FOSSASIA 2018: Conference Report

Posted: 2018-04-02T10:44:00+05:30

FOSSASIA 2018 was my 2nd FOSSASIA conference and this year it was at a new venue (Lifelong Learning Institute), and for a longer time. As always, there were a lot of speakers and a lot of really exciting sessions. Last year I was a little confused, so this year I planned earlier which all talks to attend and what all to do.

22nd March (1st Day)

The opening ceremony was kicked off by Harish Pillay and Damini Satya, both of whom did an incredible job on hosting the entire day. The opening ceremony was followed by the keynote talks and a panel discussion which lent a great insight into how open source, AI, blockchain and all other modern day technologies are working hand in hand with each other. Harish Pillay also shared his view how he thinks AI won't take over the human beings but rather human beings will evolve to become something which is a combination of human beings and AI and hopefully have a good future. I do agree with him to some extent.

Hong addressed the audience stating the primary focus of FOSSASIA in the next few years and how it involves helping more developers get involved in open source and making new cool things. Codeheat winners were awarded next for their wonderful contributions in different FOSSASIA projects. The mentors of the projects were also honored with medals, which was kind of something I wasn't expecting. Then, it was time for the track overviews to help people understand and know what the different tracks were all about. We told what the tracks were and why the audience should be interested. With that, it was time for the most important track - The Hallway Track. So people talked and networked in the exhibition area for the rest of the day.

23rd March (2nd Day)

I was the moderator of the Google Training Day and also the cloud track in one of the rooms. Which meant getting up early, and reaching there on time. Fortunately, I made it on time (I still don't know how). Being the moderator, I was there almost the entire day. Which meant a lot of Google Cloud learning for me. So the talks ranged from using BigQuery to handle queries in big data to using Cloud ML to do Machine Learning Stuff. The Google Training Day talks were followed by a talk on serverless computing and tutorial on kubernetes. After that, it was again time to hang out in the exhibition area and talk with people.

24th March (3rd Day)

Today was the day of my talk. I was pretty worried the night before whether I would be able to make it to my own talk since it was at 9.30 in the morning. I did make it to my talk. But what was more surprising was, there were actually more people than I expected at 9.30 in the morning which was great. Apart from few technical glitches in the middle of my talk, everything went pretty smoothly. I talked about how we at Open Event decoupled the architecture to have a separate backend and frontend now and how it's really helpful for development and maintenance. I also gave a brief overview of the various architectures involved and the code and file structures.

After finishing my talk, I attended the SELinux talk by Jason Zaman. SELinux is a very confusing and mystified topic for most people and there was no way I was missing this talk. He gave a hands-on about setting up SELinux policy and how to use audit logs. Next was the all-women panel about open source and tech. After this was the necessary group photo where the number of participants made it a little too difficult for the photographer.

The remaining of the day was pretty involving where I mentored in the UNESCO hackathon, helped with video recording and so on.

25th March (4th Day)

The final day of the event. I was really interested in attending the talk about Open Source Design by Victoria and hence reached the venue by 10 am in the morning. It was a great insight as to how Open Source Design is involving and bringing in more and more designers into open-source which is really great. The last session I was eagerly waiting for was the GPG/PGP key signing event. Had a lot of fun helping people create their first GPG/PGP keys and signing. Met and interacted with some really awesome people there.



At last, it was time for the conference closing ceremony. But it wasn't over yet. We all met over at hackerspace where I had some great discussions with people about the different projects I work on and was really great to have their views.

All in all, it was really great meeting old friends, making new friends and meeting people whom I actually knew only by their nick. More than the talks in itself what makes a great conference is the people in it and the chance to meet them once in a year. At least that's how I see them. And FOSSASIA 2018 met that purpose wonderfully.

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PyCon Pune : Contributions, DevSprints and So Much More (The Web Developer's POV)

Posted: 2017-04-05T20:33:00+05:30
Pycon Pune Homepage
PyCon Pune was held on 16th to 19th February but my association with PyCon Pune started long time back. The heart and soul of PyCon Pune 2017, Sayan Chowdhury was looking after the website development as well. After the first draft of the website was ready, he shared the website with me and asked whether I wanted to contribute. I was more than happy, was rather honored. First PyCon Pune, one of the web developers... Awesome experience.... After that slowly I started getting involved into deployments,  talk selection, scheduling and many more. I and Kushal even went on to website updating and other stuff in my vacation.By now, PyCon Pune was not one of "their" conference, it was more like "our" conference for me. So though it was just my second proper conference, I was super excited...

