're in git branch
  8. If you're in the master branch, move the important files to an appropriately named directory there. (Browse the directory for examples of other's additions.)
  9. Add the files to the repo: git add <path to your new files>
  10. Commit them. git commit -am "I added files for the tutorial on my topic.."
  11. Git push to your origin with git push origin master
  12. Navigate in your browser to and press the pull request button

Now you're done adding code example files! You'll need to edit the post related to your talk.

Add Your Tutorial to the Site

Rather than preparing a slideshow, please consider leading as interactive a session as possible. This is often done by leading the audience through whatever code examples you pushed to the master branch. Supportive text can be added to the markdown file holding the blog post for your talk. To add text to that file and to edit your bio, switch branches to the gh-pages branch, where the website it held. There, you may need to both create and modify the post.

  1. Navigate in your repository to the gh-pages branch with git checkout gh-pages
  2. Then, create and modify the post as in the sections below.

Creating a Post

In the directory that you just cloned (illinois), you'll notice a _posts directory. The post related to the day and topic of your talk may already exist. If so, skip ahead to "Modifying a Post."

If not, you'll need to create it. Thankfully, you'll also notice a _drafts directory. In the drafts directory, you'll find an empty template for meeting minutes YYYY-MM-DD-subject.markdown. If you're preparing for a special holiday meeting on March 1, 2015, then the proper name for the file you're creating should be something like 2015-03-03-aaronsbirthday.markdown.

  • In the illinois directory, execute cp _drafts/YYYY-MM-DD-subject.markdown _posts/2015-03-03-aaronsbirthday.markdown
  • Then, edit that file as you see fit
  • Add that file to the repository git add _posts/2015-03-03-aaronsbirthday.markdown
  • Commit it: git commit -am "adds a post for march 3"
  • Push it to your fork git push origin gh-pages
  • Check if it worked at .
  • Iterate on this until you're happy
  • and then either push to the upstream gh-pages remote branch or make a pull request.

Modifying a Post

This is very similar to creating a post:

  • if the file for your date is YYYY-MM-DD-tbd.markdown, rename the file replacing "tbd" with your topic
  • edit the post
  • Commit it: `git commit -am "adds a post for march 3"
  • Push it to your fork git push origin gh-pages
  • Check if it worked at .
  • Iterate on this until you're happy
  • and then either push to the upstream gh-pages remote branch or make a pull request.

Build the site locally

If you'd like to test the post before pushing or making a PR, you can build the site locally:

  • Install Jekyll: gem install jekyll
  • Run the jekyll server: jekyll --server

You should have a server up and running locally at http://localhost:4000.

Show Up

Please arrive 10-15 minutes before the start time so that you can set up your computer and test out the projector. Please figure out how to zoom in on text that might be too small from the back. Try command-plus-plus in the terminal and other applications. If you're an emacs user on a mac, you may need accessibility zoom enabled.

Speak Up

The Hacker Within isn't a class and no one is required to attend. We show up to have fun and to learn. Hopefully, your tutorial will teach something useful in a way that is enjoyable. To do this, please consider bringing your A-game. That is, find the enthusiastic tinkering problem-solver inside yourself (The Hacker Within yourself) and bring that version of yourself to share that enthusiasm with us. Enthusiasm is infectious!

About this website.

It's all based on something @katyhuff forked. It's called Left. It uses jekyll. It was extracted from That is, we use Left to lay out this jekyll.

Left is a clean, whitespace-happy layout for Jekyll.

Content Licensing

The content of this blog is liberally licensed to The Hacker Within and to the individual authors of each blog post. Additionally, you're welcome to reshare the content with attribution, because it is CC-BY-3.0 licensed

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Copyright 2013-2015 The Hacker Within.

Left Licensing

The Left layout is MIT with no added caveats. Left is the work of Zach Holman @holman.


THW Chapter at U. Illinois






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