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. 🙂

 

 

Tatoo love!

A fresh start – PESITBSC Firefox Club

When my community manager told me that we’re going ahead with a campaign to install Firefox on Windows 10 machines, I was like, “Whaat?” Being a total Linux convert myself, I’ve never even booted Windows on my machine for more than 18 months now. So, it didn’t make any sense at first. Later when I slowly read through the ideals laid down by FSF, one of the important aspects of `freedom` was to respect others’ choice of software.

So after a careful study, it came down to this philosophy,

We as torch-bearers of the open web, advocate the use of free and open source software but most of our counterparts use proprietary software and we cannot allow them to be told what to choose. Mozilla cares about our privacy, and the right to choice should always remain with the user.

Having set the above USP, I proceeded with chalking out a plan to host an event to not only make the #SwitchToFirefox, but to set a trend at it.

Take Back Control - Event poster

Take Back Control – Event poster

This was followed by discussions with TJ and Biraj to see if we can get some Mozilla goodies for the event and they obliged.  Side note: The Firefox for Windows 10 campaign goes on till November, so feel free to check it out and if you’re inspired by it like me, don’t hesitate to host an event – at your school, coffee house or popular adda. 🙂

Although the shipment sent by TJ was weeks beforehand, it was routed to Chennai by mistake instead of Bangalore and I had to make a flurry of phone calls to finally get it here. And yes, it arrived on time. It landed exactly one day before the event, and we were just glad that it reached here. Thank you USP!

Basic agenda:

  • Club introduction and goals by Abhiram
  • Net neutrality debate by Abhinav
  • Privacy talk by Bhoomika
  • Firefox for Win 10 – customization by Sharath
  • Developer tools demo by Amjad

If you missed the event you can catch a sense of it on the event report penned down by all the speakers. However, what you will not get to see in the event report where we had an impromptu discussion by Sandesh, our club founder and Abinav – a very talented web developer. Sandesh talked about how one can protect one’s privacy on the internet as well as his contribution story.

For the photo-frenzy people, take a look at our Flickr stream by Alekhya. Thanks!! 🙂 The Facebook event page has also been properly documented, do take a look at it.
I had great fun hosting the first event of the year, it’s up to these guys now to take the baton forward, and I hope they will.

Magic happens here - Firefox Club PESITBSC

Magic happens here – Firefox Club PESITBSC

 

 

Getting things started at CMRIT [#MozMonth]

Phew, what a month it has been. Travelling across the country, talking Mozilla, its projects and the impact it has created – one awesome ride, I should say. This is the first of four events I conducted during a 4 week period from Feb 21 – March 21.

 21st Feb – Maker Fest CMR

It all started with a mail from this guy, asking me to judge a webmaker event as part of Cultura 2015, in CMRIT Bangalore. Yeah, it was a shocker to me as well.

Abraar - CMRIT's MozGuy

Abraar – CMRIT’s MozGuy

Well, I had to give a demo of the webmaker tools which was followed by the actual hack. Surprise surprise! Jafar and I get roses, yes real roses. The icing on the cake is that Jafar, was completely unaware of this. I had an idea that they’d welcome us – but definitely not with roses.

Jafar with his rose

Jafar with his rose

No guesses for the theme of the competition – it was the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 or Your favorite TV Show. With all the fever set in, it was the perfect time for the creative lot to spin out their inspiring ideas into apps. And so did the participants.

Amazing crowd at Cultura

Amazing crowd at Cultura

Hacker at work

Maker at work

 

 

 

 

 

For the prelims, we had some amazing makes – you can find them all here on the etherpad. We didn’t have a time limit for the prelims as it was the first time participants were exposed to the webmaker tools. For the finals, we did have a time slot of 45 minutes, and what people can do in 45 minutes is really brilliant. The theme for the finals was ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission – yes, we were the first to get into the Mars orbit on first attempt. We had some surreal makes, and judging them was no easy task for Jafar and me.

And we have a winner!

And we have a winner!

I had great fun, teaching people how to use webmaker tools in the first half – followed by evaluating their makes in the second half. The makes were witty, creative and most importantly opened up the doors for everyone present to delve into the amazing world of open web. Special thanks for the CMRIT team for having Jafar and me there – you guys were awesome.

Resources:

  • You can find the entire photo bucket here on Flickr
  • Slides used during demo made using thimble

Takeaways:

  • Modelling webmaker events as competitions increases quality of makes
  • Theme based webmaker parties are better
  • Swags help, but they aren’t the only way to reach out

    You guys were awesome!

    You guys were awesome!