Unlike most others my main work related with the conferences was much before the conference. In fact most of the work was completed more than a month ago. Firstly, the entire website was made using staticjinja. It was my first experience with staticjinja but having worked with flask, it wasn't very difficult. As one after the other keynote speakers got confirmed, I was to add there pictures and details in the website. Then after few days, I got a call from Sayan saying we need to make a registration page. I was to implement a 3 column UI with all the details. As including bootstrap only for getting it's grid help would be too much, I wrote the grid system in CSS from scratch. Which might not be a big deal for most but since it was my first time writing a grid system from scratch, I felt great when it worked.

Static Jinja Codes for the Website


Then, apart from that was looking into the responsive UI of the website. Since no front-end framework was used, so responsiveness was also something I wrote a sketch. Yes, another happy moment for me. Then we started getting few contributors as well helping us with some of the components. So the next thing was to review and merge pull requests. Thanks to the already written grid structure, it was not much pain to make the other pages. And, obviously deploying the code to the server. It was a really great experience to be involved in the web development team of a PyCon.

Conferences for me was one of the ways of spending my GSoC stipend. This time we, a group of 4 friends decided we go together, book a proper airbnb apartment and have some awesome time along with the conference. So it was also an outing for us from the college days.

Conferences as I learned from PyCon India was not only for learning stuffs and listening to talks. It was more about meeting awesome people and getting to connect with them and to grow and help grow the community. So, PyCon Pune also I was eager to meet a lot of new people and to reunite with a lot of people I met before. Also, being a volunteer I had work to do.

So the first day started of by work in registration desk. I was late ( as usual ). But anyhow got busy with work, distributing ID cards, figuring out names, meeting people whom I have met only over IRC. Soon after, the keynote started which was followed by some pretty interesting talks. There were different booths where you could learn about some exciting and cool new tech stuff and communities. The venue was awesome... And so was the food (yes, I have to tell about food)... After the day ended with some awesome talks and meeting some awesome people, it was time for the speaker and volunteers meet. Got to talk with many speakers. And again I can't keep myself from saying, the food was delicious...

Second day was a special day because one my best friends, my ex-roommate, my project partner, Vivek Anand was going to speak for the first time in a conference about his project, Pagure with Fedora, along with Farhaan Buksh. I was super excited (and he was super nervous, I guess). And it was really good. Well, most of the things he said in talk he had already told me before but his talk didn't make me fall asleep (that's the best I can manage). After that the day was filled with sticker collection, tshirt collection, tshirt distribution, group photo and all the cool stuff associated with conferences. At the end it was all bidding goodbyes with promises to meet again on internet and in some different conference in some different place.

After that, we four friends - me, Vivek, Shubham(Bhendi) and Medozonuo decided to go for a movie. Well after all The Lego Batman has hit the theaters. I know this has nothing to do with PyCon Pune but after all It's Batman. So can't help but mention.

Medozonuo conducting Dev Sprint on Open Event with me


Next 2 days were devsprint. Few people were presenting their own projects. Others were contributing. I was presenting the Open Event Organizer Server project along with Medozonuo Suohu. The devsprint was at Redhat office in Pune. We got some 3-4 contributors who were really excited to know about and contribute to the project. We were ourselves solving some of the bugs that we were supposed to solve while debugging installation problem on Macs (yes, we need to improve the documentation). We managed to get 2-3 Pull Requests as well which was really good because we were getting new contributors which we really needed. There were many other projects including CPython itself which got a lot of attraction. I also sat there for sometime knowing about the codebase and scopes of contribution. Sadly, I couldn't contribute to it till now. Also, there were hardware devsprints which I was interested in but also couldn't participate.

Sadly, the second day of devsprint i was really really sick and couldn't make it to the devsprint. Had to spend the rest of the day in apartment. This was a little sad for me but after all the remaining conference was awesome. Meeting people I had met in PyCon India and SHD Belgaum again, connecting more with them, talking more than just tech stuff... Maybe Nokia and Conferences are synonymous - Connecting People. Waiting for PyCon Pune 2018... Hoping to start working in the Web Team again...


