Open is Becoming the New Common Foundation across Business, Government, Science, and Industry

Interview with Shanker V Selvadurai, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of Cloud and Cognitive Software for IBM Asia Pacific

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I am Shanker Selvadurai and currently the Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of Cloud and Cognitive Software for IBM Asia Pacific. I am based in Singapore and lead the technical organization that helps clients across Asia Pacific to explore and co-create cloud-based solutions that leverage data, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to deliver better decisions and outcomes.

I joined IBM in 2006.  Prior to IBM, I held key leadership positions in areas of research, development, consulting, sales and marketing with technology companies like AT&T, NCR and Fujitsu as well as start-up BlueGill Technologies. During this period I lead teams varying in size from 6 to over 1,000 while being based in North America, Europe and Asia.

I have a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Business Administration. I am also an Open Group Certified Distinguished Architect. Besides having published international patents/papers, I have actively contributed to international technology standards committees that include the IFX Forum, OFX Consortium and the Microsoft Advisory Council. I was also an adjunct lecturer at the Singapore Management University, teaching courses related to Services Science and Advanced Business Technology.

Tell us about your session at the FOSSASIA Summit, what will you cover?

At the FOSSASIA Summit, I am participating in a panel on “Business, Government, Science – What Opportunities Does “Open” Bring to Society”.  I hope to share IBM’s involvement in the open source movement, how businesses like IBM benefit from open source, as well as share thoughts about approaching open contribution and open governance in the future.

Shanker V Selvadurai handing over IBM Cloud Prize for Hackathon Winners

Business, Government, Science – What Opportunities Does “Open” Bring to Society from your point of view?

Open is becoming the new common foundation across business, government, science, and industry today.  For example, companies that still compete head-to-head in the marketplace are coming together to collaborate in open source communities.  They contribute to open source software and use it in their own IT systems and applications. They gain a competitive advantage — even though they may be helping their competitors in the short run.  The data demonstrates that companies with open source programs see more benefits from open source code and community participation.

IBM Connecting with Open Source Community at FOSSASIA Summit
International IBM Team Participating in FOSSASIA Summit

What is the role of Free Open Source Software in cloud and AI solutions in IBM?

Our offering portfolio, especially for our growth initiatives such as cloud and AI, is based on a solid foundation of open technologies.  Most of our strategic initiatives are founded on open source projects or communities, and we work across a wide variety of internal stakeholders to ensure that that the contributions we make to the community also provide greater value to our clients.

IBM Training on Open Source Cloud and AI Technologies at FOSSASIA OpenTechSummit
Many Open Source Developers Connect with IBM At the Booth

What was your motivation to work for IBM and to participate in the FOSSASIA Summit?

IBM has a long history as a leader in, and supporter of open source communities, most notably in the Apache, Linux, and Eclipse Foundations.  I joined IBM to help continue this tradition and I am looking forward to discussing new ideas to help build the future of open source at FOSSASIA Summit.

Which FOSS projects in the area of cloud and AI can interested developers contribute in IBM? In which domains could you use some help?

IBM believes that communities with open governance and an inclusive philosophy will attract the largest ecosystems and markets.  For a listing of some of the top open source projects that IBM believes represent significant opportunity areas, I would like to share with information how IBM supports high-impact open source projects here.

Participants from Around the World Following IBM Keynote on FOSS Collaboration

Which new features can we expect in IBM cloud and AI this year? Do you plan to release any new projects as FOSS?

Most of our strategic initiatives today are founded on open source projects or communities (Cloud Native Computing, Hyperledger, CD Foundation, etc.), and we work across a wide variety of internal stakeholders to ensure that that the contributions we make to the community also provide greater value to our clients. For a specific example of open source innovation from IBM, please check out the Egeria Project, which was founded in part by IBM.

Shanker V Selvadurai with Panelists and FOSSASIA Founder Ms. Hong Phuc Dang at the Singapore Summit 2019

As well, at the FOSSASIA Summit in Singapore, IBM shares the “Call for Code Global Challenge, which IBM is the Founding Partner.  

