It’s raining Rust at Red Hat

I know it’s been a while since I’ve put out a post and mostly because I’m trying to learn amazing things and get my hands dirty, trying to build solutions that actually make sense.

One such pet-project has been Rust, probably the fastest growing systems level programming language today. Hitherto, I’ve always looked at Rust from the outside, never got my hands dirty, mostly because I was under the assumption that it had nothing to do with web development. Turns out, I was completely wrong!

This year’s Rain of Rust campaign gave me an opportunity to revisit the programming language and the reason why it’s been garnering interests at astronomical pace. For a nascent programming language which is in the 1.19th version of its release, it’s challenging the big guns – C and C++. Yes, you heard it right.

On to the campaign

The campaign, although initiated and led by volunteers from the Mozilla India community at first was later adopted by the larger Mozilla community with contributions from all over the world like these events in Mexico and Brazil. The main goal of the event was to increase outreach about the language and train developers to contribute in the rust ecosystem.

At Bangalore

As one of the crucial aspects of the campaign was to organize on-the-ground events and so, with the gracious support of our host Sumantro at Red Hat, we managed to pull of a small event consisting of rust enthusiasts and Mozilla Tech Speakers.

We had our very own Vigneshwer leading the introduction to rust and hands-on session. This was well taken by the participants who had just installed rust and exploring what they could do with the language.

With witty remarks, use cases and insights of the language, Vigneshwer kept the participants interested. During the hands-on he introduced the kits built by the Rust India community and explained how participants could use them to learn the language. On the whole, it was a well-rounded session and helped the participants understand why rust is important and how they could contribute.

We then had a talk by Ravi from Ather energy which has used rust components to send  location data packets from its two-wheeler vehicles to the cloud in a secure and reliable fashion. His talk was inspirational as the participants were able to visualize how rust could be used in a production scenario.

For the last talk of the day, we had our own ReMo and host Sumantro show a demo on Rocket, a simple web framework for rust developers. This was in particular interest to me as a web developer, hitherto I was under the impression that rust could only be used for parallel computing and system level programming scenarios.  Now that I know rust has a fast and safe web framework, watch out JavaScript! Here’s Sumantro’s post on how to set it up on Fedora.

 

Last word

On the whole it was personally fulfilling that we pulled off a workshop in ~1 week of planning and what was comforting was that the feedback we received through the new ReMo feedback form was a 6+ on a scale of 0-7. Yay!

Finishing off with a mighty group photo. A round of shout-outs to Bhumika and Ra Fey for helping us out with the posters and social media calls to action! You guys are wonderful. ^_^

 

Rust Workshop | June 2017 | Bangalore

Rust Workshop | June 2017 | Bangalore

 

Fin.

Mozilla at 4CCON

I’m writing a blog post after a long, long time and the reason why I’ve been dormant is because I’ve not done anything of significance for the past 6 months. As I’m writing this, I’m also watching the US Open Semifinals between Rafa and Dimitrov (the 5th set is on and I really hope Rafa wins this one! *fingers crossed*).

Back to my story, I had the wonderful opportunity to represent Mozilla at 4CCON (Collaboration, Contribution, Communities and Commons) which is a National Level Conference organized by FSMI, a premier free software organization in India. I was invited to give an advanced workshop on using Selenium for testing web applications using Python on the Firefox browser.

The session went well, initially with 15 participants which later swelled into a crowd of 50 participants. The conference had workshops in a variety of topics and my session was scheduled to be on the first day – the 26th of January. Incidentally, it was the Republic Day of the country – I feel good sharing the things I’ve learned and practiced on the very day the Indian Constitution came into effect, over 60 years ago.

The full day workshop started off with a quick introduction on Python as a programming language, moving on to the uses and applications of the Selenium test framework and most importantly – the significance of unit testing. I highlighted the various API methods that Python developers could use to test a simple web page. The entire slide deck of the 1 day workshop is hosted online here.

In the later half of the day, I made the participants set up a basic website on their own and test for simple elements on the page like Dialog Boxes, Forms and Links. The participants found it interesting to inspect the DOM (Document Object Model) structure of their favorite websites and give various test scenarios and the exciting part was when they actually found a few bugs.

At the end of my workshop, I had a section on Open Source projects and how the participants could contribute. I shared stories of many successful people who started off fixing the odd bug here and there – are now the leaders in their technology fields. This was found to be inspirational by the participants there.

 

During the next 2 days of the conference I was invited as a delegate and attended various keynotes apart from meeting many FOSS enthusiasts whom I had met only virtually, hitherto.

On the whole, it was a productive workshop and I hope the participants will take up open source contribution and do justice to the enthusiasm they’ve displayed.

Chennai has grown in leaps, I hope to see better things in the days to come. 🙂