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In The Heat of Code : A Mentor's POV

Posted: 2017-03-28T21:23:00+05:30


In The Heat of Code or CodeHeat, as it is famously known right now started when Mario Behling started a discussion with me about how to encourage continuous contribution to projects by FOSSASIA even after GSoC. The scenario was most of the time students or participants stopped contributing after Google Summer of Code ended because there wasn't much incentive or profit of their's in continuing with the projects. So we decided to give people a reason to continue. In fact why just continue? Why not get completely new contributors??? And without distinguishing whether they were in university or school or working professionals. So we got others in FOSSASIA team also to drafting the idea into a proper event. And thus began CodeHeat. The official announcement was made in September 20th. The coding started on September 25th. I was to be a mentor in the Open Event Organizer Server project. And the registrations started coming.

We had a huge number of registrations but sadly there were very few contributions in the Open Event Organizer Server project. Most of the participants were more interested and enthusiastic in contributing to android app development and our project got a little less attention. Nonetheless, I and Niranjan continued our own contributions and reviewed occassional pull requests we received. It was almost end of November and though CodeHeat was going great I wasn't very happy as a mentor since our project didn't get much contributors.

Then in the beginning of December few of my friends from college asked me about codeheat and said they were interested in Python. I was delighted and introduced them to Open Event Organizer Server project. Soon there were participants from other colleges as well. We started getting more and more contributions. Then there were 2 participants -  Shubham Padia and Medozonuo who were not only contributing but were almost competing with each other. The result of their competition was we got huge number of awesome code contributions from both of them in all areas from frontend to backend to even database improvements.

From implementing the entire discount and access code system to providing more options and making it more customizable for CFS to solving tons of frontend bugs and export functionality, I and Niranjan almost started having a hard time reviewing their PRs since there were tons of them. I was delighted. The project was nearing release more and more and it was reaching a stage where we can actually make an attempt to use it in production. I and Niranjan often discussed how we hoped these 2 make to the top ten in CodeHeat. It was almost like reliving GSoC from a mentor's perspective.



Finally it was result time. Though it would be wrong to say I was nervous but I surely was excited to know whether any of the contributors of open event organizer server project made it to the top ten. To my utter happiness not only did they make to top ten but Shubham Padia and Medozonuo made it to the top 3. I was really happy for them since they truly deserved it. I guess Niranjan would agree with me in saying that we truly loved mentoring them. It wasn't like they knew each and everything but they picked up stuff pretty quickly and showed their contribution in all aspects of the code. Also, we were later able to get their help in reviewing other's code which was really helpful for me and Niranjan.

It was a really wonderful experience, mentoring in CodeHeat, reviewing PRs day and night, sharing knowledge with others. I simply loved the experience. The icing on the cake was 2 of the top 3 were contributors to open event organizer project. A lot many mentoring experiences are on the queue and I am really looking forward to them.

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PyCon India 2016 : A weekend to remember

Posted: 2016-10-05T01:29:00+05:30

PyCon India is one of the best experiences I have had in recent past. PyCon India this year was held in New Delhi from 23rd September to 25th September, 2016. Three days filled with learning, interaction, meeting like minded people; couldn't have asked for anything more. The entire was one of python and development and I loved it.


Day 1 - Devsprint

The first day was special. I was conducting a devsprint on my GSoC project, Open Event Organizer Server under FOSSASIA. To represent the project at such a huge platform was a real great honor for me. The devsprint was a real good experience. Pitched about the project to an audience which comprised of people from many different organisations who were much more knowledgeable in Python than I am. I got to meet a few developers, helped them setup the project and walked them through the various components of the project, told them about In the Heat of Code, a contest by FOSSASIA which involved my project. To see so many eager faces willing to contribute was such a great experience. Also, got to meet a lot of great python developers and discuss my project with them. All in all an experience to remember. 
Apart from the DevSprint, met some fellow GSoCers, organisation heads and pythonistas, had an awesome lunch and also had the experience of volunteering. The day ended with a volunteers assembly where plans of the next 2 days were discussed. The first day had pretty much established that the next 2 days are going to be awesome.

After the closure, had the opportunity of going out with Sayan Chowdhury who is associated with both FOSSASIA and Fedora Projects and other Fedora Project contributors. It was a great meetup between the people of 2 organisations and led to discussions about various things. Later we went together to grab some food together and enjoy ourselves. After that, it was time to call the day off.

