Our IntoxiCODED cloudy summer


Disclaimer: This article was originally published by Codeaholics Team (Xheni and I) on Rails Girls Summer of Code blog.


Time seems to fly by so fast when you are a student of Rails Girls Summer of Code and a contributor of a project you love. We can’t believe these are the last days of RGSoC!

Challenges

Some of the challenges that our team has faced during this period:

  • First of all, installing the Nextcloud server locally was not as easy for us as we first assumed.
  • Before attending RGSoC we barely had any experience with Git on an important open source project as Nextcloud with a lot of people contributing into it. During our journey, we made many mistakes and had to do some researches on different Git commands. Thanks to the friendly community over at Nextcloud, we learned many new Git commands, now it’s just a matter of remembering them 🙂
  • We fought a lot with JavaScript and in particular AngularJS. We wanted to work on something new for us and that’s why we chose the Contacts App. We were complete beginners on AngularJS and during the first weeks we were mainly focused on reading and watching tutorials.
  • Another challenging thing was working remotely together over different time-zones (6 hours difference) as I was attending “Flock to Fedora Conference” in Boston, USA.

 

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Too much AngularJS, not enough coffee. Photo: Jona & Xheni, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Things we have learned

Despite the challenges we had during our summer, we have learned a lot of new things. Here are some of the things we can recall:

  • Pair programming, a very good way to keep each other on task. Brainstorming helps a lot when you work as a team. Don’t forget that two brains are better than one.
  • AngularJS concepts: we learned about controllers, services, promises, filters and much more.
  • JavaScript is the world’s most misunderstood programming language but we understand it better now :).
  • We learned about vCard format specification.
  • New Git Commands that were really useful for our daily job.
  • Asking for help because the communication is the key to solve some of the issues! There are always people out there willing to help, especially on the Nextcloud IRC channels.
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Pair Programming at Open Labs Hackerspace. Photo: Jona & Xheni, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Nextcloud contributions

There is an Albanian idiom “-Fillimi i mbarë, gjysma e punës” (English equivalent: Well begun, is half done), therefore we created our first PR on our first week and we began contributing on Nextcloud by fixing some starter issues, opening new issues, testing and reviewing etc.

Nowadays we are mainly focused on developing a new feature: “favorite contacts”, allowing users to quickly favorite some of their contacts. We are confident to have this feature finished by the end of the summer.

What will be next? We certainly will continue contributing on other Nextcloud apps, even after the summer ends because we really love the vibe that this community has and the friendly environment.

Girl Power at the Nextcloud conference!

One of the best things about working on the open source projects are the conferences. Codeaholics joined the Nextcloud Conference on 22-29 August in Berlin, Germany. We were the early birds who arrived in the morning on the first day, waiting for other contributors to join the conference.

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Team Codeaholics at Nextcloud Conference. Photo: Christoph Wurst, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Finally, we had the chance to meet our coaches Morris and Joas in person, our mentor joined us as well. We had four amazing days full of hacking and working on specific tasks on Nextcloud. It’s very helpful when you have your coaches nearby so you can directly ask them and clarify in case of any doubts. In addition to meeting our coaches we also met many other contributors during our stay in Berlin. Fun fact: We knew most of them already by their GitHub usernames, that’s why the first question we asked them was their GitHub username. 😉

We attended some talks related to the collaboration between Red Hat and Nextcloud, Collabora Online, how the Technical University of Berlin uses Nextcloud, Scalability Recommendations, Security etc.

On the weekend, there were some lightning talks and workshops where we also shared our experience as RGSoC students with them (a lot of applauses, in the end, yaaay)! It was a wonderful conference and a great opportunity to network with the community behind Nextcloud, which makes you feel more motivated to keep contributing. And just for the record, coding while drinking Club Mate is one of the best feelings ever. (Try it :P)

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Nextcloud Conference. Photo: Raghu Nayyar, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

What will we miss most

Now that RGSoC is ending, we will miss a lot:

  • Our weekly meeting calls with our supervisor, mentor and coaches. It has been a pleasure working with all of them. By the way: Even though all of them were German and we have heard stories that Germans are very strict or that is very difficult to work with them we are very happy to admit that it is NOT true! Each Wednesday that we have our weekly call, we were very happy to talk with them and hear their feedback because it was really helpful for us, that’s why this is one of the things we will miss most! (Thank you guys :D)
  • Status updates, because they helped us keep track of what we achieved and to set goals for our team.
  • Being able to focus full-time on the open-source development and community building.

All in All…

It was a never-to-be-forgotten summer – one of those summers that leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going. Is it the end? Definitely NO, our journey does not end here. We are both open source enthusiasts and the gained experience we had this summer has inspired us, even more, to continue contributing to coding part of open source projects.

