ReMo Camp 2013 – Madrid


Reps camp 2013.png

Earlier this year from August 30th to September 1st, 2013, I was invited to Madrid, Spain, to take part in Mozilla Reps Camp as a Mozilla Reps mentor to discuss the roadmap ahead for the Mozilla Reps Program.

ReMo Camp is an annual event / meeting where the leadership of the Mozilla Reps program, comprising of Council members and Reps mentors, meet for 3 days. The meeting comprised of presentations, breakout sessions and discussions to draft the 2013/2014 Mozilla Reps program roadmap. This was the second time the entire program leadership met and worked together in person, the first being in Berlin in 2012.

Even though there were discussions on some pretty serious topics, we made sure that we had our fair share of fun as well, starting from wacky yellow construction jackets to crazy late night wandering in the streets of Madrid.

Amidst all the serious discussions and fun times, one thing that stood out quite prominently was the high spirits that was evident among all the participants throughout the event. I’m sure that future of the Mozilla Reps program is quite bright and secure in the presence of such wonderful people and it is going to grow by leaps and bounds in the upcoming days. 🙂

Hello WordPress – says my Keon!!


This blog post celebrates the joy that I feel from the depths of my heart to see that my baby has finally hatched from its shell and come to life for the first time on my Firefox OS Keon developer device.

This is the first post that is being made from an actual Firefox OS device using the WordPress for Firefox OS web application to commemorate the completion of my Google Summer of Code 2013 project!

I’m grateful to have received the opportunity to develop WordPress for Firefox OS (Alpha) – v0.01 as my project for this year’s Google Summer of Code! 🙂

Installing Sublime Text 2 on Fedora 18 / 19 / 20


Here’s another three step guide to installing Sublime Text 2 on Fedora 19 – Schrodinger’s Cat:-

  1. Download the installation script from the following gist.
    https://gist.github.com/sayak-sarkar/5810101
  2. Extract it to your home directory [or anywhere you like].
    $tar -xvf gist5810101-3b0e9bb3ef5128760df9e3e06877fa4f7e5689ec.tar.gz
  3. Open your terminal (preferably as super user), navigate to your home directory and execute the shell script.
     #./sublime-text-2.sh

Voila!! You now have Sublime Text 2 installed on your machine. You may run it from the terminal or via the alt+f2 shortcut by simply typing in “sublime-text”.

Credits to Henrique Moody for the original script gist!!
I’ve simply added a symbolic link at /usr/bin to enable terminal execution. 😉

Enjoy!! 🙂

Installing VLC player on Fedora 18 / 19 / 20


Here’s a simple three step guide to installing VLC media player on Fedora 19 [Schrodinger’s Cat]:-

  1. Login as Super User:
    • $su
  2. Setup rpmfusion:
  3. Install vlc using the default yum package manager:
    • #yum install vlc mozilla-vlc

Voila! You now have VLC media player installed on you computer! 🙂

Installing Microsoft TrueType Fonts in Fedora18 / 19 / 20


This is something that I just learned how to do, courtesy of a documentation work that I need to for my college’s fourth semester evaluations, where the requirements state that I need to use Arial / Verdana fonts for my Project Report. The interesting part is that I’m a hardcore Fedora user who uses LibreOffice for all my documentation purposes and as obvious as it may sound, these fonts don’t come pre-installed in Fedora 18. Du-uh? Right? So, I had to distinctly install these fonts on my laptop. How did I do it? Here’s the breakdown.

First here’s a bit of a trivia for those who already don’t know this! (Read: Yack):

Microsoft TrueType fonts (TTFs) are quite commonly found throughout the web, usually specified in stylesheets. However, for Linux users, the most common of these TTFs don’t come pre-installed in most of the common distributions by default. Instead, they are replaced by generic equivalents, usually fallback fonts most commonly defined in stylesheets (again!). This is also true even case of offline documents such as spreadsheets, presentations, or plain .doc files.

Installing TrueType font packages allow you to see content created using these fonts just as the content creator originally intended.

The Microsoft TrueType fonts package includes the following font-families:

  • Andale Mono
  • Arial Black/Arial (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Comic Sans MS (Bold)
  • Courier New (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Georgia (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Impact
  • Times New Roman (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Trebuchet (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Verdana (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Webdings

And here’s the part on how to install these fonts! (Read: Hack):

You can install the MS core fonts by installing the msttcorefonts package. Here’s how to do it. The gist describes what to do, and the commands explain how to do using the Terminal. You may need superuser privileges or sudo configured. :-

  1. Make sure you have the following rpm-packages installed. Any version should do.
    • rpm-build,
    • wget,
    • A package that provides the ttmkfdir utility. For Fedora Core, ttmkfdir should suffice.
  2. Download the latest msttcorefonts spec file from here.
  3. Install the cabextract utility.
    • sudo yum install rpm-build cabextract ttmkfdir
  4. Build the msttcorefonts-2.5-1.noarch.rpm package.
    • $ sudo rpmbuild -bb msttcorefonts-2.5-1.spec
  5. Install the fonts:
    • $ sudo yum install /root/rpmbuild/RPMS/noarch/msttcorefonts-2.5-1.noarch.rpm

Porting WordPress for WebOS to Firefox OS


Introduction to WordPress for WebOS

WordPress for WebOS was a web app which used the WebOS platform’s innovative “Cards” feature, which allowed users to quickly switch between managing, editing, and browsing content. WordPress for WebOS was built around Sliding Panels that enables users to easily switch between creating, editing and managing content.