This multi-year global initiative rallies developers to create practical, effective, and high-quality applications based on cloud, data, and artificial intelligence that can have an immediate and lasting impact on humanitarian issues.  Call for Code brings startup, academic, and enterprise developers together and inspires them to solve the most pressing societal issues of our time. Building on the success of the 2018 competition, the 2019 Call for Code Global Challenge again asks developers to create solutions that significantly improve preparedness for natural disasters and accelerate relief when they hit. This year’s challenge introduces an emphasis on individual health and community wellbeing. This includes solutions that can reduce the risk of disease, improve access to data and the availability of resources, and address the mental health needs of those impacted before, during, and after disasters.

Hands-on Training with IBM Cloud and AI Experts at FOSSASIA Summit
Hands-on Training with IBM Cloud and AI Experts at FOSSASIA Summit
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Enforcing Constraints Throughout a Flask Back-End

Recently it was discovered that Open Event Server does not validate attendees’ tickets. Specifically, it was possible to create an arbitrary number of attendees who’d be attending an event on the same ticket! To fix this, a constraint had to be set up across different layers of Open Event Server, which is based on Flask and Postgres. This post will demonstrate how the constraint was added in the server, and these steps should apply in general to any Flask-based server with a relational back-end.

First of all, the immediate idea that comes after investigating such an issue, is to add a UNIQUE constraint to the database. For this specific case, the problem was in ticket_holders table of the Open Event database. There was originally no check imposed on the ticket_id and event_id columns.

As can be seen in the ticket_holders schema (using the \d+ ticket_holders command), there is no mention of uniqueness on either column. The initial guess was that the combination of ticket_id and event_id should be unique throughout the table to avoid multiple holders attending on the same ticket. However,imposing uniqueness on just the ticket_id column would’ve also worked. So, to be on the safer side, I moved ahead by adding uniqueness on both the columns.

To fix this, we need to make changes to the ticket_holder model. So, in the ticket_holder model file, we add a __table_args__ attribute to the TicketHolder class. This attribute represents the various constraints imposed on the ticket_holders table:

class TicketHolder(db.Model):
    __tablename__ = "ticket_holders"
    __table_args__ = (
db.UniqueConstraint('ticket_id', 'event_id', name='ticket_event'),
) # this is the constraint we add

    id = db.Column(db.Integer, primary_key=True)
    firstname = db.Column(db.String, nullable=False)
    lastname = db.Column(db.String, nullable=False)

The TicketHolder class has attributes named ticket_id and event_id, so to add a unique constraint over them, we pass their names to the UniqueConstraint constructor. Also, any suitable name can be given to the constraint, I chose ‘ticket_event’ to simply emphasize the relationship. Now that we’ve edited the database model file, we have to perform a database migration.

Before we command the migration, we have to remove the entries that potentially violate the constraint we just imposed. As a temporary fix, I connected to the database and deleted all non-unique rows via plain SQL. For a more consistent fix, I will implement this simple deletion code in the database migration file, if need be. So, once the non-unique rows are gone, we perform the database migration as follows:

$ python db migrate

And then,

$ python db upgrade

These commands may be different for different projects, but their purpose is the same – to update the database. The upgrade command generates a migration file which looks as follows:

from alembic import op
import sqlalchemy as sa
import sqlalchemy_utils

# revision identifiers, used by Alembic.
revision = '9d21de792967'
down_revision = '194a5a2a44ef'

def upgrade():
op.create_unique_constraint('ticket_event', 'ticket_holders', ['ticket_id', 'event_id'])

def downgrade():
op.drop_constraint('ticket_event', 'ticket_holders', type_='unique')

We can see that the upgrade() function has the command for adding our constraint. Once the database has been upgraded, we can revisit the schema of ticket_holders table (using the \d+ ticket_holders command again). Now we can see that our constraint is added very well in the table schema.

