Cover image for Introducing a New Initiative: IRL.DEV
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Introducing a New Initiative: IRL.DEV

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・2 min read

As was discussed in this post yesterday, meeting up irl is awesome.

No, we aren't (yet) announcing a first conference, but we are introducing an initiative to help our community members organize and bridge the online-offline gap.

The such community-led event actually happened last night in New York City, with support from DEV staff but not officially run by us. Some of us were in attendance and it was absolutely awesome. It got us really excited about this going forward.

We had speakers we recognized from the community, and lots of familiar faces. We also had new faces who were being introduced to DEV for the first time. (Speakers are absolutely not necessary for a great meetup by the way, feel free to organize less structured gatherings).

If you would be interested in organizing a meetup in your city, visit our new website:


We expect organizers to be able to commit to managing their meetups on an ongoing basis and being in touch with us to help enriching, inclusive events.

This new website is an open source project, and because it is separate from our main mothership, contribution should be fairly low-barrier. As of now it is mostly designed for accepting applications to organize events, but we can evolve it together to be a hub for information about how the community is organizing itself.

Bridging the online-offline gap in creative ways will be a fun project all in all. 😄

GitHub logo thepracticaldev / IRL.DEV

There's nothing better than meeting your internet friends, IRL.

There's nothing more awesome than meeting your internet friends, IRL

About the Project

IRL.DEV is a site that features real-life events from volunteer members of the DEV Community.

It is built with Gatsby and Airtable.


Install Gatsby

npm install -g gatsby-cli

Clone the repository

git clone git@github.com:thepracticaldev/IRL.DEV.git

Change into the project


Install the dependencies

npm i

Set up a link to your development database. Here is the database, click the copy base button.

If you haven't generated you API key already go to https://airtable.com/account and generate your Airtable API key now.

Then, go to your copied base and look at its API documentation. If you go to the help button on the top right, and click on API documentation. Go to the node.js or JavaScript tab. You should see a line of code that looks like this:

const base = require("airtable")

It's a Gatsby site, which is an experiment in a different approach for our team and it should be a lot of fun to see where this goes. @aspittel lead the way in making this happen.

Posted on by:

ben profile

Ben Halpern


A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.

The DEV Team

The team behind this very platform. 😄


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Would it be possible to use this site to gauge interest?

For example, I could enter that I live in Maastricht, the Netherlands, and I'd be willing to travel up to 100km. Then, someone wanting to organize a meetup can see how many people are interested in a meetup in that area, or if they're close to several cities, can think about which cities make sense to have a meetup.


Second this idea; it's a good'un.


Great idea! I might be interested in organizing some events (live on sunnyvale/cupertino border). Are you guys open to having another company run some events (for example my startup might be interested)?


Yep. Yesterday's event was run by TheSkimm, and they gave a spiel before things started about who they were and why you might want to come work there, etc.

That seems like a great pattern for this kind of thing. I'll add that to the site right away.


Very cool. Think there would be a lot of interest in my area. I'll talk to my team and we'll be in touch :)

Yeah, to echo Ben, we feel like having companies involved with these events is very natural and mutually beneficial. After all, businesses have established access to space (especially after regular working hours), they'll oftentimes be in a position to sponsor food/drink, and they can benefit from a tasteful "pitch" during the event.

As the project evolves, we'll be outlining more guides and best-practices, but my Connect Inbox is also open if you'd like to chat before then.

Makes a ton of sense. I think my team would love to support a community event like this. We'll talk soon :)


OMG I love this! Boom - hey hey to fellow Montreal dev.to members! I'm waiting till September so we can really make this as awesome as possible.


Awesome! I don't think I'll be able to come even though I've been meaning to go to Montreal (I have two siblings who live there).

September 18th is my birthday 😄


Thanks to @dangolant for hosting the first irl.dev event at The Skimm btw. Awesome stuff!!


our pleasure!!! Thanks for letting us try out the first one :)


I think it's a good idea, but I have a few comments.

First off, I know it's early days, but it's unclear from the site whether it's about:

  • specifically creating events in the name of dev.to
  • organising other events and listing them if they may be of interest to dev.to members
  • cataloguing externally-organised events that may be of interest to dev.to members
  • something related to development in general but not specificaly dev.to

We have existing projects sharing open data, like open tech calendar for example. Is there likely to be data fed to and from dev.irl in some standard(ish) way that other services supply or consume, or is it going to be about members curating their own events?

