The Center for Systems Biology Dresden (CSBD) hosted the second scenery and sciview Hackathon from June 10 to 17, 2023. Sixteen international participants from Germany, the USA, Italy, the Czech Republic, India, Tunisia, and six different institutions came together in Dresden to work and code on the visualization toolkit scenery and the Fiji visualization plugin sciview, which is based on scenery. The organizer and sponsor of the Hackathon was Ivo Sbalzarini, Professor of Scientific Computing for Systems Biology at the TU Dresden, Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), and Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science at the TU Dresden and TU Dresden director in the CSBD. He says, "The week together at CSBD brought both projects a great deal further. It was simply amazing to see how the participants inspired each other." The Hackathon was co-organized by the Center for Advanced Systems Understanding (CASUS).
The goal of the hackathon was to bring both software packages close to a stable 1.0 release, which will follow a number of pre-releases. During the hackathon, many contributions to both pieces of software were made; overall, 20 bugfixes and 25 new features and enhancements were contributed by the participants, some of whom were first-time contributors to the projects. The toolkit scenery has been developed by Ulrik Günther and colleagues since 2016 when Ulrik was a PhD student in the research group of Ivo Sbalzarini at the CSBD. He now is a postdoc at CASUS. With scenery, scientists have a flexible open-source visualization framework for Virtual and Augmented Reality at their disposal. Scenery can visualize large volumes of data, such as the data generated from state-of-the-art microscopes. The framework runs on the Java VM, is interoperable with a variety of tools from the popular ImageJ bioimage analysis ecosystem, and is free and open-source software. The plugin sciview for the image-analysis software Fiji provides 3D visualization and Virtual Reality capabilities for images and meshes to end users on the basis of scenery.