Adding Map Type Response to SUSI.AI Chromebot

SUSI.AI Chromebot has almost all sorts of reply that SUSI.AI Server can generate. But it still missed the Map Type response that was generated by the SUSI.AI Server.

This blog explains how the map type response was added to the chromebot.

Brief Introduction

The original issue was planned by Manish Devgan and Mohit Sharma as an advanced task for Google Code-In 2017. The link to which can be found here: #157

For a long time the issue remained untouched and after GCI got over I assigned the issue to myself as it was a priority issue since MAP type was a major response from the SUSI.AI Server.

How was Map Type response added?

There were a lot of things to be taken in mind before starting working on this issue.

  • Changing code scheme during GCI and other PRs
  • API Response from the SUSI.AI Server
  • Understanding the new codebase that got altered during GCI-17
  • Doing it quick

I will go through all the steps in detail

Changing Code Scheme

The code was altered numerous times with the addition of a number of pull requests during GCI-17 and there were no docstrings for any functions and methods. So I had to figure them out in order to start working on the map type response.

API Response from the SUSI.AI Server

To understand the JSON that server sent, I went to SUSI.AI API and did a simple search for

“Where is Berlin?” and the response generated is given below.

( Since the JSON is very big I am only posting the relevant data for this issue )

 

    "actions": [
      {
        "type": "answer",
        "language": "en",
        "expression": "Berlin (, German: [bɛɐ̯ˈliːn] ( listen)) is the capital and the largest city of Germany as well as one of its 16 constituent states."
      },
      {
        "type": "anchor",
        "link": "https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=13/52.52436820069531/13.41053001275776",
        "text": "Here is a map",
        "language": "en"
      },
      {
        "type": "map",
        "latitude": "52.52436820069531",
        "longitude": "13.41053001275776",
        "zoom": "13",
        "language": "en"
      }
    ]

 

Here we see and understand that “actions” is an Array of JSONs and the third part has “type” as “map”. This is the relevant information that we require for generating the map-type response.

The important variables in this context are: “latitude” and “longitude”.

Understanding the Codebase

Now I had to figure out the new pattern of adding response types to the SUSI.AI Chromebot.

After having a talk with @ms10398 I figured out the route map.

The above image shows the correct flow of Javascript Code that generated the response. After this, I was good to go and start my work.

Adding the Map-Type Response

To start with I chose “LEAFLET.JS” as the Javascript Library that will be used to create maps.

  • So I added the LEAFLET.JS to the JS folder.
  • Now changes were made to the “index.html” file

 

<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”https://unpkg.com/[email protected]/dist/leaflet.css” />

http://”js/leaflet.js”

 

Appropriate CSS was added along with a link to leaflet.js was added.

  • Adding CSS to the “mapClass
.mapClass{

    height : 200px;

    width : 200px;

}

 

  • Generating Maps with dynamic IDs

This part was where I applied brain, as to add the map to any div we required the div to have a proper and unique ID and so a way to generate unique IDs for div without using any external source was to be thought of.

I came with idea of using timestamp, as it will always be unique.

var timeStamp = new Date.now().toString();

 

Then I created the “composeMapReply()” function.

function composeReplyMap(response, action){

    var newDiv = messages.childNodes[messages.childElementCount];

    var mapDiv = document.createElement(“div”);

    var mapDivId = Date.now().toString();

    mapDiv.setAttribute(“id”, mapDivId);

    mapDiv.setAttribute(“class”, “mapClass”);

    newDiv.appendChild(mapDiv);

    messages.appendChild(newDiv);

    var newMap = L.map(mapDivId).setView([Number(action.latitude), Number(action.longitude)], 13);

 L.tileLayer(“https://api.tiles.mapbox.com/v4/{id}/{z}/{x}/{y}.png?access_token={accessToken}”,{

    /*

        This part contains the data for api call.