Now, if one tries to create multiple attendees that attend on the same ticket, s/he gets a 500 server error. Here are the related server logs:

2018-06-05 22:04:03.824 IST [46705] ERROR:  duplicate key value violates unique constraint "ticket_event"
2018-06-05 22:04:03.824 IST [46705] DETAIL:  Key (ticket_id, event_id)=(2, 6) already exists.
2018-06-05 22:04:03.824 IST [46705] STATEMENT:  UPDATE ticket_holders SET event_id=6 WHERE = 16 - - [05/Jun/2018 22:04:03] "POST /v1/attendees HTTP/1.1" 500 -
INFO:werkzeug: - - [05/Jun/2018 22:04:03] "POST /v1/attendees HTTP/1.1" 500 -

To get a more graceful error, we also need to make changes in the API schema. This will also allow to validate the data before it gets to the database. So, in the file, we need to add a check. This check should extract the ticket and event ids from the data posted and see whether there is already an attendee in the database attending that event on the same ticket. If such an attendee is discovered, the check should raise an error and report it back to the API caller. The suitable place for this check is the before_post() method of the AttendeeListPost class. In any Flask app serving a REST API, such a method (perhaps of a different name) should exist in the API file corresponding to a model. Our check looks like the following within the before_post() method:

from flask_rest_jsonapi import ResourceList
from app.api.helpers.exceptions import ConflictException
from app.models import db
from app.models.ticket_holder import TicketHolder

class AttendeeListPost(ResourceList):
List and create Attendees through direct URL

def before_post(self, args, kwargs, data):
Before post method to check for required relationship and proper permissions
:param args:
:param kwargs:
:param data:
require_relationship(['ticket', 'event'], data)

if db.session.query(
ticket_id=int(data['ticket']), event_id=int(data['event'])
).scalar() is not None:
raise ConflictException(
{'pointer': '/data/attributes/ticket_id'},
"Attendee with this ticket already exists for the same event"

Once this check is implemented, we’re all good to go. Now, if an attendee is created that maps to a ticket belonging to an already existing attendee, the following error is sent back to the API caller:

"errors": [
"status": 409,
"source": {
"pointer": "/data/attributes/ticket_id"
"title": "Conflict",
"detail": "Attendee with this ticket already exists for the same event"
"jsonapi": {
"version": "1.0"

This completes our work of enforcing this constraint throughout our Flask server. This leads to a more consistent database and potentially avoids confusion at actual events!


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Adding Port Specification for Static File URLs in Open Event Server

Until now, static files stored locally on Open Event server did not have port specification in their URLs. This opened the door for problems while consuming local APIs. This would have created inconsistencies, if two server processes were being served on the same machine but at different ports. In this blog post, I will explain my approach towards solving this problem, and describe code snippets to demonstrate the changes I made in the Open Event Server codebase.

The first part in this process involved finding the source of the bug. For this, my open-source integrated development environment, Microsoft Visual Studio Code turned out to be especially useful. It allowed me to jump from function calls to function definitions quickly:

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 12.29.01 PM

I started at and jumped all the way to, where I finally found out the source of this bug, in upload_local() function:

def upload_local(uploaded_file, key, **kwargs):
    Uploads file locally. Base dir - static/media/
    filename = secure_filename(uploaded_file.filename)
    file_relative_path = 'static/media/' + key + '/' + generate_hash(key) + '/' + filename
    file_path = app.config['BASE_DIR'] + '/' + file_relative_path
    dir_path = file_path.rsplit('/', 1)[0]
    # delete current
    except OSError:
    # create dirs
    if not os.path.isdir(dir_path):
        file_relative_path = '/' + file_relative_path
    if get_settings()['static_domain']:
        return get_settings()['static_domain'] + \
    file_relative_path.replace('/static', '')
    url = urlparse(request.url)
    return url.scheme + '://' + url.hostname + file_relative_path

Look closely at the return statement:

return url.scheme + '://' + url.hostname + file_relative_path

Bingo! This is the source of our bug. A straightforward solution is to simply concatenate the port number in between, but that will make this one-liner look clumsy – unreadable and un-pythonic. We therefore use Python string formatting:

return '{scheme}://{hostname}:{port}{file_relative_path}'.format(
scheme=url.scheme, hostname=url.hostname, port=url.port,

