Updates on FOSSASIA Activities – GSoC, Science Hack and Meshcon

FOSSASIA Participation in Google Summer of Code

An exciting summer is behind us, where we had lots of students coding on summer of code projects. Check out some of the outcome on our project repositories. For example the Open Event project, our twitter harvester and search engine loklak.net [repo] or the activities at our FashionTec knitapps project with lots of interesting blog articles.

FOSSASIA Science Hack

What else happened? FOSSASIA’s Hong Phuc is working on organizing Science Hack events across Asia in cooperation with Science Hack Day. She is now an official Ambassador. Congratulations! You can meet her in the US at the San Francisco Science Hack Day on October 24-25, 2015 at GitHub HQ.

FOSSASIA Participants Present at Meshcon @Maker Faire Berlin + Free Tickets

FOSSASIA participants are present at [email protected] Faire Berlin on Saturday, October 3rd. Meshcon brings together Mozilla’s Firefox Open Web makers, IoT experts, industry representatives, fashion designers, local producers, knitters, textile manipulators, software developers and DIY hardware makers. We will have a stand in the club area. So if you are there, please come over and talk to us.

And, if you are in Berlin and still need a ticket, we might be able to help you out. FOSSASIA is an official partner and we got free tickets. Please go to http://meshcon.net, choose your ticket and enter the code FLDUXH on the next page.

The event starts at 10am (until 6pm) on Sat. 3rd Oct. 2015 at Postbahnhof Club at Berlin Ostbahnhof. On top of topics around Fashion and technology, we are coding, doing usability tests and hack for refugees. The schedule of talks is available here: http://meshcon.net/schedule.pdf

130 projects will showcase their work at the Maker Faire. Workshops include FOSSASIA’s machine knitting project, 3D printing, and Arduino tinkering:

* http://www.meetup.com/FashionTec-Meetup-Berlin/

* http://www.meetup.com/OpenXLab/

* http://www.meetup.com/opentechschool-berlin/events/225532149/

Additional Info: http://meshcon.net | http://makerfaire.berlin

Location: Postbahnhof, Strasse der Pariser Kommune 8, 10243 Berlin

Google Code-In Experience with FOSSASIA

For the last few weeks I got the opportunity to be involved in the Google Code-In 2014 program as a mentor for FOSSASIA (Thanks Andun Sameera!). It was challenging than I thought specially while doing a full time job. But was a great experience and I learned things myself with the students.

Google Code-In FOSSASIA 2014/15

FOSSASIA’s co-admin Mario Behling initiated an interesting project at the start of the program to give students an opportunity to experience open source development culture. The project was to create a small website to hold FOSSASIA’s students’ and mentors’ details. It came out to be a great success with a cute little website being created and more importantly a nice little community of students created around it.

Usually there is a barrier you need to get past as a novice contributor, to get your first commit merged in to an open source project. The administrators would want you to follow annoying coding conventions, to “combine your 5 commits, solving a simple small bug into one big commit” or to “rebase your pull request on top of master”. Until you continue contributing for some time and realize the importance of those, and start to appreciate them, they are just some annoyance that you have to deal with, on the way to get your work integrated.

We for this project initially made this barrier very very less challenging. We would merge pull requests if they do the job. This so that young student contributors don’t feel discouraged and only until they get themselves started. But having being well mentored at Google Summer of Code 2013 I wanted some niceties in our git commits. So I made learning them into a task.

Google Code-In Mentor Aruna Herath at work with FOSSASIAGoogle Code-In Mentor Aruna Herath at work

The task was to learn how to make your local commits look nice before you push them to the repo. To make it more organized and can be evaluated, and hopefully fun, I built up a small set of commits with a interesting bit of a commit history; a story. I added the set of commits to a Github repo that includes wrongly commited commit message and two commits that could look better sqashed into a bigger commit. Students are asked to clone the repo and then using git interactive rebase, make the commit history look better. The story of the commits and a set of instructions are given. Then they have to blog about there experience. They came up with some great write ups! Some focused on the technical aspects and were of a tutorial point of view. Some were explaining the personal experience writers themselves got and were on a lighter, less technical, language. However all were great!

I think I got few students to learn something that will be valuable in their future careers and also one student to start blogging! When I saw a set of commits that could be better organized in a pull request for any of FOSSASIA’s repositories, from a student who completed this task, I asked them to make them better. Thanks to above task, they knew the terminology, and communication was easier. When I say squash these commits and reword the commit message to something like this, they knew what I was saying, and how to do that, and were happy to oblige.

We gradually made it harder and more challenging, bringing the barrier to the usual level, for students who hang around to complete more tasks. This hopefully resulted in not only the finish product, but also the path towards it, to be in great shape. Students managed to complete many more very valuable work for FOSSASIA. It was fun working with them and I wish them an exciting and a fruitful future!