    */

}).addTo(newMap);

response.isMap = true;

response.newMap = mapDiv;

return response

    

}

 

The complete code can be found: here

At last after adding so many snippets of code we were able to generate the Map-Type response for SUSI.AI Chromebot

GIF

A gif showing the Map-Type response in action.

 

Resources

 

Generating Badges for Manual Data for Pre-Selected Badges

BadgeYay is a Badge Generator developed by FOSSASIA. In recent time there was a BUG that caused the badge generator to throw errors and malfunction while generating the badges.

This error was first reported by me, @gabru-md. And later when everyone seemed to have this bug it was resolved after a complete 48 hour of reverse engineering the code.

What was the Bug?

The bug with the generator was that the server side API did not function well and was not generating badges in cases of Manual Input and Pre-Selected Images.The issue was first made sure and then created on github as Issue number 314 .

Resolving the Bug

Resolving the bug this time was a hard task as the code was not properly maintained due to many PRs being merged and due to this it took me 48 hours to figure out what was wrong with the code.

After like 1 day of reading between the lines it was found out that the bug was caused due to improper “if…else” conditions. There were several  small bugs that arouse when this main bug was being dealt with.

How was it resolved?

Many changes were done to the code to resolve the bug. It was definitely the most time consuming and important fix that I had ever applied to any project.

The only changes were done to the main server file “main.py”.

  • Adding a missing line to the file.
text_on_image = request.form[“text_on_image”]

 

  • Removing unnecessary code for cleaning up the file.
if file.filename == ‘’  and csv ==  ‘’:

    flash(‘Please select a CSV field to upload’)

    return redirect(url_for(‘index’))

 

And

elif:

    if file.find(“png.csv”) != -1:

        if img == ‘’:

            flash(‘{Please upload an image in ...’)   

            return redirect(url_for(‘index’))

    else:

        flash(‘Please upload ...’)

 

  • Adding the relevant code to fix the bug.

 

if img == ‘’:

    img = request.filed[‘image’].filename

    filename = request.files[‘image’].filename + “.csv”

elif csv != ‘’:

Changing filename to “img + .csv” resolved the filename error that caused the badge generator not to recognize the files.

Saving the files to the correct places for the script to recognize them

image.save(os.path.join(app.config[‘UPLOAD_FOLDER’],image.filename))

 

Changing the rest of the code to comply with the changes and make Badgeyay BUG free.

elif eventyay_url != ‘’:

    filename = ‘speaker.png.csv’

    generate_csv_eventyay.tocsv(eventyay_url,filename)

if filename.find(‘png.csv’) != -1:

    if img == ‘’:

        flash(“Please Upload …”)

        return redirect(url_for(‘index’))

else:

    flash(‘Please Upload a CSV …’)

    return redirect(url_for(‘index’))

 

The last change was to change an “if” condition to a relevant one.

if csv == ‘’ and filename == img + ‘.csv’ and eventyay_url == ‘’:

 

All these changes helped resolve one of the major bugs in Badgeyay. With the merging of the associated PR the bug was immediately fixed and Badgeyay was up again.

Challenges

  • Lack of time since service was down for a long time
  • Improper code

 

But I took them as challenges and was able to fix it for once and for all.

Further Improvements

Further Improvements will be leading to a more fast and stable Badgeyay with more user friendly options and an improved UI and stronger UX.

Resources

 

Adding Preview Support to BadgeYay!

In an issue it was requested to add a Preview support for BadgeYay, i.e. Badges could be seen before they were generated.

Why Preview Support?

It is a nice question. But Preview support was needed in a badge generator like BadgeYay.

This can be easily answered by an example. Let us suppose that I want to generate hundreds-thousands of badges for a meetup/event that I have organized. But I am confused as to what will look the best on and as badges. So I can just try them all in the Preview section and then choose the one that I like and generate it.

How to add Preview Support?

Adding Preview Support was not an easy task. Although coding it was not the hard part, but thinking of a way that uses less of the server’s support was a thing to take care of.

I had two options to choose from.