But this statement isn’t perfect. There’s an edge case that might give unexpected URL. If the port isn’t originally specified, Python’s string formatting heuristic will substitute url.port with None. This will result in a URL like http://localhost:None/some/file_path.jpg, which is obviously something we don’t desire. We therefore append a call to Python’s string replace() method: replace(‘:None’, ”)

The resulting return statement now looks like the following:

return '{scheme}://{hostname}:{port}{file_relative_path}'.format(
scheme=url.scheme, hostname=url.hostname, port=url.port,
file_relative_path=file_relative_path).replace(':None', '')

This should fix the problem. But that’s not enough. We need to ensure that our project adapts well with the change we made. We check this by running the project tests locally:

$ nosetests tests/unittests

Unfortunately, the tests fail with the following traceback:

ERROR: test_create_save_image_sizes (tests.unittests.api.helpers.test_files.TestFilesHelperValidation)
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/open-event-server/tests/unittests/api/helpers/", line 138, in test_create_save_image_sizes
resized_width_large, _ = self.getsizes(resized_image_file_large)
File "/open-event-server/tests/unittests/api/helpers/", line 22, in getsizes
im =
File "/usr/local/lib/python3.6/site-packages/PIL/", line 2312, in open
fp =, "rb")
FileNotFoundError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '/open-event-server:5000/static/media/events/53b8f572-5408-40bf-af97-6e9b3922631d/large/UFNNeW5FRF/5980ede1-d79b-4907-bbd5-17511eee5903.jpg'

It’s evident from this traceback that the code in our test framework is not converting the image url to file path correctly. The port specification part is working fine, but it should not affect file names, they should be independent of port number. The files saved originally do not have port specified in their name, but the code in test framework is expecting port to be involved, hence the above error.

Using the traceback, I went to the code in the test framework where this problem occurred:

def test_create_save_image_sizes(self):
       with app.test_request_context():
           image_url_test = ''

           image_sizes_type = "event"
           width_large = 1300
           width_thumbnail = 500
           width_icon = 75
           image_sizes = create_save_image_sizes(image_url_test, image_sizes_type)

           resized_image_url = image_sizes['original_image_url']
           resized_image_url_large = image_sizes['large_image_url']
           resized_image_url_thumbnail = image_sizes['thumbnail_image_url']
           resized_image_url_icon = image_sizes['icon_image_url']

           resized_image_file = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_url.split('/localhost')[1]
           resized_image_file_large = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_url_large.split('/localhost')[1]
           resized_image_file_thumbnail = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_url_thumbnail.split('/localhost')[1]
           resized_image_file_icon = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_url_icon.split('/localhost')[1]

           resized_width_large, _ = self.getsizes(resized_image_file_large)
           resized_width_thumbnail, _ = self.getsizes(resized_image_file_thumbnail)
           resized_width_icon, _ = self.getsizes(resized_image_file_icon)

           self.assertEqual(resized_width_large, width_large)
           self.assertEqual(resized_width_thumbnail, width_thumbnail)
           self.assertEqual(resized_width_icon, width_icon)


Obviously, resized_image_url.split(‘/localhost’)[1] will involve port number. So we have to change this line. But this means we also have to change the subsequent lines involving thumbnail, icon and large images. Instead of stripping the port for each of these, we can simply do this collectively at an earlier stage. So we redefine the image_sizes dictionary after the create_save_image_sizes() function call:

image_sizes = {
url_name: urlparse(image_sizes[url_name]).path
for url_name in image_sizes
} # Now file names don't contain port (this gives relative urls).

Now we can simplify the lines each of which earlier required port-stripping code:

resized_image_file = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_url
resized_image_file_large = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_url_large
resized_image_file_thumbnail = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_url_thumbnail
resized_image_file_icon = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_url_icon

We now do a similar modification in test_create_save_resized_image() test method as it also involves URL to file path conversion. We break the line

resized_image_file = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_url.split('/localhost')[1]

to 2 lines:

resized_image_path = urlparse(resized_image_url).path
resized_image_file = app.config.get('BASE_DIR') + resized_image_path

Now let’s run the tests (which failed earlier) again:

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 12.29.15 PM.pngFinally, the tests pass without errors! Now, we can add some extra convenience functionality: we can also strip the port when it corresponds with the protocol we’re using. For example, if we’re using https protocol, then we need not specify the port if it is 443, as 443 corresponds to that protocol. We can add this functionality by creating a mapping of such correspondence and checking for it before generating the URL. To do this, we now go back to and add the following:

SCHEMES = {80: 'http', 443: 'https'}

And add

# No need to specify scheme-corresponding port
port = url.port
if port and url.scheme == SCHEMES.get(url.port, None):
    port = None

just before

return '{scheme}://{hostname}:{port}{file_relative_path}'.format(
scheme=url.scheme, hostname=url.hostname, port=port,
file_relative_path=file_relative_path).replace(':None', '')

And that finishes our work! The tests again pass successfully, plus on top of that we have this new functionality of mentioning ports only when they don’t correspond with the URL scheme!


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Publish an Open Source app on Fdroid

Fdroid is a famous software repository hosted with numerous free and open source Android apps. They have a main repository where they allow developers hosting free and ad free software after a thorough check up on the app. This blog will tell you how to get your project hosted in their repository using steps I followed to publish the PSLab Android app.

Before you get started, make sure you have the consent from your developer community to publish their app on Fdroid. Fdroid requires your app to use all kind of open resources to implement features. If there is any closed source libraries in your app and you still want to publish it on Fdroid, you may have to reimplement that feature by any other mean without using closed source resources. They will also not allow to have Google’s proprietary “play-services” in your app along with proprietary ad services. You can find the complete inclusion policy document from their official page.

When your app is fully ready, you can get started with the inclusion procedure. Unlike how we are publishing apps on Google Play, publishing an app on Fdroid is as simple as sending a pull request to their main repository. That’s exactly what we have to do. In simple terms all we have to do is:

  1. Fork the Fdroid main data repository
  2. Make changes to their files to include our app
  3. Do a pull request

First of all you need a GitLab account as the Fdroid repository is hosted in GitLab. Once you are ready with a GitLab account, fork and clone the f-droid-data repository. The next step is to install the fdroid-server. This can be simply done using apt:

$ sudo apt install fdroidserver

Once that is done, go into the directory where you cloned the repository and run the following command to check if the initiation is complete.

$ fdroid init

Then run the following command to read current meta data where it saves all the information related to existing apps on Fdroid;

$ fdroid readmeta

This will list out various details about the current meta files. Next step is to add our app details into this meta file. This can be done easily using following command or you can manually create folders and files. But the following is safer;

$ fdroid import --url --subdir app

Replace the link to repository from the –url tag in the above command. For instance the following will be the link for fossasia-phimpme android;

$ fdroid import --url --subdir app

This will create a file named as “org.fossasia.pslab” in the metadata directory. Open up this text file and we have to fill in our details.

  1. Categories
  2. License
  3. Web Site
  4. Summary
  5. Description

Description needs to be terminated with a newline and a dot to avoid build failures.

Once the file is filled up, run the following command to make sure that the metadata file is complete.

$ fdroid readmeta

Then run the following command to clean up the file

$ fdroid rewritemeta org.fossasia.pslab

We can automatically add version details using the following command:

$ fdroid checkupdates org.fossasia.pslab

Now run the lint test to see if the app is building correctly.

$ fdroid lint org.fossasia.pslab

If there are any errors thrown, fix them to get to the next step where we actually build the app:

$ fdroid build -v -l org.fossasia.pslab

Now you are ready to make the pull request which will then get reviewed by developers in Fdroid community to get it merged into their main branch. Make a commit and then push to your fork. From there it is pretty straightforward to make a pull request to the main repository. Once that is done, they will test the app for any insecurities. If all of them are passed, the app will be available in Fdroid!


  1. Quick Start:
  2. Making merge requests:
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Variable Font Size Badgeyay

Badgeyay is a simple badge generator that aims for promoting an open-source tool for generation of badges in PDF format. The project has options to choose from predefined set of images or upload a background image. User can choose from set of fonts and color of the same. But now Badgeyay also has option to choose custom font-size in generation of badges.

