Ken Cox: Evergreen Contributor of the Month


The Evergreen Outreach Committee is pleased to announce that September’s Contributor of the Month is Ken Cox. Ken is a software engineer and Evergreen library patron who created the Evergreen app Hemlock. 

Ken’s creation of Hemlock is a classic open source tale. “I set out to scratch my own itch,” he tells us. As a patron of the Marlboro Public Library (part of the C/W MARS consortium), Ken was unhappy with the mobile experience that was available at the time. He reached out to the community and while there was no full app available, Dan Wells of Calvin College had sponsored a Google Summer of Code project which resulted in a basic Android app. Ken built on this code, and Hemlock was born.

Ken had been wanting to learn how to develop an Android app for a while, and creating Hemlock provided that experience for him. Ken’s wife, a librarian who has worked in public libraries and school libraries (some of which were using Evergreen), had a lot of positive influence on the design and features available in the app. Ken specifically cites her as the impetus behind the app’s ability to log in to multiple accounts.

Later on, Ken worked with several Evergreen consortia to develop their own branded versions of Hemlock. While Ken had not initially intended to create an iOS app, he did create one for Georgia PINES and other consortia. “Apple is really different, but in the end I had a great time [creating the app] and I’m really proud of that accomplishment.”

Ken’s day job as a software engineer finds him more often on the server side of things. His earliest open source contribution is the script sccs2rcs, which is now bundled with the GNU Revision Control System. Ken has been working full-time in the software industry since – in his own words – “before email addresses had the @ in them!”

Ken attended the Hack-a-way in 2015 when it was held in Massachusetts, and had a positive experience there. While no one was specifically working on Android development, he did learn how to set up virtual machines to run his own Evergreen test server to assist with development and debugging.

Hemlock is available in the Google Play Store in both generic and branded versions, and in branded versions at the Apple Store.

Do you know someone in the community who deserves a bit of extra recognition? Please use this form to submit your nominations. We ask for your email in case we have any questions, but all nominations will be kept confidential.

Any questions can be directed to Andrea Buntz Neiman via abneiman@equinoxinitiative.org or abneiman in IRC.

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