Implement Preview Section from backend

This was the idea that first came to my mind when i thought of implementing something like preview section.

It included of generating badges everytime the user wanted a preview and then using the same SVGs generated to show as the preview of badges.

Problems it had

Using Backend to generate badges for every instance would result to a lot of load to the server prior to the actual badge generation. And making it faster and creating less load on server was the main problem to tackle. So I came up with another idea of using frontend to generate Preview(s).

Implementing Preview Section from frontend

This method of generating preview is far more faster and less load heaving to the server.

It uses technologies such as HTML, CSS and Javascript to  generate preview for badges.

The Pull Request for the same is : here

Changes in index.html

  • Adding a button to view preview
<button type=”button” disabled=”disabled” class=”btn btn-block btn-warning” id=”preview-btn”>Preview</button>

 

  • Adding the text areas for badge

Adding appropriate HTML for text areas.

  • Adding Appropriate CSS
.preview-image{

height: 250px;

width: 180px;

margin-left: 80px;

background-size: cover;

padding: 140px 0 0 5px;

text-align: center;

margin-top: 20px;

}

.preview-image-li{

list-style: none;

color: white;

font-size: 15px;

}

#preview-btn{

font-size: 18px;

}

 

  • Adding Javascript code for functionality
function readURL(input){

if(input.files && input.files[0]){

var reader = new FileReader();

reader.onload = function(e){

$(‘#preview’).css(‘background-image’,’url(‘ + e.target.result + ‘)’);

$(‘#preview’).css(background-size’,’cover’);

$(‘#preview-btn’).prop(“disabled”,false);

};

reader.readAsDataURL(input.files[0]);

}

}

 

The above snippet of code adds the image to the background of the preview div and stretches it to occupy full space.

var textValues = $(‘#textArea’).val();

textValues = textValues.split(“/n”)[0].strip(‘,’);

$(‘#preview-li-1’).text(textValue[0]);

$(‘#preview-li-2’).text(textValue[1]);

$(‘#preview-li-3’).text(textValue[2]);

$(‘#preview-li-4’).text(textValue[3]);

The above snippet of code adds the input from the textArea to the appropriate place on the preview badge.

Further Improvements

Adding a real-time preview feature that allows user to see the changes in real-time therefore making the application more flexible and enhancing user experience.

Resources

 

Resolving Internal Error on Badgeyay

Badgeyay is in development stage and is frequently seen to encounter bugs. One such bug is the Internal Server Error in Badgeyay.

What was the bug?

The bug was with the badge generator’s backend code. The generator was trying to server the zip file that was not present. After going through the log I noticed that it was because a folder was missing from Badgeyay’s directory.

 

I immediately filed an issue #58 which stated the bug and how could it be resolved. After being assigned to the issue I did my work and created a Pull Request that was merged soon.

The Pull Request can be found here.

Resolving the bug

With the help of extensive error management and proper code and log analysis I was able to figure out a fix for this bug. It was in-fact due to a missing folder that was deleted by a subsequent code during zipfile/pdf generation. It was supposed to be recreated every time it was deleted. I quickly designed a function that solved this error for future usage of Badgeyay.

 

How was it resolved?

First I started by checking if the “BADGES_FOLDER” was not present. And if it was not present then the folder was created using the commands below

 

if not os.path.exists(BADGES_FOLDER):

    os.mkdir(BADGES_FOLDER)

 

Then, I added docstring to the remaining part of the code. It was used to empty all the files and folder inside the “BADGES_FOLDER”. We could have to delete two things, a folder or a file.

So proper instructions are added to handle file deletion and folder deletion.

 

for file in os.listdir(BADGES_FOLDER):

    file_path = os.path.join(BADGES_FOLDER, file)

    try:

        if os.path.isfile(file_path):

            os.unlink(file_path)

        elif os.path.isdir(file_path):

            shutil.rmtree(file_path)

    except Exception:

        traceback.print_exc()

 

Here “os.unlink” is a function that is used to delete a file. And “shutil.rmtree” is a function that deletes the whole folder at once. It is similar to “sudo rm -rf /directory”. Proper error handling is done as well to ensure stability of program as well.