To implement font size feature,  first, the component that is determining the font of the label has to be identified. The label that determines the text on the badge is the <text> label and within it, the label that determines the properties of the text is <tspan>. So mainly we need to alter the properties in the tspan.

The property that determines the font size for the badge is font-size and its default value is set to 31.25 px. If the property in the labels changed, then we can see the corresponding changes in the PDF generated from the svg.

Now the challenges were:

  • To Determine the font value from the frontend.
  • Using the same for the font-config.
  • Changing the built svg accordingly.


  1. Firstly frontend component has to be changed to incorporate a slider to give input for the variable font size. So a range input is inserted with range from 15 px to 45 px and default as 30 px. The size_print label gets changed dynamically to show the value selected from the range slider.
<input type="radio" name="fontsize" id="font-size-picker"> Choose font size
<section id="font-size-input" style="display:none;">
<label for="inputFile" id="size_print"></label>
<input type="range" id="font-size" max=45 min=15 step=5 value=30  class="form-control" name="font_size">
  1. After adding the component, form script is changed to add toggle behaviour to the button. For adding the toggling behaviour in the component, checkbox is used and the value of the label is updated dynamically as the slider value is changed.
$("#size_print").text($("#font-size").val() + " px");

      $("#font-size-picker").click(function () {

          if ($(this).is(":checked")) {

              $("#font-size-input").css("display", "block");

          } else {

              $("#font-size-input").css("display", "none");



      $("#font-size").on('input', function () {

          $("#size_print").text($(this).val() + " px");

  1. After completing the work on the frontend, it is necessary to modify the backend too. The method for choosing custom font has to be refactored. It now checks whether the custom font is set or font size variable is set, and creates a config file for fonts which after use gets deleted.
font_config = {}
   # custom font is specified
   if custom_font != '':
       font_config['font'] = custom_font
   if font_size != '':
       font_config['font_size'] = font_size
   if custom_font != '' or font_size != '':
       json_str = json.dumps(font_config)
       f = open(os.path.join(app.config['UPLOAD_FOLDER'], 'fonts.json'), "w+")
  1. The generator class is modified as well to accommodate the changes, by adding a new class attribute called font_size. We find the keys in the dict object loaded from the file and assign the same to class attribute.
if 'font_size' in self.DATA.keys():
               self.font_size = self.DATA['font_size']
  1. Make the necessary change in the svg, so that font size change can be represented in the generated PDF. Replace the old font size with the new font size specified.
if self.font_size:
           content = content.replace("font-size:31.25px",
                                     "font-size:" + str(self.font_size) + "px")
  1. After all the changes, badge generated will have a different font size.

The Pull request for the above change is at this Link

Topics Involved

Working on this Issue (Link) involve following topics:

  • SVG Label manipulation
  • Sending data from Ember frontend to Backend.
  • Javascript for the toggle radio button.


  • Extracting map information from the SVG (Link)
  • Python Documentation for class (Link)
  • About Github Pages- (Link)
  • Ajax Serialize method to serialize the form contents – (Link)
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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


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.

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Open Event Server: Creating/Rebuilding Elasticsearch Index From Existing Data In a PostgreSQL DB Using Python

The Elasticsearch instance in the current Open Event Server deployment is currently just used to store the events and search through it due to limited resources.

The project uses a PostgreSQL database, this blog will focus on setting up a job to create the events index if it does not exist. If the indices exists, the job will delete all the previous the data and rebuild the events index.

Although the project uses Flask framework, the job will be in pure python so that it can run in background properly while the application continues its work. Celery is used for queueing up the aforementioned jobs. For building the job the first step would be to connect to our database:

from config import Config
import psycopg2
conn = psycopg2.connect(Config.SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_URI)
cur = conn.cursor()


The next step would be to fetch all the events from the database. We will only be indexing certain attributes of the event which will be useful in search. Rest of them are not stored in the index. The code given below will fetch us a collection of tuples containing the attributes mentioned in the code:

       "SELECT id, name, description, searchable_location_name, organizer_name, organizer_description FROM events WHERE state = 'published' and deleted_at is NULL ;")
   events = cur.fetchall()