Thanks RGSoC for this amazing experience we had during this summer, we are happy to be one of the RGSoC alumni now and share our journey with other people!

Codeaholics, the first Hangover!


Disclaimer: This article was originally published by Codeaholics Team (Xheni and I) on Rails Girls Summer of Code blog.


How we started to get into the open source world!

Xheni and I met each other 5 years ago at the University of Tirana, Faculty of Economy because both of us wanted to study for Business Informatics. At the beginning we didn’t “like” each other a lot because Xheni was an Inter fan while I was a Milan fan, different teams that play in Italy and their fans “fight” a lot with each other. YES, you read it very well, so don’t get surprised if we know football rules/ football players/ teams pretty well because we are crazy about football. The good news is that we found something in common, yaaay 🙂 We attended together the first edition of OSCAL, Open Source Conference Albania, the first conference in Albania dedicated only to open source software. After meeting a lot of other FLOSS enthusiasts at the conference, we discovered Open Labs that is the community behind OSCAL. Open Labs organizes a lot of events dedicated to different open source projects like GNU/Linux, Mozilla, Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, LibreOffice etc. Both of us were intrigued by the world of Linux, that’s how we first started contributing to open source and became FLOSS advocates. Now that we have been part of Open Labs for four years, you can see us part of different open source communities because being part of a community has helped us a lot to gain new experiences, learn new things, make new friends and have fun!

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Team Codeaholics – Jona and Xheni at Open Labs hackerspace. Photo: Jona Azizaj, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

I was really interested to learn more on how to be a Linux system administrator that’s why I am part of the Fedora Project and became the first Fedora Ambassador in Albania promoting this operating system in my country. On the other hand Xheni was really interested on security stuff and that’s why she is studying Msc in Information Security and wants to become an ethical hacker. In the meanwhile, we have discovered the gender gap that exists in tech industry and especially in open source communities, something we don’t face at our local hackerspace because 70% of the members are girls. That’s why when we travel to different conferences we try to share the situation we have at Open Labs with other people to encourage them and feel more motivated. Even though not all the girls part of Open Labs know how to code, they are willing to learn, that’s why Xheni and I want to help girls start coding and get them on board. Our future plans include establishing a Django Girls and Rails Girls local community, starting with some beginner workshops at Open Labs.

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Team Codeaholics – Working time! Photo: Kristi Progri and Jona Azizaj, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

RGSoC, let’s apply!

Xheni’s and mine latest involvement into open source is Nextcloud, a suite of client-server software for creating and using file hosting service, where our contributions consisted mostly on promoting Nextcloud and translating it in our local language (shqip).

At OSCAL (third edition) we met Jan-Christoph Borchardt and had the chance to talk with him. After some months, we saw his tweet about a dedicated scholarship program that aims to foster diversity in Open Source since 2013, called “Rails Girls Summer of Code”. Both of us were really enthusiast and happy to hear about such a great opportunity that could help girls develop their skills and gain new exciting experiences. After posting this on the Open Labs forum to share it with all the girls, we even organized an “unofficial” meeting with all the interested girls to help each other with the process. It was the first time that 4 teams from Albania applied to be part of RGSoC!

Why Nextcloud?

After picking each other as teammates, Xheni and I had to decide about the project we wanted to spend all their summer working on. Wait, what about the name of the team? Hmmm let’s say we needed only a couple of hours to find the appropriate name for us. And it was not very difficult, because both of us are CODEAHOLICS. Yes, I mean it! We stay awake all night long and we like to sleep in the morning because for us is way easier to work when the place is very quiet, people are sleeping and the only thing that we can hear is our favorite music. Okay now let’s get back to the topic. After scouting all the projects listed, the first one that was deemed a perfect fit for us was Nextcloud. Why? Because we were already using it and we were familiar (not a lot) with the community. Both of us believe that when you use something and you like it, it’s very easy for you to start promoting and working on it, in this way you will always do something that you love and are not forced to. We decided to work on the contacts app and documentation part during the summer. After finishing the application all the albanian teams were “stressed” waiting about the final result. Who could imagine that we would be one of the lucky teams, being the first albanian team part of RGSoC! Imagine our happy faces when we saw the approval email, yaaay 😀

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Codeaholics at Open Labs hackerspace during. Photo: Anxhelo Lushka, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Meet our amazing team!

