But more important than the number of people participating, or the number of projects, has been the way the work at the Hackathons has helped advance the work of the IETF more broadly. While the IETF's operating mantra has long included "running code", hackathons have brought that code closer to the standards-making process--not only physically and temporally, since hackathons have been held just before IETF meetings, but also because they have provided a more direct path for the lessons learned from implementation to inform the standards themselves. Rather than waiting for standards to be defined and then working on interoperable implementations, the IETF Hackathons encourage implementation in parallel with standards development in order to arrive at higher quality and usable standards more quickly.
Over the past three-plus years, there have been many amazing project covering a lot of work underway in the IETF. One example has been the ongoing work to develop and test implementations of TLS 1.3. The IETF Hackathon in April 2016 was the first to have a dedicated TLS 1.3 project, and work has continued as a project organized at nearly every IETF Hackathon held since. Just ahead of the IETF 101 meeting last month, the TLS 1.3 specification was approved for publication as an RFC. There was also a TLS 1.3 hackathon project in London, this time led by remote participants - highlighting another exciting aspect of IETF Hackathons that have developed over time: You don't need to be in the main hackathon location to participate.