AngularJS makes coding CommonsNet easy

Wizard form

Have you seen a wizard form? I am sure you have.  I think the usage of it is very common these days. I like it very much, too. I think its structure is extremely user-friendly, because it can help us to avoid discouraging users from filling the form with all data. As a user I don’t want to be pushed to fill long forms. It’s annoying. But while you use the wizard no matter how long the form is, firstly you can quickly see the progress of you work and then,  don’t see it at once, just fill one field at a time.

That’s the result why have I decided to use it in CommonsNet project, too.

CommonsNet wizard

Angular JS

To implement this on CommonsNet website I have decided to use AngularJS which makes it easy.

I have used Model View Controller which  is a software design pattern for developing web applications. A Model View Controller pattern is made up of the following three parts

Model − It is the lowest level of the pattern responsible for maintaining data

View − It is responsible for displaying all or a portion of the data to the user

Controller − It is a software Code that controls the interactions between the Model and View.

This model helps us to isolate the application logic from the user interface layer and supports separation of concerns.

The ng-controller directive defines the application controller. A controller is a JavaScript Object

Steps to create AngularJS app

1. Load AngularJS on your webiste.

 src = "http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/angularjs/1.3.14/angular.min.js">

2. Define AngularJS app using ng-app.

<body ng-app = "app">
   ...
</body>

3. Then I have created views – five different html files for each wizard step. Please take a look at partials folder where you can find them. partials.png

4. Next, I have created a .Controller –  WizardController in AngularJS.

var WizardController = app.controller("WizardController", function ($scope) {
// controller logic goes here
}
);
wizard controller.png


 

It is a JavaScript function. I have defined which  view has to be displayed by .controller on each step. As you can see it’s quite easy and clear. You can quickly define and see which step is it , how is its name and which template should be used. It definitely enables you to maintain your app easier, because changes can be made quickly and does not influence on other part of code so you can take control over your code.

5. Then I have used  this line of code to call to my WizardController to display and maintain my views and that’s it.  See the progress on CommonsNet

<div id="wizard-container" ng-controller="WizardController as vm">
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Knitting Pattern Conversion

conversion_273cdef7c-3747-11e6-8ece-a573d396521917-diag

We can convert knitting patterns to svg (middle) which proves the concept but is still a different from the original (right)

Our goal is to create a knit-work exchange format. This includes the conversion to a scematic view of the knittting pattern as svg – to make it endlessly scalable and allow conversions to png, pdf and paper.

This week we ended the prototype of the SVG conversion. The positions are a bit off and instructions are placed above eachother. Most of the work is done.

We are also able to load and save knitting patterns a png files.

(1)a34e6d2c-372d-11e6-9bbd-71c846ead7f9 (2)f6a6bf82-372e-11e6-9467-8bab0e07c099

(3)39e5a556-380b-11e6-8999-726fea9b6078

We loaded them (1), converted them to a knitting pattern and then saved them again as png (2). This way we path our way towards using the ayab software and actually knitting the pattern. Also we can convert the knitting pattern to an svg consisting all of knit instructions (3). Here is the code for it in version 0.0.8.

>>> import knittingpattern
>>> from knittingpattern.convert.image_to_knittingpattern import *
>>> convert_image_to_knitting_pattern.path("head-band.png").temporary_path(".json")
"head-band.json"
>>> k = knittingpattern.load_from_path("head-band.json")
>>> k.to_svg(10).temporary_path(".svg")
"head-band.svg"

Here you can see a proof of concept video:

 

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Towards a unified digital aproach to knitting

Our idea is to create a knitting library for a format that allows conversion of knitting projects, patterns and tutorials. Usually, communities will only focus on the knitting format for their machines. Our approach should be different and be able to support any knitting communities efforts.

Here is our strategy to achieve this:

  • We connect to different communities to get a broader view on what their needs are.
  • Our knitting format is based on knitting instructions like knit, purl, yarn over, skp. We found a comprehensive list on Wikipedia.

Other Communities

From time to time we meet with other people who also knit and could use our software.