The Nextcloud mentor is Jan-Christoph Borchardt, our coaches are: Joas Schilling, Morris Jobke, Aldo Ziflaj and Edi Hoxhalli, and our supervisor is Benedikt Deicke. We will be working and keeping in touch with them for any issue we might face, help we might need, etc. They organized our workflow by creating a project at the Contacs app repo on Nextcloud organization on GitHub. To communicate with each other, we use IRC, you can find us on #nextcloud-contacts and #nextcloud-dev. Spreed app is our favorite choice when it comes to do the weekly video call with our supervisor. Xheni and I are really happy to be part of the Nextcloud community and to have this amazing team ready to help us when needed. End of August we will be in Berlin to attend the Nextcloud conference and meet in person all the community members. We will have the opportunity to share with the participants our experience as RGSoC students working on Nextcloud, so if you will be in Berlin make sure to be part of the conference!

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Codeaholics and their amazing team! Photo collage: Anxhelo Lushka, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Codeaholics just kicked off their first RGSoC event in Tirana!

On 1st of July we organized our first event at Open Labs Hackerspace at 6pm. A lot of participants attended and they were really interested on this scholarship and eager to learn more on how to apply for the next round of RGSoC. We also had a short video call just to say Hello to our amazing team, kudos to Laura and Jan for joining the video call. After the introduction to the program and the video call, we had a small party with the participants, that made the atmosphere more friendly and enjoyable.

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Codeaholics during kick off event at Open Labs. Photo: Anxhelo Lushka, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

By the way, do you know the great news from our municipality of Tirana? The Municipality of Tirana, the biggest municipality in the country serving over 800,000 citizens, goes free open source by using Nextcloud! An important contributor in raising the public awareness on the importance of free open source culture in general and the public administration embracing it in particular, has been the local community of the Open Labs Hackerspace where Xheni and I are involved.

What we have done so far?

Nextcloud is a safe home for all your data – community-driven, free & open source. It is a very big project, with more then 30 teams working on contacts app, calendar, android, server, spreed etc. The project has a very detailed documentation which helps a lot, also a very active and friendly community. Being part of RGSoC and working on this specific project doesn’t mean to write only code but at the same time combining it with tutorials, learning new stuff not only related to AngularJS but even other concepts related to our work, put in practice what we both already know and shape our skills. Therefore, working on this project has helped us a lot related to the AngularJS part, our coaches have been really helpful (and patient :P) with us when we were working on different issues related to the Contacts app. Jan has done a great job, identifying some starter issues to work on, and working on the workflow we are following.

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Nextcloud organization on github.

And…

…Xheni and I want to thank everyone involved, our mentor Jan, our coaches Morris, Joas, Aldo and Edi, our supervisor Benedikt, and also the amazing RGSoC organizing team for offering one of the best ways spending the summer to all winning teams!! Keep up the good work.

Happy coding! 🙂

PS: Did we mention that we have a logo for our team? Check it out on our github organization for Codeaholics. And… don’t forget to follow us on twitter! 🙂

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Codeaholics logo, thanks to Anxhelo Lushka for designing it. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

 

Kicking off RGSoC scholarship :)

Codeaholics just kicked off their first RGSoC event in Tirana!

Super excited to start working this summer as part of “Rails Girls Summer of Code“, a dedicated scholarship program that aims to foster diversity in Open Source since 2013. This scholarship offers us a great opportunity to shape and develop more our programming skills, a way for students to spend their summer commiting on their github account (especially to a specific open source project).

Xheni and I, are currently finishing our studies on Information Security and Business Informatics at the University of Tirana. We have been part of Open Labs for four years now, the first hackerspace in Albania dedicated to promote FLOSS, contributing on different open source projects like Linux (Fedora), Wikipedia, Mozilla, OpenStreetMap, LibreOffice etc. Being part of different open source communities has helped us a lot to gain new experiences, learn new things, make new friends and have fun!

Our latest involvement is Nextcloud, a suite of client-server software for creating and using file hosting service, where we will contribute and work on the contact apps and documentation part during this summer. Our mentor for this project is Jan-Christoph Borchardt, our coaches are: Joas Schilling, Morris Jobke and Aldo Ziflaj, and our supervisor is Benedikt Deicke. We will be working and keep in touch with them for any issue that we might face, help that we might need, etc.

Video call during the kick off event at Open Labs Hackerspace, with Laura and Jan.

On 1st of July we organized our first event at Open Labs Hackerspace at 6pm. We had a lot of participants that were interested on this scholarship, eager to learn more on how to apply for the next round of RGSoC. We also had a short video call just to say Hello to our amazing team, kudos to Laura and Jan and thanks for joining us. After the introduction to the program and the video call we had a small party with the participants, that made the atmosphere more friendly and enjoyable.
Now Xheni and me are ready to officially start working as Rails Girls Summer of Code students, ready to develop our skills and gain new exciting experiences.

Thanks again to RGSoC team for this great opportunity, and best of luck to all the teams! Happy coding 🙂

PS: Don’t forget to follow us on twitter @codeaholics_al