The app allowed working with both WordPress.com and self-hosted blogs, notified users of new pending comments and had WordPress Stats built in using Jetpack for self-hosted blogs apart from using Sliding Panels to quickly move between new and existing content. It was also the first Open Source WordPress app to have a full visual editor, which made it easier than ever to format text, add links or embed media into a user’s posts and pages.

Recycling the Code

Even though the project is currently dormant, however, it’s repository still has the potential to serve as a precursor to future Web apps for WordPress, by providing a neat base model for future application developers.

The WebOS app was written using the Enyo.js JavaScript framework, which gives the application the flexibility of cross platform development using the same framework, as well as being extensible for future iterations due to Enyo’s modular design. This provides developers with the opportunity of reusing the existing code of the WebOS application for developing Web apps for newer platforms.

The rising popularity of web based applications along with significant advancements in the Enyo Framework also makes it easier to port the existing code for the web application to newer platforms such as Firefox OS.

Desired Outcomes from the Project during GSoC

  1. Upgrade the existing Enyo 1.0 based code to the Enyo 2.2 framework.
  2. Rewrite platform specific code such as app manifest and device APIs.
  3. Basic UI redesign to a responsive layout so as to support smaller device resolutions.

Aspects of Porting

There are two major aspects which need to be taken into consideration while rebuilding/porting the existing app on a Firefox OS:-

  1. The WebOS app was written using the Enyo.js 1.0 framework. This needs to be first updated to Enyo 2.2 framework for porting the app to Firefox OS.
  2. Given the fact that the WebOS app was last updated almost a year ago, the app itself needs some rework to get it up-to-date and at par with the latest WordPress mobile apps on other platforms like Android the latest facelift.

Development Methodology

A structured three step approach is proposed for the actual coding cycle as follows:-

  1. Identify the key differences between the architecture of an app developed on WebOS and that of one developed for Firefox OS.
  2. Based upon these observations isolate platform specific code and app specific code.
  3. From here on the actual implementation process begins and is categorized into two categories:-
    • Rewrite platform specific code such as app manifests and Web API interactions.
    • Modify and upgrade the base Enyo 1.0 code to Enyo 2.2, to include newer functionalities to bring the existing code base at par with the WordPress apps for other platforms such as Android as well as to support advanced features on Firefox OS for the Enyo 2.2 framework. This would include some basic UI redesign to cope with smaller screen resolutions on mobile handsets.

Bonus Objectives

Once the basic code upgradation is complete, the focus can be shifted towards added features based on time availability post completion of primary development objectives. Two major desirable additions would be as follows:-

  • UI redesign: Since the WordPress for WebOS app was primarily designed for use in tablets with comparatively higher screen resolutions, the application UI layout needs to be upgraded to a more responsive interface layout to support a variety of screen resolutions most of which are comparatively lower than that of tablets to extend support to smaller devices. A possible layout for lower resolutions can include an arrow button like the Android app to bring out the admin sidebar.
    [Note: While the project’s scope for GSoC would include some basic UI adjustments, further improvements to the UI would be a long term goal traversing the completion of the GSoC period.]
  • l10n: Localization is a bonus target which can be looked upon if time permits after the primary application development process. Currently the WebOS app supports 11 locales by itself by using JSON based l10n resources identified by the Enyo framework. This section would require a considerable looking into to improve the quality and performance of localized content for the Firefox OS app. The primary objective here would be to extend the current localization resources, however an alternate implementation can be done by using Gaia’s webl10n library if it shows a substantial performance (response/rendering time for localized Glyphs) and quality improvements over Enyo’s base l10n resource implementation.
    [Note: This is not a milestone for the project itself, however this is a support feature that needs to be kept in mind for future improvements.]

Programming on Mobile Devices


This is a thought that’s been rather bugging me for sometime now:

Is writing code (programming) via mobile devices really not a very feasible idea?

In the current scenario, almost all conventional programming is done on desktop computers (PCs, laptops and the likes), wherein we have a standard keyboard which is used to write down all the code, and a relatively large enough display device to help us visualize what we are writing. However, with the mercurial rise in popularity of mobile devices we have seen a huge shift from conventionally used devices to mobile devices with almost all major aspects of modern day computing making a gradual yet steady shift towards mobile computing.