First, we met with Viktoria from ETIB Berlin. She taught us a lot about knitting, how she does it, that almost everything could be created from one peace with the machine. Also, that AYAB is used for lace patterns. We saw examples where she let meshes fall so that larger holes were created. Our goal is to support laces in the file format.  Color patterns should be possible across sewing edges.

We are also in touch with Valentina Project. With their software we would be able to connect to yet another community and use their sewing patterns for custom-fit clothes.

We got in touch with Kniterate. They and we share a lot of goals. Because they create a startup, they are very cautious what they release. They focus on their open-source knitting machine first and later on the software. They already created an editor much like we imagined ours to be, but as a web application. A way of collaboration could be that we understand their file format and see how we can support it.

Only talking about our GSoC project is worth it as other people may have seen alike at Maker Faires and other hacky places. We have the chance to bring communities and efforts together.

Knitting Format

A universal knitting format has many concerns:

  • Languages of users differ
  • It should be possible to knit by hand
  • Mesh sizes and wool differ
  • Different knitting machines with different abilities
  • A knitting format for exchange is never complete. A knitting format for machines must be complete.

In contrast to a knitting format for a automatic machine, it is possible, to have machines operate in semi-automatic modes or just to knit by hand. In both cases, meshes could be changed in a way that was never foreseen. This is why we did not base it on meshes and mesh types but rather on instructions – closer to the mental model of the knitters who perform instructions with their hand.

Some of the instructions are understood by the machines, some could be adapted a bit so the machine can do it automatically or faster and some are still necessary to be done by hand. We created a Python module for that, “knittingpattern“. We work on it in a test-driven way.

 

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New Color Schemes in Engelsystem

Engelsystem is a well-built MVC application. It seems to have everything an event manager could want. During the Week 2 of my Summer of Code, I worked on creating new color schemes/themes for the system. Engelsystem initially had 4 color schemes:

  1. Engelsystem cccamp15
    01

  2. Engelsystem 32C3

    02

  3. Engelsystem Dark

    03

  4. Engelsystem Light

    04

Color wields enormous sway over our attitudes and emotions. When our eyes take in a color, they communicate with a region of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which in turn sends a cascade of signals to the pituitary gland, on to the endocrine system, and then to the thyroid glands. The thyroid glands signal the release of hormones, which cause fluctuation in mood, emotion, and resulting behavior.

Research from QuickSprout indicates that 90% of all product assessments have to do with color. “Color,” writes Neil Patel, is “85% of the reason you purchased a specific product.” It’s a no-brainer fact of any website that color affects conversions. Big time.

So, the bottom line is: use the right colors, and you win.

Color schemes lets the user to set the system looks (i.e how the system will appear) which the user likes. During the week 2 of my Summer of Code, I worked on implementing 2 new color schemes for the system:

  1. Engelsystem color scheme-1

    05

  2. Engelsystem color scheme-2

    06

In the later weeks, other developers and I would be working on creating more themes and enhancing them. Anyone who would like to work in the project are welcome. Developers can feel free to take up any issues they would like to work on just like any other open source projects.

Development: https://github.com/fossasia/engelsystem                                           Issues/Bugs:https://github.com/fossasia/engelsystem/issues

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One step at a time – The beginnings of CommonsNet

The beginnings

If you have been accepted to a serious project like Google Summer of Code is, you can feel lost and scared. I think it’s nothing special and probably everyone experiences it. You can feel that pressure because you want to fulfill all expectations, follow your obligations and to do your best, but working in such project is something different from working on your own, private and small one.  Your organisation and mentors require something from you, and they can even provide you with a detailed guideline how to behave but doubts may occur anyway.