We will be using the the bulk API, which is significantly fast as compared to adding an event one by one via the API. Elasticsearch-py, the official python client for elasticsearch provides the necessary functionality to work with the bulk API of elasticsearch. The helpers present in the client enable us to use generator expressions to insert the data via the bulk API. The generator expression for events will be as follows:

event_data = ({'_type': 'event',
                  '_index': 'events',
                  '_id': event_[0],
                  'name': event_[1],
                  'description': event_[2] or None,
                  'searchable_location_name': event_[3] or None,
                  'organizer_name': event_[4] or None,
                  'organizer_description': event_[5] or None}
                 for event_ in events)


We will now delete the events index if it exists. The the event index will be recreated. The generator expression obtained above will be passed to the bulk API helper and the event index will repopulated. The complete code for the function will now be as follows:


def cron_rebuild_events_elasticsearch():
   Re-inserts all eligible events into elasticsearch
   conn = psycopg2.connect(Config.SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_URI)
   cur = conn.cursor()
       "SELECT id, name, description, searchable_location_name, organizer_name, organizer_description FROM events WHERE state = 'published' and deleted_at is NULL ;")
   events = cur.fetchall()
   event_data = ({'_type': 'event',
                  '_index': 'events',
                  '_id': event_[0],
                  'name': event_[1],
                  'description': event_[2] or None,
                  'searchable_location_name': event_[3] or None,
                  'organizer_name': event_[4] or None,
                  'organizer_description': event_[5] or None}
                 for event_ in events)
   abc = helpers.bulk(es_store, event_data)


Currently we run this job on each week and also on each new deployment. Rebuilding the index is very important as some records may not be indexed when the continuous sync is taking place.

To know more about it please visit

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Open Event API Server: Implementing FAQ Types

In the Open Event Server, there was a long standing request of the users to enable the event organisers to create a FAQ section.

The API of the FAQ section was implemented subsequently. The FAQ API allowed the user to specify the following request schema

 "data": {
   "type": "faq",
   "relationships": {
     "event": {
       "data": {
         "type": "event",
         "id": "1"
   "attributes": {
     "question": "Sample Question",
     "answer": "Sample Answer"


But, what if the user wanted to group certain questions under a specific category. There was no solution in the FAQ API for that. So a new API, FAQ-Types was created.

Why make a separate API for it?

Another question that arose while designing the FAQ-Types API was whether it was necessary to add a separate API for it or not. Consider that a type attribute was simply added to the FAQ API itself. It would mean the client would have to specify the type of the FAQ record every time a new record is being created for the same. This would mean trusting that the user will always enter the same spelling for questions falling under the same type. The user cannot be trusted on this front. Thus the separate API made sure that the types remain controlled and multiple entries for the same type are not there.

Helps in handling large number of records:

Another concern was what if there were a large number of FAQ records under the same FAQ-Type. Entering the type for each of those questions would be cumbersome for the user. The FAQ-Type would also overcome this problem

Following is the request schema for the FAQ-Types API

 "data": {
   "attributes": {
     "name": "abc"
   "type": "faq-type",
   "relationships": {
     "event": {
       "data": {
         "id": "1",
         "type": "event"



  • FAQ to FAQ-type is a many to one relation.
  • A single FAQ can only belong to one Type
  • The FAQ-type relationship will be optional, if the user wants different sections, he/she can add it ,if not, it’s the user’s choice.

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Discount Codes in Open Event Server

The Open Event System allows usage of discount codes with tickets and events. This blogpost describes what types of discount codes are present and what endpoints can be used to fetch and update details.

In Open Event API Server, each event can have two types of discount codes. One is ‘event’ discount code, while the other is ‘ticket’ discount code. As the name suggests, the event discount code is an event level discount code and the ticket discount code is ticket level.

Now each event can have only one ‘event’ discount code and is accessible only to the server admin. The Open Event server admin can create, view and update the ‘event’ discount code for an event. The event discount code followsDiscountCodeEvent Schema. This schema is inherited from the parent class DiscountCodeSchemaPublic. To save the unique discount code associated with an event, the event model’s discount_code_id field is used.