Challenges

There were many problems that I had to face during this bug.

  • It was my first time solving a bug, so I was nervous.
  • I had no knowledge about “shutil” library.
  • I was a new-comer.

But I took these problems as challenges and was able to fix this bug that caused the INTERNAL SERVER ERROR : 500 .

Resources

 

 

Contributing to Open Event Android App

The Open Event Android project consists of two components. The App Generator is a web application that is hosted on a server and generates an event Android app from a zip with JSON and binary files (examples here) or through an API. The second component we are developing in the project is a generic Android app – the output of the app generator. The Android app has a standard configuration file, that sets the details of the app (e.g. color scheme, logo of event, link to JSON app data).

The process for making a contribution in the project starts with making your account on GitHub. Secondly find the open source projects that interest you. Now as for me I started with open-event-android. Then follow these steps:

  1. Go through the project’s README.md file and get information about the various aspects and technologies of the project.
  2. Now fork that repo in your account.
  3. Open or setup the project as per the given information present in its documentation, for example for the sample android app you have to clone the project in your local machine and open it up using Android Studios.

Now you have your version of the project now it’s time for you to use the project on your own.

While doing so you have to work like a tester of the project, so you should explore each and every bit and find out any possible anomaly in the project that you would like to work on. Once you have that you are ready to create an issue.

Following are the steps to create a new issue,

Navigate to the main repo link, you will see an issues section as follows:

  • Click the new issue button and report every detail about the issue. For eg. The first issue that i worked on was Issue-1934
  • Even if you don’t find any problem in the project on your own you can always work on issues created by others, you just have to let the maintainers know that you want to work on the issue by commenting in it Issue 1709.
  • Now the next step is to work on that issue
  • On your machine you don’t have to change the code in the development branch as it’s considered to be as a bad practice. Hence checkout as a new branch. For eg. I checked out for the above issue as ‘crashfixed’
  • Make the necessary changes to that branch and test that the code is compiling and the issue is fixed followed by
  • The add command is used to bring the changes to the staging area so that they are ready to be committed/saved. You can also add individual files with the command
  • Next we want to save the changes that we made till now which can be done through git commit.
  • Finally we would push the changes that we made to our forked repository in github.
  • Now navigate to the repo and you will an option to create a Pull Request.
    Mention the Issue number and description and changes you done ,include screenshots of the fixed app.For eg.My first PR was  Pull Request 1936.

Sending the pull request is asking the maintainers of the code to add your changes to the main project which would be visible to all the contributors. But before getting merged your code may have to pass through several tests as in my case were:

-codacy/pr

-continuous-integration/travis-ci/pr

After your code passes the above tests you you would require one approved review from one of the maintainers of the project to get your code merged into the main one.

If your code is perfect in the very first attempt it would be accepted by the maintainer otherwise you would be asked to do some changes in it. You could carry out the changes on your local machine and once you are done with them you could push them to your forked repository and the changes would be amended in your pull request on its own.

Resources

Announcing the FOSSASIA Codeheat Winners 2017/2018

Today we are very proud to announce our Grand Prize Winners and Finalist Winners of Codeheat 2017/2018.

Codeheat was epic in every regard. Participants not only solved a massive amount of issues in FOSSASIA’s projects, reviewed pull requests, shared scrums, and wrote blog posts, but most importantly they encouraged and helped one another to learn and progress along the way. It was a very, very busy 5 months for everyone – we had 647 developers from 13 countries participating in the contest supported by 43 mentors. Thank you all for this amazing achievement!

With so much excellent work getting done, it was a super hard to choose the Grand Prize and Finalist Winners of the contest. Our winners stand out in particular as they contributed to FOSSASIA projects on a continuously high level following our Free and Open Source Best Practices. They worked in different areas – code, reviews, blog posts and supported other community members.

