Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Senior - Friend - CEO

There was one important thing that I forgot to mention in one of my previous blog posts. During Amma's birthday celebrations, I happened to meet a wonderful person, whom I had no idea was going to influence my academic life later. His name is Dipesh Walte. He happens to be an M.Tech Computer Science student in my college. Our's was just a brief meeting. We volunteered together for the celebrations, exchanged numbers and parted ways.

We bumped into each other very soon, during one of our lunch hours and became close. We shared our work experience, during which, he happened to mention his idea for a start-up that would implement both Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Impressed and influenced by his design, I proposed to conceive and implement it. Now, we are a team of four, headed by Dipesh, who is also the CEO of the start-up, the other two being my batchmates, who are well versed in analysis and programming. We are working together after college hours to achieve the target.

The planning period lasted for around two weeks. We approached our University Management for funding to which they agreed after listening to our proposal. To allow flexibility, we decided to create the backend using Python and jQuery. After about 3 weeks of work, a partially functional backend was created. Since the rest of the backend programming is frontend and user-dependent, I have taken up the task of designing and completing the frontend development while the rest of the team is giving inputs to help me achieve the target well before deadline. Hopefully, I shall accomplish my work on time and continue with backend development which constitutes most of the work. Live long and prosper!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A "Not So Small" Faux Pas

The long wait was finally over. All the work I had done culminated here. It was 10th February, 2017. Just when I thought it was going to be another normal day of programming, the announcement was made. GSoC 2017 application period was starting by March 2017. With not much time left, I started discussing with the coala community and made all necessary arrangements. Being my first time, I acquired the GSoC Proposals of my seniors and read through them several times to get an idea of how to write one. After all that, I patiently waited for the application period to begin.

Upon official announcement in March, with my parents' blessings and colleagues' support, I began to draft my GSoC Proposal for coala. It took me a total of 20 days to complete it. After that, was the review period when several people, all around the globe, from coala community developers to my own mom, checked the Proposal several times, pointing out and correcting the errors, thus refining and making it perfect. By the end of March, I was ready with my proposal, mentally prepared for what was in store. The deadline for submission was April 3rd, 2017. I waited for a day and submitted it finally on April 2nd by around 9.30 pm. I was overcome with relief upon submission since the results were only on May 4th, 2017. I tried to compose myself after nearly 2 months of immense pressure. On April 4th 2017, I received a mail saying that my Proof of Enrollment was approved, elating me even more.

During the one month I had before the final result, I was in constant touch with the developers in the community and spent my time contributing code patches. I kept asking them eagerly regarding the status of my selection and the only reply I got from everyone was to "chill out and not worry about it". The anticipation had built up so much that I couldn't sleep on May 2nd and 3rd. And finally on May 4th, the results were announced at 9.00 pm IST. I had skipped dinner to know the outcome. But, against my expectations, as a huge shock, I didn't get through GSoC 2017. The pain of failure, after all the hard work and sacrifice, was too much to handle. The events of that day and the subsequent days taught me several lessons in life. It learnt how to face failure, overcome disappointment and start afresh in life carrying all the lessons at the back of my mind. But most importantly, it taught me the value of good friendship. I take this opportunity to thank my friends who helped me during this difficult time and made me feel better. Live long and prosper!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Good News

All the time I spent coding after college hours led to many fruitful results. My work in coala was starting to get noticed by many developers in the community. I actively took part in many discussions on the improvement of the source code and suggested many changes. In the meanwhile, a time came when I decided that I should start dealing with tougher code patches. So, I was browsing through the list of patches that are yet to be solved, and incidentally, came across an old bug that needed major changes. I wondered why nobody had touched it until I came across the "medium difficulty" tag and the amount of discussion that went into it. I asked the community if I can take it up and they were glad that I dug it up.

My work on this bug went on for about 2 and a half months straight. I was in touch with the developers regularly, so they kept track of my progress. After a thorough discussion with them, the difficulty of the bug was changed to "hard". Immediately after that change, they said something that made my day. They told me to shift my focus temporarily to some other bug since that bug was apparently "GSoC" material and that if selected, I can work on it. I have agreed and resumed my work on some other medium level bugs. Have to wait till January for the GSoC registration period to begin. Live long and prosper!

Monday, October 31, 2016

A New Beginning

After creating my Angular JS powered shopping cart, I was pretty much free. I went back to my home in Chennai to spend some quality time with my family. Got back to Kollam after about two weeks and with pretty much nothing to do, was roaming the Vallickavu beach (advantage of having a beach within 100 metres from your college). The good thing was that during my Chennai visit, I was gifted with my dream phone, OnePlus 3. Thanks to its 16MP camera, I enjoyed clicking some awesome sunset shots from the Amritapuri shores.

So, I went back to my usual college routine until the announcement for Amma's birthday (Mata Amritanandamayi's birthday) came up. Freshmen were requested to be volunteers for the 3 day long celebration. Considering the number of devotees Amma has globally and Amritapuri being Amma's headquarters, the celebrations are spread over three days to enable the numerous bakthas who throng the ashram to get Her darshan. My friends and I had a lot of fun those 3 days. Since our volunteering work was only for 4 hours, the rest of the day was our's to spend in whatever way we wanted. We were mostly roaming around the campus, window shopping at the different stalls that had been set up for the devotees and eating a lot 😜.

My hackathon venture: Soon after the birthday celebrations, Amrita's FOSS club announced a MediaWiki hackathon to teach its new members how to make contributions to MediaWiki. The hackathon was initiated on October 1st. It was a 2 day hackathon organised entirely by our FOSS seniors. The guest of honour was Abdeali JK from IIT Chennai - a former GSoCcer and a Software Developer for MediaWiki. All the first year students in FOSS made our first contribution to the "Open Source World" that day. And needless to say, the food provided during the hackathon was tasty 😍.

On the 2nd and final day of the hackathon, as per Abdeali's suggestion, I chose Coala - a Code Analysis Application, as my Open Source organisation.

Coala uses Gitter for IRC. I was really happy about the way the developers treated the newcomers. They even had a proper newcomers' page in their site. I followed the clear instructions and very soon, fixed my first bug within a week (it was just a typo bug, but still, made me feel proud). Then, I went on to fix 2 more bugs and am right now, working on my 4th - 2 weeks down and I'm still getting errors 😕. But like they say, failure is the stepping stone to success. With every error, I am getting to learn more about the code base - Python. During this time, I also got to know that Coala, a sub-organisation of FossAsia, got 8 slots for GSoC 2016. This year, they are expecting more. Looking forward to GSoC 2017. Live long and prosper!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Shopping with Code

I had started coding for an assignment to create an interactive shopping cart using Angular JavaScript from 4.30pm today. I have come as far as creating a basic interface using HTML and have also created a route to my own application created using Node JavaScript. Now I am able to open up a website having a list of categorized shopping items with radio buttons to select them, and a separate Total tab which adds up the prices of the selected items to buy from the website. I still have a long way to go. Live long and prosper!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Cracked AngularJS

Finally,after a long time of "Googling" and struggling, I did it. Actually, it did get tougher by the minute, but since I was dealing with only a small part of this huge framework, it didn't get any complicated than I thought it would.

                                        AngularJS is one of the most sophisticated piece of programming language I have ever learnt. It's complication made it much more difficult to adapt to. Even though it was a mix of several other languages, it was a miracle by itself. Google has done a beautiful job of taking an already beautiful language and adding their own touch to it, making it an awesome framework for backend development. Of course, they made it a little bit more tougher, but guys, once you get the hang of it, it is awesome to use and easy to improvise upon.  Live long and prosper!