We see a lot of developers now focusing on “Programming for mobile devices“, however there is an evident lack of focus on “Programming on mobile devices“, which is actually quite weird in my honest opinion. On one hand we are talking about a truly mobile world, where almost every aspect of computing is being made available for on the go mobile devices. Whereas, on the other hand, for the very basic necessities for enabling these mobile functionalities we fallback to traditional computers (and by traditional, I do take into account laptops as well, because no matter how small in size they may be, they still follow the same desktop oriented norms).

Why is it so that we aren’t yet completely comfortable with the thought of being able to write a piece of code on our mobile handsets? I know some people may argue that it is possible to write code in some ABC language using a XYZ software on a tablet device. However, what I ask is that are you really comfortable with the current scenario? Why can’t we find a nice alternative way to make programming on devices such as mobile handsets more intuitive, organic, comfortable and developer friendly?

The main problem with devices as small as mobile handsets as I see it, is a combination of low resolution / small screen size + lack of a comfortable keyboard / input device. But is it really the main challenge that we are talking abut here? Or is our mindset the main challenge? Is it really that difficult to take on the challenge of redesigning the existing programming methodology and create an efficient solution for mobiles, or is it just that we are just too lazy and or narrow minded to explore the possibilities of programming on mobile devices.

I have heard the proverb which says “Nothing is impossible“, however, I think there’s an even more dangerous public opinion which states “This is not feasible!” which generally results in the eventual death of ideas. But is feasibility really applicable here or should it be the willingness and openness in one’s mind to imagine and realize the things which others might reject as non-feasible and bring about a much needed change in the paradigms? What do you think? Please do leave your thoughts on this as comments below.

The Greek Experience – Remo Training Days


Reps Group Photo

Reps at Greece for #remotrainingdays

Last week Mozilla brought together 40 Mozilla Reps from all over the world at Athens for week-long training exercise called Reps Training Days. The idea was to gather the most pro-active Mozillians under the ReMo programme in a single place and train them about leading the Webmaker initiative in their respective communities.
The training event was structured as follows:-
  • The Reps spend the first day observing a Hive Athens Pop-Up event.
  • Then the next 2 days are dedicated to developing local strategy and teaching skills; and finally
  • The Reps apply the lessons they have on a one day event teaching webmaking to a group of 100 students at the British Council.

The outcome from this event was phenomenal, with over 40 events being planned for the next 3 months to build local Webmaker mentor team and prototype events for the summer campaign, code-named Remix Party. The vibrancy of the geographical locations for which events were planned speak for themselves. From Taiwan to Indonesia, India to Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Romania, UK, France, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada + beyond, we had events being planned everywhere.

It was an amazing example of Hive + Webmaker Reps, with the local community stepping up to host the event. The energy levels of everyone at the event spoke for themselves.

Here are the links for some of the most awesome things from the event:-

Oops! Almost forgot – we also made our own Harlem Shake Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/tn4Evp8BN1U

Running Friendlycode – A local instance of Thimble


Here is a breakdown of how to run Friendlycode in 3 (maybe not-so-simple) steps.

Friendlycode Snapshot

Friendlycode – An Offline Thimble Instance.

Prerequisite: A static file server such as Apache.

Steps:-

  1. Download Friendlycode from here.
  2. Extract the contents of the friendlycode-gh-pages package into a directory named friendlycode within your file server’s document root. For example, in Apache you might want to put the friendlycode directory inside www/html or www or public_html based upon your Operating System’s preferences.
  3. You can then run a trivial embedding of Friendlycode from your browser by navigating to the examples/bare.html file within the friendlycode directory.

    Example: http://localhost/friendlycode/examples/bare.html

Additional features in Friendlycode:-

  1. Javascript: By default, Friendlycode doesn’t allow JS. An example of an embedding that allows JS and publishes using an alternate API can be run from the examples/alternate-publisher.html file.

    Example: http://localhost/friendlycode/examples/alternate-publisher.html

  2. Localization: Friendlycode currently uses Transifex for localization. To localize Friendlycode in your language, please visit the Transifex friendlycode project. Any strings you don’t translate will fall-back to English. To try out a localized version run the examples/transifex.html file.

    Example: http://localhost/friendlycode/examples/transifex.html

  3. Development: If you are a code ninja and want to play around with the dev-repository of Friendlycode, you can checkout the excellent Readme.md file at Atul’s friendlycode repository at Github.

Installing Steam for Linux Beta | Counter Strike for Fedora 17 / 18 / 19 / 20


Here’s the link to a really interesting article by Russel Bryant that I found on the web. Especially helpful for all my geeky gamer friends who keep on complaining about how they are not able to play Counter Strike or Team Fortress 2 on their Linux based systems. Enjoy!

If however you are a counter strike freak and this link doesn’t completely satiate your needs, you may try referring to this blog for Chris Daniel’s take on installing Counter Strike on Fedora 18.

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