Each of the Grand Prize Winners is awarded a travel grant to join us at the FOSSASIA Summit in Singapore from March 22-25, 2018 where they receive the official Codeheat award, and meet with mentors and FOSSASIA developers. Other Finalist Winners will receive travel support vouchers to go to a Free and Open Source Software event of their choice. Active participants will also receive a certificate over the upcoming weeks. FOSSASIA mentors will meet many contributors and hand out prizes and Tshirts at our regular meetups and events across Asia.

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winners, Finalist Winners, and all of the participants who spent the last few of months learning, sharing and contributing to Free and Open Source Projects. Well-done! We are deeply impressed by your work, your progress and advancement. The winners are (in alphabetical order):

Grand Prize Winners

Manish Devgan

Parth Shandilya

Raghav Jajodia

Finalist Winners

Anshuman Verma

Ayush Gupta

Bhavesh Anand

Mohit Sharma

Nikit Bhandari

Ritika Motwani

Vaibhav Singh

About Codeheat

Codeheat is a contest that the FOSSASIA organization is honored to run every year. We saw immense growth this year in participants and the depth of contributions.

Thank you Mentors and Supporters

Our 40+ mentors and many project developers, the heart and soul of Codeheat, are the reason the contest thrives. Mentors volunteer their time to help participants become open source contributors. Mentors spend hundreds of hours during answering questions, reviewing submitted code, and welcoming the new developers to project. Codeheat would not be possible without their patience and tireless efforts. Learn more about this year’s mentors on the Codeheat website.

Certificate of Participation

Participating developers, mentors and the FOSSASIA admin team learnt so much and it was an amazing and enriching experience and we believe the learnings are the main take-away of the program. We hope to see everyone continuing their contributions, sharing what they have learnt with others and to seize the opportunity to develop their code profile with FOSSASIA. We want to work together with the Open Tech community to improve people’s lives and create a better world for all. As a participating developer or mentor, you will receive your certificate over the upcoming weeks. Thank you!

More Links

Installing Susper Search Engine and Deploying it to Heroku

Susper is a decentralized Search Engine that uses the peer to peer system yacy and Apache Solr to crawl and index search results.

Search results are displayed using the Solr server which is embedded into YaCy. All search results must be provided by a YaCy search server which includes a Solr server with a specialized JSON result writer. When a search request is made in one of the search templates, a HTTP request is made to YaCy. The response is JSON because that can much better be parsed than XML in JavaScript.

In this blog, we will talk about how to install Susper search engine locally and deploying it to Heroku (A cloud application platform).

How to clone the repository

Sign up / Login to GitHub and head over to the Susper repository. Then follow these steps.

  1. Go ahead and fork the repository
https://github.com/fossasia/susper.com

2.   Get the clone of the forked version on your local machine using

git clone https://github.com/<username>/susper.com.git

3. Add upstream to synchronize repository using

git remote add upstream https://github.com/fossasia/susper.com.git

Getting Started

The Susper search application basically consists of the following :

  1. First, we will need to install angular-cli by using the following command:
npm install -g @angular/[email protected]

2. After installing angular-cli we need to install our required node modules, so we will do that by using the following command:

npm install

3. Deploy locally by running this

ng serve

Go to localhost:4200 where the application will be running locally.

How to Deploy Susper Search Engine to Heroku :

  1. We need to install Heroku on our machine. Type the following in your Linux terminal:
wget -O- https://toolbelt.heroku.com/install-ubuntu.sh | sh

This installs the Heroku Toolbelt on your machine to access Heroku from the command line.

  1. Create a Procfile inside root directory and write
web: ng serve
  1. Next, we need to login to our Heroku server (assuming that you have already created an account).

Type the following in the terminal:

heroku login

Enter your credentials and login.

