Configuring Codacy: Use Your Own Conventions

Screenshot from 2016-07-23 01:08:20

All the developers agree on at least one thing – writing clean code is necessary. Because as someone anonymous said, always write a code as if the developer who comes after you is a homicidal maniac who knows your address. So, yeah, writing clean code is very important. Codacy helps in code reviewing and code quality monitoring. You can set codacy in any of your github project. It automatically identifies new static analysis issues, code coverage, code duplication and code complexity evolution in every commit and pull request.

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Update Fields with Array Input

Screenshot from 2016-07-15 17:57:58.png

There are certain fields in form where instead of a single value, we need an array of values to be stored. This are fields under the same category but having multiple elements, e.g., Tracks, Session Types, Microlocations, Sponsors, Social Links and similar such fields. Now as we know the way of doing this using simple html is provide the <input> tag with property “name” as “<field_name>[]”. So suppose we want to save the names of the mutliple tracks, we will have something like this
Screenshot from 2016-07-15 18:02:09.png

But the problem begins when you want to update name of a particular element (in this case Track). How to do it? Should we delete and create entries again? That doesn’t sound too good, does it? So what should we do? Let’s see….

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Responsive UI: Testing & Reporting

Few days back I wrote a blog about how to make a website responsive. But how do you exactly check for responsiveness of a website? Well, you can do it using your browser itself. Both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome provides responsive mode for testing responsiveness of websites for standard resolutions and also to drag and check for any resolution. Open Event Organizer’s Server has quite some responsive issues, so I would tell about reporting the issues as well.

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Sending Email using Sendgrid API

sendgrid1

One of the important features while creating server side code for some website/ web application is sending emails. But how do we send emails. There are different ways and packages using which you can setup SMTP ports and send emails. So why specifically sendgrid? Because along with SMTP relay, sendgrid also allows you to send emails using its Web API which makes work much easier. Here, we will discuss about using Web API.

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Responsive UI: Modifying Designs with Device Width

An important feature of websites these days with the advancement of smartphones is being responsive with device size. We nowadays not only worry about the various width of laptop or desktop, which don’t vary by a huge amount but also need to worry about tablets and phones which have a much lesser width. The website’s UI should not break and should be as easy to use on phones as it is on desktops/laptops. Using frameworks like bootstraps, Semantic-UI solves this problem to a large extent. But what if we need to modify certain parts by our own in case of mobile devices? How do we do that?

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Open Event Organizer’s Server: Custom Forms

As we know, open event organizer’s server provides a means of creating events. And an important part of events is sessions and speakers of sessions. But different events have different details required for sessions and speakers of sessions. Some might feel that only Name and Email-ID of speaker is enough, while others may require their Github, Facebook, etc. links. So the best way to solve this is to make a custom form so that the organizers get to select what all fields they want in the forms. But how to do this? Well, thanks to JSON

In the Step-5 of Event Creation Wizards, we have option (or switches) to include and require various fields available for the session form and speaker form for applying in a particular Session Form. Here is how it looks:
custom_form.png

As we can see, each field has 2 options – Include and Require. On clicking the Include switch the Require switch is enabled through jQuery. The Include switch means that the field is included in the form while the Require switch signifies that the field will be a compulsory field in the form.

Storing Options

We create a javascript array containing a single object. This object in turn is made up of objects with field names as keys and another object as value. This object in turn contains the keys include and require. The value of include and require is 0 by default. On selecting, their value is changed to 1. An example structure of the array is like:

[{
    "title": {
        "include": 1,
        "require": 1
    },
    "subtitle": {
        "include": 0,
        "require": 0
    },
    "short_abstract": {
        "include": 1,
        "require": 0
    },
    "long_abstract": {
        "include": 0,
        "require": 0
    },
    "comments": {
        "include": 1,
        "require": 0
    },
    "track": {
        "include": 0,
        "require": 0
    },
    "session_type": {
        "include": 0,
        "require": 0
    },
    "language": {
        "include": 0,
        "require": 0
    },
    "slides": {
        "include": 1,
        "require": 0
    },
    "video": {
        "include": 0,
        "require": 0
    },
    "audio": {
        "include": 0,
        "require": 0
    }
}]

This array is then converted to string format using JSON.stringify, submitted through form and stored in database in the form of a string.

Rendering Forms

Now, we have already stored the options as selected by the organizer. But now we need to render the forms based on the JSON string stored in the database. Firstly, in the server side we convert the string to JSON object in python using json.loads . Then we send these JSON objects to the templates.