What's the purpose of it being on a separate URL? That adds to my confusion, as a naive visitor, as to whether it's intended to be a separate entity.

The word "dev" is very general, and (like you can see with things like the comments on the D&D alignment tweet from a few days ago) it doesn't have the recognition of names like Reddit or SO, which might muddy the waters a little if people think it's a generic site when it's actually tied.

Is it going to be fed back into the main dev.to site as part of people's feeds?


I think this is all valid feedback and we'll try to take it all into account.

specifically creating events in the name of dev.to

This is the closest to what we intend. Less in the name of but more for those people specifically involved in our community. We will have more tie in with dev.to itself as we flesh this out but we felt like standing up a new website would help this initiative have its own special kind of weight which wouldn't be hampered by needing to fit it into the main product right now. We will be looking to create more interesting integrations as we make these work but have to start somewhere and we didn't want to be too top heavy.

The choice of the other domain is as much an experiment as anything. If we are able to create an ecosystem of fun, healthy events one way or another we have accomplished the goal. In terms of the difficulties with DEV, dev.to and naming this thing in general we're still trying to find the right answers there.


Awesome! We at Mikamai already foster a lot of community-led events, providing the location and logistical support communities need in order to organize successful meetups. I already got in touch with my colleagues over at community support in order to try and organize an Italian chapter here in Milan, it would be a great opportunity for everyone!


That sounds awesome, maybe one day I'll organize a conference on my campus :)


Awesome! Maybe start by doing a meetup 😉


Yeah, I'd certainly start with that ! :)

Awesome, submit the form on irl.dev and we'll get going!

Okay, I'll talk about it around me to organize it, then when it's done I can fill out the form with all the necessary informations :). Or can we become an organizer without necessarily providing all the requested informations (date, Link to event page, ...)?


I've been interested in organizing some type of Meetup sponsored by my workplace in Houston, TX and this seems like good timing! I am very interested in being an organizer in the city and will go to my manager to gauge their interest in sponsoring and possibly hosting.


I am in Houston too. I too wonder if my company would let me use our conference rooms on the weekend lol we got a whole building to ourselves.

The main auditorium can hold quite a few. I'll ask around, and see what is the proper way to go about it.


Is this just happening in the US/Canada at the moment, or can friends across the pond participate too? Thinking it would be great if my university knew about this great site and these sort of opportunities. :)


Is this possible in other countries? If yes I would love to set-up an event.


Yes, all countries.

In fact, that’s probably the biggest reason we want this to be community-driven and not necessarily top-down organized by us. There are so many community members all over the world and we don’t want this to be restricted geographically in any way.

Just fill out the form on irl.dev so we can be aware and help out however we can.


Definitely will organize a meetup, workshop or an event soon. Thanks for the work guys and really appreciate your efforts.


Great initiative!

Might try to organize something in Porto, Portugal. Need to get some ideas first ;)


This is super cool! If anyone happens to be located in the Netherlands, let's try this 😄


Fill out the form and we can help you get started and find other organizers if you’re not up for it yourself. 😊


I swear one day I'll come right from Canada down to NYC and spend an awesome night with the crème de la crème people from dev.to


If you're in Montreal or nearby Jim, I'm planning this one for September! eventbrite.com/e/dev-irl-montreal-...


Yes, I'm very close to Montreal (somewhere in the woods but still). I'll consider it really. Is there a facebook post to follow up later ? The only downfall is it's in the middle of the week and there is some hours involved to get to mtl. During the semester if there is something early the next day, it's harder. I'll try


Any interest for a meet up in Seattle?


I love this idea! This is a great idea. I will definitely keep an eye on the project. I'd love to help and contribute to the project. :)


Thinking about bringing it in France.. 👌


Are we encouraged to organize meetups within our workplaces?


Ooo nifty team!

If someone in Sydney (Australia, not Canada 😝) looks to start one up drop me a line as I'd be happy to help but I'm not in a position to run it myself. ☹


Nice one, if someone in the Cologne area, Germany, wants to get something going drop me a line. I’d be happy to help. 👌


That sounds amazing! I love the stack, having something as Airtable to back it all up is a great idea. Also, excited to fill up the first issue 🐛


Can I feel out the form even though I don't have specific ideas for events yet? I'd love to organize a meetup group in my city (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), but I still have to think about the details.


This is great! I'd love to run/be part of a Chicago group!


Can we organise it as a Local Chapter ?
(We are thinking to make a github organisation for this)