As a follow up to the GSOC, I've been mentoring several talented high school students from around the world who have been adding many cool new features and functionality to the isitfedoraruby webapp as part of the GCI contest. They have been doing a phenominal job on the site and an update sharing their work is long over due!
- Nico (from Argentina) has deployed the site to openshift, wrote scripts to syncronize the db on a daily basis, automated the production push process (whenever we merge our commits into the 'stable' branch on github, the site automatically gets updated), is working on i18n internationalization support, and much more
- Kendhia (from Algeria) has been working on features involving 'gamification', eg importing the contributors that maintain fedora packages, and displaying that data in visually appealing manners (including badges!)
- Mark (from Honolulu, Hawaii) has been working on adding more visualizations to the site, most notably graphically representing the packages a contributor maintains using d3.js here. Mark also designed a logo for the fedora-ruby sig, which can be seen above.
- Animesh (from New Delhi, India) implemented a timeline of contributions, so we can see a summary of all updates, both on the rubygems side and those in Fedora. He also wrote up and made a screencast of a great guide on how to get a simple hello world rails app up and running on the Fedora/Ruby stack.
We aim to keep driving the site forward, now that we've automated the push and syncronization process, getting new features into production should be very trivial. I'd like to thank the talented students for all their hard work and really look forward to continuing to work with them in the future!
Friday I flew out to Mountain View, CA to attend the Google Summer of Code Mentors Summit hosted at the Googleplex, Google's worldwide headquarters. Every year, two mentors from every organization are sponsored by google to attend the summit and I was offered the extra slot by Buddhike, the Fedora summer of code admin.
After the inevitable hubub w/ delayed flights and such (surprisingly my stow-away bag actually made it!), I arrived at the hotel on Friday night intime for the pre-summit dinner. On Saturday shuttles were available to transport us from the hotel to the Googleplex which I have to say in quite impressive. From architecture of the buildings, to the modern artwork scattered around the complex, to the meals/beverages/snacks, and even random bicyles available for any employee to just pickup and use, the complex lives up to the legend! (hover over images for descriptions, click for full sizes)
The summit was very much developer centric which I very much enjoyed, as most of the other conferences I attended included a mix of sys-admin and developer tracks. Obviously the driving event was a summer of _code_, so many of the attendees were software engineers themselves, mentoring students doing the development. Some projects were bigger than others, some well established, some not, but it was a great mix of contributors from across the industry working on many cool things.
Among the best of the presentations I attended included roundtable discussions on the latest languages and language features being used in the industry, different collaboration tools that the projects are using and their thoughts on them, and one on developing tools to quantify and measure community metrics and individual contributions. During the lightning talks (one minute a piece), I showed off Zuhao's isitfedoraruby project, and extensively promoted his work, as well as Sammy's and Nitesh's contributions to Aeolus throughout the entire conference.
I also held an impromptu session on the JSON-RPC protocol during the afternoon which was a last minute thing, but was able to leverage my presentation and demo of rjr in Brno from a few months back. This led to an good discussion with some interesting ideas emerging from it and even a couple adopters!
Saturday night was the Summit Dinner Party at the hotel, italian food, good mingling, and even a dip in the pool and hottub! This morning I checked out of the hotel and attended more sessions before wrapping up the trip (I am currently blogging this from SFO prior to catching my red-eye home).
I have to say this might just be the best conference I've been to so far. The talks and presenters were phenomenal. Even the attendees were constituted of some of the brightest of the industry, so many conversations lead to insightful perspectives and different conclusions than I hadn't come upon so far. I hope to be able to participate in the GSoC and maybe attend the summit again next year. Until next time, happy coding!
Last January I attended and gave a few presentations at the Fedora Users and Developers Conference in Blacksburg, Virgina. The conference was great, we accomplished alot, and among everything else the Fedora rubys-sig met again to discuss packaging, distro, and other issues. During our discussions and all the work up to that point it became aparent that one of the main areas which the community was in need was on the promotional front, we had already done a slew of work to form a stable Ruby and Gem stack in Fedora with several applications relying on it (bringing some sanity to the mad world of ruby dependencies) but our efforts were going unheard of for a large part, lost in the torrent of other upstream ruby community discussions.
To rectify this, I proposed developing a site similar to isitruby19, the now defunct isitmacruby, and the ruby toolbox. This would provide a simple one-stop shop for ruby developers and users alike, where the current stack in Fedora could be easily viewed and discussed, and cross-referenced with the gem metadata stored at rubygems.org. Unfortunately like so many other ideas, this one was put on the backburner in lieu of more pressing work, but would come up periodically as we discussed various ways to grow the Ruby community.
As luck would have it, Fedora was again selected as one of the sponsored organizations for the google summer of code which I saw as an opportunity to drive this project forward. I wrote up the call for proposals, registered as a mentor, and submitted the document. The project received a few applicants, and I felt that Zuhao was the best fit for it so together we flushed out a plan of attack.
The rest was fairly straightforward. Zuhao did the vast majority of the coding over the summer, I submitted a few patches every once in a while to "rubify" things or to implement a small feature. We formally met via IRC on Fridays, and discussed and designed things via email throughout the week. Around the middle of the summer, we deployed the site on a vm on one of my servers, and as the project continued to evolve, we registered the isitfedoraruby.com domain and pointed it there. The vm just contained a clone of the project's git repo so that the latest updates could be deployed very rapidly and we wouldn't have to worry about packaging for the time being. In the near future we will be bundling everything up into formal releases and pushing the packages into the Fedora and Debian release cycles.
All in all, I'm very pleased with Zuhao's progress and the application has been gaining traction amongst the Fedora / Ruby community. We're looking at and are continuing to expand the metadata that is stored in the application and displaying it in unique ways which can't be viewed elsewhere. Make sure to frequent the site as it continues to evolve!