  1. Once logged in we need to create a space on the Heroku server for our application. This is done with the following command
heroku create
  1. Add nodejs buildpack to the app
heroku buildpacks:add –index 1 heroku/nodejs
  1. Then we deploy the code to Heroku.
git push heroku master
git push heroku yourbranch:master # If you are in a different branch other than master

Resources

Installing the Loklak Search and Deploying it to Surge

The Loklak search creates a website using the Loklak server as a data source. The goal is to get a search site, that offers timeline search as well as custom media search, account and geolocation search.

In order to run the service, you can use the API of http://api.loklak.org or install your own Loklak server data storage engine. Loklak_server is a server application which collects messages from various social media tweet sources, including Twitter. The server contains a search index and a peer-to-peer index sharing interface. All messages are stored in an elasticsearch index.

The site of this repo is deployed on the GitHub gh-pages branch and automatically deployed here: http://loklak.org

In this blog, we will talk about how to install Loklak_Search locally and deploying it to Surge (Static web publishing for Front-End Developers).

How to clone the repository

Sign up / Login to GitHub and head over to the Loklak_Search repository. Then follow these steps.

  1. Go ahead and fork the repository
https://github.com/fossasia/loklak_search
  1.   Get the clone of the forked version on your local machine using
git clone https://github.com/<username>/loklak_search.git
  1.   Add upstream to synchronize repository using
git remote add upstream https://github.com/fossasia/loklak_search.git

Getting Started

The Loklak search application basically consists of the following :

  1. First, we will need to install angular-cli by using the following command:
npm install -g @angular/[email protected]

2. After installing angular-cli we need to install our required node modules, so we will do that by using the following command:

npm install

3. Deploy locally by running this

ng serve

Go to localhost:4200 where the application will be running locally.

How to Deploy Loklak Search on Surge :

Surge is the technology which publishes or generates the static web-page demo link, which makes it easier for the developer to deploy their web-app. There are a lot of benefits of using surge over generating demo link using GitHub pages.

  1. We need to install surge on our machine. Type the following in your Linux terminal:
npm install –global surge

This installs the Surge on your machine to access Surge from the command line.

  1. In your project directory just run
surge
  1. After this, it will ask you three parameters, namely
Email
Password
Domain

After specifying all these three parameters, the deployment link with the respective domain is generated.

Auto deployment of Pull Requests using Surge :

To implement the feature of auto-deployment of pull request using surge, one can follow up these steps:

  • Create a pr_deploy.sh file
  • The pr_deploy.sh file will be executed only after success of Travis CI i.e. when Travis CI passes by using command bash pr_deploy.sh
#!/usr/bin/env bash
if [ “$TRAVIS_PULL_REQUEST” == “false” ]; then
echo “Not a PR. Skipping surge deployment.”
exit 0
fi
npm i -g surge
export [email protected]
# Token of a dummy account
export SURGE_TOKEN=d1c28a7a75967cc2b4c852cca0d12206
export DEPLOY_DOMAIN=https://pr-${TRAVIS_PULL_REQUEST}-fossasia-LoklakSearch.surge.sh
surge –project ./dist –domain $DEPLOY_DOMAIN;

Here, Travis CI is first installing surge locally by npm i -g surge  and then we are exporting the environment variables SURGE_LOGIN , SURGE_TOKEN and DEPLOY_DOMAIN.

Now, execute pr_deploy.sh file from .travis.yml by using command bash pr_deploy.sh

Resources

The Road to Success in Google Summer of Code 2017

It’s the best time when GCI students can get the overview experience of GSoC and all the aspiring participant can get themselves into different projects of FOSSASIA.

I’m a Junior year undergraduate student pursuing B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Patna. This summer, I spent coding in Google Summer of Code with FOSSASIA organization. It feels great to be an open-source enthusiast, and Google as a sponsor make it as icing on the cake. People can learn new things here and meet new people.

I came to know about GSoC through my senior colleagues who got selected in GSoC in the year 2016. It was around September 2016 and I was in 2nd year of my college. At that time, last year, result of GSoC was declared.

What is GSoC?