The ‘ticket’ discount is accessible by the event organizer and co-organizer. Each event can have any number of ‘ticket’ discount codes. This follows the DiscountCodeTicket schema, which is also inherited from the same base class ofDiscountCodeSchemaPublic. The use of the schema is decided based on the value of the field ‘used_for’ which can have the value either ‘events’ or ‘tickets’. Both the schemas have different relationships with events and marketer respectively.

We have the following endpoints for Discount Code events and tickets:

The first endpoint is based on the DiscountCodeDetail class. It returns the detail of one discount code which in this case is the event discount code associated with the event.

The second endpoint is based on the DiscountCodeList class which returns a list of discount codes associated with an event. Note that this list also includes the ‘event’ discount code, apart from all the ticket discount codes.

class DiscountCodeFactory(factory.alchemy.SQLAlchemyModelFactory):
   class Meta:
       model = DiscountCode
       sqlalchemy_session = db.session
event_id = None
user = factory.RelatedFactory(UserFactory)
user_id = 1

Since each discount code belongs to an event(either directly or through the ticket), the factory for this has event as related factory, but to check for 
/events/<int:event_id>/discount-code endpoint we first need the event and then pass the discount code id to be 1 for dredd to check this. Hence, event is not included as a related factory, but added as a different object every time a discount code object is to be used.

@hooks.before("Discount Codes > Get Discount Code Detail of an Event > Get Discount Code Detail of an Event")
def event_discount_code_get_detail(transaction):
   GET /events/1/discount-code
   :param transaction:
   with stash['app'].app_context():
       discount_code = DiscountCodeFactory()
       event = EventFactoryBasic(discount_code_id=1)

The other tests and extended documentation can be found 


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Open Event Server: Getting The Identity From The Expired JWT Token In Flask-JWT

The Open Event Server uses JWT based authentication, where JWT stands for JSON Web Token. JSON Web Tokens are an open industry standard RFC 7519 method for representing claims securely between two parties. [source:]

Flask-JWT is being used for the JWT-based authentication in the project. Flask-JWT makes it easy to use JWT based authentication in flask, while on its core it still used PyJWT.

To get the identity when a JWT token is present in the request’s Authentication header , the current_identity proxy of Flask-JWT can be used as follows:

def example():
   return '%s' % current_identity


Note that it will only be set in the context of function decorated by jwt_required(). The problem with the current_identity proxy when using jwt_required is that the token has to be active, the identity of an expired token cannot be fetched by this function.

So why not write a function on our own to do the same. A JWT token is divided into three segments. JSON Web Tokens consist of three parts separated by dots (.), which are:

  • Header
  • Payload
  • Signature

The first step would be to get the payload, that can be done as follows:

token_second_segment = _default_request_handler().split('.')[1]


The payload obtained above would still be in form of JSON, it can be converted into a dict as follows:

payload = json.loads(token_second_segment.decode('base64'))


The identity can now be found in the payload as payload[‘identity’]. We can get the actual user from the paylaod as follows:

def jwt_identity(payload):
   Jwt helper function
   :param payload:
   return User.query.get(payload['identity'])


Our final function will now be something like:

def get_identity():
   To be used only if identity for expired tokens is required, otherwise use current_identity from flask_jwt
   token_second_segment = _default_request_handler().split('.')[1]
   missing_padding = len(token_second_segment) % 4
   payload = json.loads(token_second_segment.decode('base64'))
   user = jwt_identity(payload)
   return user


But after using this function for sometime, you will notice that for certain tokens, the system will raise an error saying that the JWT token is missing padding. The JWT payload is base64 encoded, and it requires the payload string to be a multiple of four. If the string is not a multiple of four, the remaining spaces can pe padded with extra =(equal to) signs. And since Python 2.7’s .decode doesn’t do that by default, we can accomplish that as follows:

missing_padding = len(token_second_segment) % 4

# ensures the string is correctly padded to be a multiple of 4
if missing_padding != 0:
   token_second_segment += b'=' * (4 - missing_padding)


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