In the templates, we create form elements based on the values of the include and require of each form element. A sample element HTML is like this:

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 22:38:40

We use a loop to iterate over the JSON object and thus add the elements which have  “include = 1”  . The final form looks something like this:

session-form

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Export Timeline as iCal

iCal or iCalendar is the Internet standard for sharing event schedules or session timelines among each other. The filename extension for iCal is .ics . It is supported by a number of applications such as Google Calendar, Apple Calendar,] Yahoo! Calendar, Lightning extension for Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey, and partially by Microsoft Outlook . In Open Event Organizer’s Server we have added a feature to export the Schedule of a particular Event in iCal format.

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Bower Dependency & Configure .bowerrc to use Proxy

2 weeks into GSOC 2016, the project has really started to grow at a rapid pace. There have been a lot of issues related to UI as well as other different bugs. As we use more and more libraries for the user interface of the dashboard, we added bower dependencies to install the libraries.

Why Use Bower?

Some of the benefits of using bower dependencies are:

  • Simplify what might be called declarative dependency management; i.e. you declare your dependencies in bower.json so that other things can determine them easily
  • No need to commit dependencies to version control
  • Semantic versioning is used to help define a range of acceptable versions for a dependency, which makes it easy to update to newer versions within the defined range
  • No need to locate various builds (debug, minified, etc)
  • Simple to use different builds of a dependency for dev vs. prod
  • Bower lets you easily search and install libraries even locking to a specific version. Bower makes it easy to list and update dependencies.
  • You can distribute the bower.json file and everyone can get up to speed with a simple “bower install”

Prerequisites

There are some things you’ll need before you can start working with Bower:

  • The command line.
  • Node and NPM.
  • Git.
  • Global Installation. .

To install Bower globally:

$ npm install -g bower

bower.json

The `bower.json` file looks a lot like Node’s `package.json`. It is a manifest file that allows you to specify the various packages you want to download along with their version number and various features. This is how the `bower.json` looks for the open-event-orga-server project.Screenshot from 2016-06-04 05:25:08.png

.bowerrc

The `.bowerrc` file can be seen as a configure file for bower which dictates various rules to it. Though mostly this file is ignored and is used mainly to specify the directory where the libraries are to be installed instead of the default `bower_components`, however it can be used to do a lot more than that.

Screenshot from 2016-06-04 05:29:50.png

For example, one of the biggest problem you might face while installing using bower is if your organization/institute has a proxy network through all network connections pass. In that case bower install might not be able to install the libraries. However we can configure the .bowerrc to work via proxy.

Configure .bowerrc to use Proxy

To use http proxy, we can add 2 properties to .bowerrc which will make bower search and install libraries using the proxy. The properties are “proxy” and “https-proxy”. This 2 properties dictate that both http:// and https:// links are to be searched via the proxy. So, to make this settings, we can configure the .bowerrc something like this:
Screenshot from 2016-06-04 05:35:13.png

This should then fix your problem of proxy and will install your libraries as desired.

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Enhancing Open Event Organizer Server

Today, the coding phase of GSoC 2016 starts and marks the beginning of the implementation of all the prototypes and brainstormed ideas. Open Event Organizer Server as explained previously is the backend server for the organizers to create events, sessions, mark tracks, add social links, date/time, etc. It acts as the dashboard for creating data which then gets displayed through the client side apps , i.e open event webapp and android app. Sounds perfect. But as we know there is always scope for improvement.

So, this year we focus on making the server even better. The purpose is not only to make it more useful and powerful with added features but also to make it intuitive for the organizer so that the app can be used to its fullest benefits. A lot of brainstorming by a lot many students and mentors of this project have resulted in a final protoype to be implemented with some features and a better UI.

Some of the features that we have decided to add are:

  • API authentication to provide proper permissions. This helps in improving the overall security.
  • Oauth authentications. No more registration required. The organizer can straightaway use their google, fb and other login credentials to login and create events.
  • Social Links. The organizer can now add social links for their events such as google plus event link, facebook event link, hashtag values, etc.
  • Schedule UI. Now the organizer can directly add the events in calendar and get notified on that particular day. One can also export it in different formats.
  • Overall UI Improvement. We aim to make the UI much more intuitive and easier to use for the organizer so that all the features can be used to its fullest advantage.

This is briefly the aim for making open event organizer server bigger, better and more useful. With this aim, we start our coding today and try to provide a great product by the end of GSoC 2016. A product so good that every event organizer starts using this. Looking forward to making it a success.

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