Thursday, December 18, 2008

programming arena @ fisl 2008

for those who don't know, fisl stands for "international forum of free software", it's the biggest open source event in brazil bringing together all segments interested in OSS: students, academy and companies.

in fisl 2008, which happened in april, we, at INdT, had the opportunity to organize the programming contest that happens during the event, called the programming arena.

it was a great event and the students really did their best to solve the proposed set of problems and win the prize of 1 N95 + 1 N810 for each member of the winning team.

the competition was divided in 2 days: the first phase was to solve a problem set programming in python for series 60 and the second phase was to develop an odf reader for maemo.

below is a video produced by casa de cinema de porto alegre, which shows a bit of how exciting this whole competition was for all the participants.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

QEdje on Akademy

For the lasts 3 months we have been working hard on the QEdje project, a bridge of the Edje declarative language (from the EFL - Enlightenment Foundation Libraries) to the Qt world. In the next week we are going to travel to Belgium, where we will have the opportunity to present, on Tuesday 12/08, this work at Akademy!

Edje has been used on Canola, Carman and various other applications with great success, simplifying the work of designers and developers. So we are really excited about the opportunities of using Edje together with Qt!

below is the abstract of our presentation:

Edje is a declarative language that simplifies the development of complex interfaces separating the UI design from the application logic, by providing animations, layouts and simple scripts in a very small memory footprint.

The main purpose of the QEdje project is to build a bridge among components that proved to have great value for open source developers: Edje and Qt. This will extend the Qt toolkit with the flexibility of a declarative language, such as Edje, and also enable Qt widgets to be embedded into Edje UI design.

This presentation will show more about the QEdje project, current status, future plans and also present some canvas benchmark's and improvement possibilities, taking Evas (which is recognized as a very fast and optimized canvas) as a reference point.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Scrum we trust

we had a Scrum training in the last 2 days with Boris Gloger. It was clarifying to have this training as most of the participants were already using Scrum actively in their projects. Now we know what we did wrong and what could be improved.

the points that catched most of my attention was the rule of working on one backlog item at a time (of course you need to be reasonable here, as there might be situations where it is necessary or better to parallelize, but as a general statement you should avoid that).

another point that confused me was the sizing of the backlog, we previously sized the items in days, but we got convinced that sizing should not be dependent on time as you want to estimate how big your item is and not how fast you can solve it.

one interesting practice to sizing is the poker play: where you use cards with the values of an almost fibonacci sequence to "size" your backlog items among your team.

a very important point is to define beforehand the acceptance criteria with the Product Owner and also check what went well and what could be improved by the end of each sprint.

according to the curse, for having scrum running efectively you need to have:
  1. Timebox
  2. Self organization
  3. Full principled
  4. Potential shippable code

and for documentation, it is basically the product backlog (PB) & the sprint backlog. \o/

as an interesting side note, the word backlog refers to the containers that are transported by ship and this backlog is also ordered by importance: the most important containers are placed in the bottom in case there is any storm.

the things we are going to improve in our team for the next sprint: do the daily scrum meetings DAILY, time boxed and on time, work on the same backlog item until it is really done before moving to the next one and doing the sprint planing 1, . planning 2, review & retrospective in order to improve after each sprint. In order words, just apply Scrum more strictly :)

the main benefit of the training was to understand the principles of the Scrum methodology. With that in mind you should be able to adapt it to your day to day work, without loosing the agile principles.

Canola beta9

the new beta 9 of canola is out! in this release the main new additions are the UPnP plugin and the "On the Move" playlist.

I find these two new features extremely useful: now you are able to create and edit a dynamic playlist on the go and access your media from your local network seamlessly.

besides that, there is also the new canola-tuning plugin, which enables you to get the cover arts and video thumbnail from inside canola´s settings (no need to run the canola-tuning app anymore).

one really old bug that was finally solved is the PNG thumbail generation! this was a long time on my todo list, but with low priority. the fix included a patch for epsilon, the EFL thumbnail library, and I took the opportunity to send some patches for epsilon upstream.

hope you enjoy, there is more to come ...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Arena in FISL 9!

this year was the first time I went to fisl (Forum Internacional de Software Livre) to participate in the organization of the Arena Contest, that was promoted by INdT together with Forum Nokia, the Gobolinux community and the fisl organizing committee.

the arena itself was a closed glass room (like an aquarium) in the middle of the event area. it seemed like a "big brother" show, everybody stopped and starred through the windows to see what was going on inside :)
while coding the participants were given "red bull" and pizza to keep their energy high and it worked since none of them left before the last minute!

the first phase "qualifying" of this competition was a series of tasks of python for series 60. these tasks were hidden in the calendar of the N95, like a "treasure hunt". 8 teams of 4 people participated and the teams that earned the most points by solving the tasks advanced to final round: the "insanifying".

in the final round was proposed a real project of developing an ODF viewer for the Maemo platform. from the 5 teams that participated in the final round (1 resigned), 4 functional applications were coded in 24 hours, great job from the participants!

we hope they continue to develop the applications (as they promised) and start a joint project at garage.

more photos from the Arena can be found here.

all this Arena event was filmed by a great professional team of film producers from Casa de Cinema de Porto Alegre. they will produce a video that will show off better what we are trying to describe here.

besides the great experience of organizing the Arena, it was also great to meet the guys from trolltech and kde and see the challenges of the UI design in Andreas talk! in INdT, we are doing a lot of work in common with these guys and we talked about the opportunities of working together.

summarizing, as artur said, it was an amazing event for INdT!