Google Summer of Code 2013 (Final blog post)

All’s well that ends well.

 Here goes the final blog post of mine about the fascinating Google Summer of Code 2013 experience.

GSoC 2013 logo

It has been an enchanting experience, right from the first time of contact with my mentor till the last mail he sent me congratulating me on passing final evaluation. I still haven’t come in terms with the fact that it has finally concluded.

Initial phase of the GSoC period was spent in trying to understand the working of the current framework, setting up sugar-build, finding how the JavaScript and Python code communicate with each other, etc.

In the process I also made my first web activity

My first web actvivity

My first web activity

In fact, I probably learnt more programming while working on this project than what I did during 6th semester. My only regret is that there is no Google Winter of Code.

My work so far:

I’ve more or less elaborated in detail on my works so far in my previous blogs, so just to summarize everything, here it goes: Initially to get a hang of the CSS stuffs in Sugar-web I worked on the radio and checkbox buttons. Then I started developing the activity palette using the palette bits which Manuel had already built. Got the activity palette to sync with the datastore as well. Later on I started with developing the Markdown the markdown activity and also got the Object chooser api into sugar-web.

While working on this learnt a lots of new stuffs, RequireJs, LESS, Jasmine, Webkit2, just to name a few. It is also heartening to see the Sugar- web already being used by developers to make web activities and once we can get in all the Sugar bits into Sugar-web, I don’t think it’d be long before we have web activities becoming as popular as python activities, if not more.

The fun part and future plans:

Interacting and working with developers around the world, staying up late night coding, is what all programmers would love to do. Now coming to two very conspicuous developers in Sugar labs team, Daniel and Manuel. They were virtually the co-mentors for my project. I must thank them loads for putting up with my carelessness at certain times and my constant bugging them for help(I never spared Daniel even he was on a holiday, yet he patiently answered each of my queries and helped me out. :P). I only hope, one day I reach somewhere close to their level of expertise.

Hats off to Lionel!

This was the first Google Summer of Code experience for both of us, and I must confess, he has done an excellent job. Amidst all his energy sapping office work, he still found time to conduct weekly meeting, (which were done in a very organized and professional manner) responded within a short span of time whenever I pinged him and gave invaluable tips and helped me overcome many hurdles Despite being away for nearly 3 weeks on a holiday he manged to keep in touch with me and held weekly meeting, which says a lot about his dedication for his work. I’d be more than happy to be mentored by him in case I apply for GsoC next year(if he is okay with it 😛 ).

It is sad that all this magical experience lasted for only 3 months and I still haven’t had enough of it and that’s the primary reason why I took up a mini project in my college for the current semester, through which I can still keep contributing to Sugar Labs.

Final GSoC meeting with Lionel

Final GSoC meeting with Lionel

Lionel has some plans in store for me for the next couple of months, which I guess is something revolving around the Presence api in Sugar.

Challenges:

I’ve painted a rosy picture of GSoC so far, but don’t be deceived by it. Not everything went according to plan. I started with getting the latest sugar-build on my laptop. All my initial work experimentation with Sugar I did on a VM on Windows. I knew as the internship period  progressed it would get more demanding so I had to immediately get a Linux distro. I tried Fedora, it didn’t like me, and it was the same the other way around as well. So we never got along together.

Then after a little experimentation with Ubuntu 12.04(which wasn’t supported), I finally settled for Ubuntu 13.04. Occasionally it kept crashing for some inexplicable reasons and I had a hard time rebuilding them every time. Must appreciate Daniel for improving and maintaining the sugar-build and always helping out folks like me who crashed their build very often.

Crashed my build several times!

Crashed my build several times!

Getting in the Object Chooser working in sugar-web and the setting up the preview field(which I unfortunately couldn’t complete before the deadline) were two very daunting tasks. Yes, I’ve worked with Python but had a hard time figuring out the working of the asynchronous functions in Webkit. Took me more than 3 weeks to land the Object Chooser bits in sugar-web. Regarding the preview field, I tried using the html2canvas library , but it gave me cross browser issues while running on some activities. Finally settled for the Webkit way.

But on positive note I’ll be back working on them again in a couple of weeks time(as part of a mini-project in college), starting with where I left off last week.

On a concluding note, I sincerely thank Walter , Gonzalo , Martin and all the other Sugar Labs mentors for they have helped me and guided me in one way or the other. Also wish my fellow GSoCers all the best for their future endeavors. It’s been a pleasure working alongside you guys.

Adios Amigos!!

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