Day 2 - Volunteering Experience

Woke up early in the morning all excited. This was a big day. First chance of volunteering in a PyCon, meeting some awesome people and pythonistas. Who wouldn't be excited, right? So, went to JNU Convention Center, quickly completed my breakfast and was there in Audi 2 ready for the awaiting experience to blow me away. Meanwhile, booths of RedHat, Digital Ocean, goibibo, JetBrains, ZeOmega and IAMAI. I roamed about in the booths meeting representatives of each organisations, knowing about what and how they work on various things - from containers to cloud services to IDE, it was simply a great learning experience. Plus, got goodies from the booths. So that was awesome as well.

After that it was time for the keynote by Baishampayan Ghose or better known as BG which was followed by some real awesome talks - some of them I understood, while others interested me to learn new things. Apart from the talks, attended the open space and lightning talks as well while also meeting people like Kushal Das whom I have intended to meet for quite some time.

At the end of the day, it was time for volunteer speaker party at Bar-b-Que Nation. The delicious food mixed with discussions about open source and development in various organisations, one of the best parties in my life.

Day 3 - Last Day

Everyone was a little sad because it was the last day but at the same time it was time to make most out of this day. So, my aim as well was to meet, connect and interact with as many people as I can and also attend the talks that interested me. I roamed about trying to gather as much information as I can. It was all so overwhelming. Then we had a staircase DGPLUG meet, where Kushal Das talked about how open source inspires us all and why one should at all do open source. He was surrounded by many students who were new to this entire world, and his talk was so inspiring I felt proud to be a part of open source community.


The day ended with a vote of thanks. Group photos were clicked, promises were made to meet again, last time discussions and sharing of contact details. Though it was the last day, it actually marked a beginning for me - a beginning to be part of such conferences, to meet awesome new people. So now really looking forward to any developer conference and being a part of it.

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Update Fields with Array Input

Posted: 2016-07-15T22:57:00+05:30
Screenshot from 2016-07-15 17:57:58.png
There are certain fields in form where instead of a single value, we need an array of values to be stored. This are fields under the same category but having multiple elements, e.g., Tracks, Session Types, Microlocations, Sponsors, Social Links and similar such fields. Now as we know the way of doing this using simple html is provide the <input> tag with property “name” as “<field_name>[]”. So suppose we want to save the names of the mutliple tracks, we will have something like this
Screenshot from 2016-07-15 18:02:09.png
But the problem begins when you want to update name of a particular element (in this case Track). How to do it? Should we delete and create entries again? That doesn’t sound too good, does it? So what should we do? Let’s see….


Delete. Save.

So as said above, one of the easiest way of updating is when you get the updated input, you delete all the previous entries and save the new data again to the DB. Well that works perfectly fine with some fields such as Sponsors because no other table have dependency on Sponsors table. But what if another table has a foreign key constraint on the table you are updating. Screenshot from 2016-07-15 22:45:48.png
For example, Sessions depend on the Tracks table because a session belongs to a particular table. So what happens when we delete a track and then save it again to DB to update. Well, the old track with the actual track_id is lost, which means the session is no more linked to any track or may in fact even be deleted all together depending on your constraint. All in all its a complete disaster!!
Thus, as anyone can say, this is not a good practice. So what should we do?

Use ID to Update

Well, this might seem obvious that we need an ID to edit or update the information, but how do we use tor submit the ID so that it can be used to update data in backend.
On way of doing it is hidden input field. You can use an input field which won’t be shown to the user, but contains the ID(e.g. Track ID) which is submitted on the form submit. At the backend you can get the object(Track) using this ID(Track ID), update the values such as name, color, etc., and then save back to the DB. This is pretty effective.
Screenshot from 2016-07-15 22:34:58.png
Another way of doing is before the form is submitted, you can send the array of IDs as a data appending to the already existing form data using Javascript. This is also a really effective way of doing.
However there is a small security issue in this one. One might modify the value of hidden input field using javascript hacks or inspect elements which would then actually modify a separate Track which they might not have permission to edit. So, how do we take care of this?Screenshot from 2016-07-15 22:46:47
For this we not only filter the data from Table based on the Track ID(or any other ID) but also with the event ID. How this makes editing secure and correctly based on permissions is, users can only edit events in which they have write access. So if they send a POST or PUT request with a particular event ID, they must have permission to edit informations of that event. And since we also filter using event ID so the Tracks ( or any such fields like Session Type) that he can edit will belong to this event which he has permission to write. So this way we can handle the security issue in the backend.
One last thing to take care in backend is suppose we remove a Track while updating which was previously there. So we need to delete this track from the DB. So we make a check whether there was so Track ID presently which is no more present in the form data requested and delete all such entries from the DB.

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