Hackfest @ Directi #1 – 31st January, 2010
It all started with this, when Manish DM'd me for a small hackfest. We were looking for a small space where we could sit together, access internet and write some code for straight 5-6 hrs. Thanks to folks at Directi and @codechef, we no longer have to wander / crib about it.
Here is a late recollection of the first event -
This time 4 of us could make it - Manish, Rohan, Ishan and I. We were joined by Mr. Sandeep and Naresh from Directi. Though the initial plan had 9 people, many couldn't make it due to exams, other personal commitments, etc
Ishan's talk was pretty in-depth and eye-opening for any Computer Science student. I think we should've recorded it. The talk dealt with problems that Geolocation based Search faces these days and his focussed on Geolocation disambiguation. He discussed some ways to solve it, ways to store and query your data efficiently (tries, ternary trees), ways to quickly find nearby places (quadtree decomposition), and even few new algorithms (bloom filter, etc).
It was eye opener in the sense that one could actually see the application of Data Structures and Algorithms apart from the only kind of good exposure we get in our college life - Programming Contests.
Then Manish gave an Introduction to Codeigniter, a popular, powerful yet simple mvc framework written in PHP. Though this was meant to be an intro, it actually went in-depth and all of us who had merely tried out Codeigniter once in a while came to know about even more features that it has. The discussion extended to various other issues pertaining to mysql, php, unit testing, etc
It was 2pm already and we were quite hungry by then. Rohan also wanted to give a short talk on his own project on centralized authentication, but we couldn't schedule that along with lunch and work to be done.
By 4pm after lunch the headcount was 3 - Rohan, Manish and I. We started working on apt-offline, in order to make a gui for it in PyQt4. I gave a quick walk-through to what apt-offline does, what it is built upon, and how to use it. Then we saw the code in order to figure out best way to proceed with the task. Manish drew some mockups and discussed on how to make the ui more user friendly and he actually KISSified the current UI into something much straightforward and easy to use.
So far we started designing the new looks in QT Designer, while Rohan shared his in-depth knowledge on Qt (C++) time to time.
As it was 8:30pm already and everyone had college or office to attend to on Monday, we had to leave by then. But boy we wished to stay more.
I think as even folks at Directi suggested, a Saturday would be better time to organize the next hackfest. A night-out is pretty much possible on Saturday as it does take time start working along with everyone on a project.
Last but not the least, the Directi office is a perfect hangout for such weekend coding and geek get-togethers. While meetups do happen in Bangalore, but they mostly comprise of talks and discussions, for instance the bangpypers and ilugb meetups. But a hackfest with such great flexibility and freedom is a totally different learning experience.
Here's Manish's detailed account of the day.