EU-FOSSA Symfony Hackathon

Yanick Witschi
4 min readApr 8, 2019


I had the chance to be part of the biggest Open Source Software hackathon I’ve ever experienced so far: The EU-FOSSA 2 Hackathon took place on 6 and 7 April in Brussels and it truly was an amazing experience!

So, what’s EU-FOSSA 2 anyway? EU-FOSSA stands for «EU-Free and Open Source Software Auditing» and is a program managed by the European Commission’s Directorate General of Informatics (DIGIT).
Put in my own (maybe oversimplified) words: It’s the EU Commission’s tool to help improve security and stability of Open Source Software that is being used by both, the whole organization but also the general public.
Not only did they organize this very first hackathon (of which hopefully many will follow) but they also award bug bounties up to € 25,000 for security vulnerabilities discovered, run studies and a lot more. Find out more about the program and the people involved on the web.

This hackathon was all about Symfony and closely related projects such as API Platform or Doctrine. Personally, I’m super glad that the Symfony Diversity Initiative also got its place in the program! As far as I could observe, there were pretty intense discussions going on as to how we can help diversity evolve in both, the Symfony and OSS community but also the EU as the organization itself which sounds awesome to me!

I’m not going to summarize all the statistics like number of Pull Requests or issues closed because I think others did that already pretty well. Also, Fabien Potencier announced that he’ll write an official blog post on where he’s surely going to include a bit of numbers (I’ll link it here once it’s published).

I spent my weekend working mainly on API Platform and the Symfony documentation where I helped closing some issues and PR’s that were open for some time.
For API Platform I also worked on extracting the hard dependency on the PHP MongoDB extension into its own test suite making it easier for first-time contributors to join the project and getting their tests green faster :-) Moreover, I’ve documented how the Dotenv::loadEnv() method works or in other words, in what order your Symfony Flex .env files are loaded which I noticed was hard to understand for many developers new to Flex as well.

As Fabien said during the closing session, we’ve achieved probably 2 months worth of work within two days. That’s huge! But still, it’s not the most important thing that happened this weekend if you ask me. I’ve met people I had only «talked» to on GitHub, Slack or via e-mail. Some of which hide behind avatars (or sunglasses 😃) or did not even make their real names public anywhere. For example, I had met some of the API Platform core team members at SymfonyCon before but you just never really get the chance to talk more than like 10 minutes because then the next session starts or the next person appears and it’s usually just a rather busy environment to have a more intense discussion. This weekend, I got to know like half of the team and went on to join the Symfony docs corner where I met Wouter, Christian and Oskar (not exactly in the docs corner, get well soon!!) for the first time and it was just a really awesome experience to see all these people, how they work and how easygoing and relaxed they are and just in general to see how supportive and welcoming the whole Symfony community is.

I did tweet what I felt after the first day and according to the likes it got, I’m pretty convinced every participant felt the same:

Overall there was so much positive energy it really did whet my appetite! So I don’t think I’m going to stop contributing anytime soon :-)

I would like to thank the BeMyApp team, Nicolas and the whole EU FOSSA team for putting together an amazing event. Moreover, I’d like to thank all the people in charge within the the EU Commission’s department for informatics (DG DIGIT) for their leap of faith and inviting us to Brussels so we can all meet. I hope we were able to live up to your expectations!
Again, thank you for this wonderful experience!

Now I’m super exhausted but also very happy. I desperately need some sleep :-) Looking forward to seeing you all at SymfonyCon in Amsterdam at the latest!



Yanick Witschi

Open-minded Swiss dev, creating stuff mainly with PHP. Especially interested in performance and APIs. When not at work, I like sports and Scotch!