Consider GSoC as a big bowl which has lots of small balls and those small balls are open-source organizations. Google basically acts as a sponsor for the open-source organizations. A timeline is proposed according to the applied organization and then student select their favorite organization and start to contribute to it. Believe me, it’s not only computer science branch specific, anyone can take part in it and there is no minimum CPI requirement. I consider myself to be one of the examples who have an electrical branch with not so good academic performance yet successfully being part of GSoC 2017.

How to select an organization?

This is the most important step and it takes time. I wandered around 100 organizations to find where my interest actually lies. But now, I’ll describe how to sort this and find your organization a little quicker. Take a pen and paper (kindly don’t use notepad of pc) and write down your field of interest in computer science. Number every point in decreasing order of your interest. Then for each respective field write down its basic pre-requisites. Visit GSoC website, go to organization tab and there is a slide for searching working field of the organization. Select only one organization, dig out its website, see the previous project and its application. If nothing fits you, repeat the same with another organization. And if that organization interests you, then look for a project of that organization. First of all, look at that application of the project, and give that application a try and must give a feedback to the organization. Then try to find that what languages, modules, etc that project used to work and how the project works. Don’t worry if nothing goes into your mind. Find out the developers mailing list, their chat channel, their code base area. And ask developers out there for help.

First Love It:

Open-Source, it’s a different world which exists on Earth. All organizations are open-source and all their codes are open and free to view. Find things that interests you the most and start to love the work. If you don’t understand a code, learn things by doing and asking. Most of the times we don’t get favorable responses, in such times we need to carry on and have patience for the best to happen.

My Favourite part:

GSoC has been my dream since the day I came to know about it. It’s only through this that one gets a chance to explore open-source softwares, and organizations get a chance to hire on board developers. This is the great initiative taken by Google which brings hope for the developers to increase the use of open-source. This is one of the ways through which one can look into the codes of the developers and help them out and even also get helped.

GSoC is the platform through which one can implement lots of new things, meet new people, develop new softwares and see the world around in a different way. That’s what happened with me, it’s just at the end of the first phase, my love towards open-source increased exponentially. Now I see every problem in my life as a way to solve it through the open-source. Rather it’s part of arranging an event or designing an invitation, I am encouraged to use open-source tools to help me out. It becomes very easy to distribute data and convey information through open-source, so the people can reach to you much easier.

You always see a thing according to your perspective and it’s always the best but the open-source gives it a view through the perspective of the world and gets the best from them through a compilation of all the sources. One can give ideas, their views, find something that other can’t even see and increase its karma through contribution. And all these things have been made possible through GOOGLE only. I became such that I can donate the rest of my life working for open-source. GSoC is responsible for including the open-source contribution in my daily life. It made me feel really bad if my Github profile page has 0 contributions at the end of the day. Open Source opens door to another world.

Challenging part:

To conclude, I would say that GSoC made me love the challenge. I became such that the things that come easily to me don’t taste good to me at all. Specifically, GSoC’s most challenging part is to get into it that is to get selected. I still can’t believe that I was selected. Now onwards it’s just fun and learning. Each and every day, I encountered several issues, bugs, etc but just before going to bed at night, there were things which collectively made me feel that whether the bug has been solved or not, but I was able to break the upper most covering of that conch shell. And such things increases the motivation and light up the enthusiasm to tackle the problem. Open-Source not only taught me to control different snapshots of software but also of time. I learn to manage different works of day efficiently and it includes the contribution in open-source as part of my daily life.

Advice to students:

The only problem new developers have is to get started. I’ll advise them to close their eyes and dive into it without thinking whether they would be able to complete this task or not. Believe me, you will gradually find that whether the task is completed or not but you are much above the condition than you were at the time of beginning the task.

Just learn by doing the things.

Make mistakes and enlist them as “things that will not work” so one may read it and avoid it.

GSoC Project link: https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/projects/#5560333780385792
Final Code Submission: https://gist.github.com/meets2tarun/270f151d539298831ce542be5f733c82

What is Open Source and why you should do it?