My advice is not to give up and go through that tought period in order to experience the joy of results and sense of satisfaction, and to learn something to be better in the future. I am going to tell about my beginnings and to provide you with some tips  from my own experience

CommonsNet

CommonsNet (feel free to see it) is a new project of FOSSASIA. It focuses on providing users with transparent information about WiFi they may use in public places like hotels, restaurants, stations. The thing is that for now, if you go to a new place, and want to connect to Internet, you look for a free WIFI sign and as soon as you find it you try to connect. But think about it, how much do you know about this connection? Is is safe for your private data? How fast is it? Does the Internet connection have any legal restrictions?  I suppose that you answer ‘no’ to all these questions. But what if you know? Or if you can compare details of different WIFI available in a specific public place and connect to more suitable for your needs. I am sure you will appreciate it. I hope to run this project successfully and I am going to tell you more about it in next posts.

How to start?

Due to the fact that CommonsNet is a new project as I have mentioned before, and for now apart from mentor @agonarch and FOSSASIA leaders @mariobehling @hpdang, I am an only contributor, I am in a good position to tell you what are my steps. Remember not to think about all at once. It will make you crazy.

So first of all – prepare your work. Try to get to know about your project as much as possible. Follow group chat, GitHub repositories, do research in Internet about the subject of area of your project or don’t be afraid to ask your team member. That’s what I have done at first. I have prepared a Google Doc about all WiFi details. I  have tried to get to know as much as possible and to gather this information in a clear, easy-to-understand way.

project details

I need it because I will be preparing a wizard form for users to let them provide all important details about their WiFi. I need to think seriously which data are important and have to be used to do it. It is not finished yet and will be changing (yes, I am going to share it with you and update you about changes!) but for now I want you to follow my view about it, how am I going to use the gathered information. wizard-ui

Next step is to prepare user stories. I think it’s a crucial point before you start to implement your project. I think there is no point of developing something until you think who will your user be. You need to imagine him/her and try to predict what he or she may expect from your app. Remeber – even if app is well coded it’s useless until somebody wants to use it. You can find many tutorials how to write a good user story in Internet. Just type ‘user stories’ in Google search. Some of them are here;

http://www.romanpichler.com/blog/10-tips-writing-good-user-stories/

https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/user-stories

You can also see my user stories created for CommonsNet .

Furthermore, I have prepared a mockups to visualize my ideas. I think it’s also an important part of running your project. It will help you to express and concretize your ideas and let the whole team discuss about it. And there is no doubt that it’s easier to change a simple draft of mockups than coded views. You can see my mockups here: CommonsNet MockupsScreen Shot 2016-06-23 at 12.38.20

As soon as you finish all these activities is a high time to start creating issues on GitHub. Yes, of course, you probably have already started, so have I, but I am talking about further issues which help you to take control over your progress and work, discuss on specific subject and share it with other.

Lost on GitHub?

Is is possible at all? I suppose we all know and use GitHub. It’s a perfect place of working to all programmers. Its possibilities seems to be unlimited. But maybe some of you experience the difficulties which I have experienced at first, because just like me you have used GitHub so far only for your private aims and simply just pushed code and have not worried about creating issues, following discussions and  organizing your work step by step . Let me to explain you why and how to follow GitHub flow.

GitHub issues let you and your team take control over your work. It’s really important to create bigger, let’s say main issues, and then subissues, which help you to divide your work into small parts. Remember – only one step at a time! Using my mockups first I have created some issues which present main tasks like ‘deploying app to Heroku’ or different pages in my app like ‘Home’, ‘About us’. And then I have created many smaller issues – subissues to present what tasks I have to do in each section like ‘Home’ -> ‘Impementing top menu’, ‘Implementing footer’, ‘Implementing big button’. It helps me to control where I am, what have been done, and what do I need to do next. And I think the smaller the tasks are, the more fruitful the discussion and work can be, because you can simply refine each detail. Please feel free to see CommonsNet issues. It’s not finished yet, and while working I am going to add further issues but it presents the main idea I am talking about.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 12.57.48.png

I hope these tips help you to run your work and to go through harder time – easier. And remember even the longest journey starts from the first step!

Please follow CommonsNet webiste https://commonsnet.herokuapp.com/ to be updated about progress, latest news and tips how to resolve programming problems you may experience.

Feel free to follow us on social media Facebook https://web.facebook.com/CommonsNetApp/  Twitter https://twitter.com/Commons_Net

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