Since Codeheat is going on and Google Code-in has started, I would like to share some knowledge with the new contributors with the help of this blog.

What is an Open Source software?

When googled, you will see:

“Open-source software is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.”

To put it in layman terms, “A software whose source code is made available to everyone to let them change/improve provided that the contributor who changes the code cannot claim the software to be his own.”

Thus, you don’t own the software thoroughly. All you can do is change the code of the software to make it better. Now, you may be thinking what’s there in for you? There are all pros according to me and I have explained them in the latter half of this article.

Why am I writing this?

I was just in the freshman’s year of my college when I came to know about the web and how it works. I started my journey as a developer, building things, started doing some projects and keeping it with myself. Those days,  exploring more, I first came to know about the Open Source software.

Curiously, wanting to know more about the same, I got to know that anyone can make his/her software Open so as to make it available to others for use and development. Thus, learning more about the same led me to explore other’s projects on GitHub and I went through the codebases of the softwares and started contributing. I remember my first contribution was to correct a “typo” i.e correcting a spelling mistake in the README of the project. That said, I went on exploring more and more and got my hands on Open Source which made me share some of my thoughts with you.

What’s there in for you doing Open Source Contribution?

1) Teaches you how to structure code:

Now a days, nearly many of the software projects are Open Sourced and the community of developer works on the projects to constantly improve them. Thus, big projects have big codebases too which are really hard to understand at first but after giving some time to understand and contribute, you will be fine with those. The thing with such projects is they have a structured code, by “structured”, I mean to say there are strict guidelines for the project i.e they have good tests written which make you write the code as they want, i.e clean and readable. Thus, by writing such code, you will learn how to structure it which ultimately is a great habit that every developer should practice.

2) Team Work:

Creating and maintaining a large project requires team work. When you contribute to a project, you have to work in a team where you have to take others opinions, give your opinions, ask teammates for improvisations or ask anything whichever you are stuck with. Thus, working in team increases productivity, community interaction, your own network, etc.

3) Improves the developer you:

Okay, so I think, one of the most important part of your developer journey is and should be “LEARNING ALWAYS”. Thus, when you contribute, your code is reviewed by others (experts or maintainers of project) who eventually point out the mistakes or the improvisations to be done in the code so that the code can be written much cleaner than you had written. Also, you start to think a problem widely. While solving the problem, you ensure that the code you have written makes the app scalable for a large number of users, also prolonging the life of code.

4) Increases your Network:

One advantage of Open Source contribution is that it also increases your network in the developer community. Thus, you get to know about the things that you have never heard of, you get to explore them, you get to meet people, you get to know what is going in what parts of the world, etc. Having connections with other developers sitting in different countries is always a bonus.

5) Earn some bucks too:

At the end of the day, money matters. Earlier days, people used to think that contributing to Open Source projects won’t earn you money, etc. But if you are a maintainer or a continuous contributor of a great project, you get donations to get continuing the project and making it available to people.

For students in college, doing Open Source is a bonus. There are programmes like:

These programmes offer high incentives and stipends to the fellow students. FOSSASIA participates in GSoC so you can go ahead and try getting in GSoC under FOSSASIA.

6) Plus point for job seekers:

When it comes to applying for job, if you have a good Open Source profile, the recruiter finds a reason to take you out and offer you an interview since you already know how to “manage a project”, “work in team”, “get work done”, “solve a problem efficiently”, etc. Now a days, many companies mention on their job application page as “Open Source would be a bonus”.

7) Where can you start:

We have many projects at FOSSASIA to start with. There are no restrictions on the language since we have projects available for most of the languages.

Currently, we are having a couple of programs open at FOSSASIA. They are:

Feel free to check out the programs and the projects under FOSSASIA at https://github.com/fossasia.

Conclusion

So, yeah. This was it. Hope you understood what Open Source is and how would it benefit you. Keep contributing to FOSSASIA and you will see the effects in no time.