In spring 2014, Software Factory has been participating in Facebook’s Open Academy Program. Open Academy is an large-scale open source software development collaboration with close to 20 different open source projects and more than a dozen universities worldwide.
Students application and selection processes ended in December, 2013 in our department in University of Helsinki. 8 students were admitted to different projects as they prioritized. The open source projects that our students has been contributing since January, 2014 are Kotlin, Ruby on Rails, App Inventor and Socket IO.
Software Factory students spent close to 3 weeks in Helsinki familiarizing themselves with the projects. They visited Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters on February 6-9, for an intensive kick-off weekend. The event allowed the student teams to meet their mentors from their project groups and sit down for two-and-a-half days of intensive coding and socialization. More than 250 students participated to the event had chance to hear about an introduction to the world of distributed development. Nice shots from Software Factory students revealed that Hackathon was an unique experience.
After arriving to Helsinki back from San Fransisco, Factory students started to work on their project with full speed. Each week, they have been writing learning diaries that covers their project experiences through different topics given.
The first half of the Software Factory project (7-week long) ended by the first week of March. One of the students, Mikko Johansson, stated his experience with these words:
“When I go back and think about the project itself, it has been a valuable lesson. I have learned and pretty much understand now all the things that I wanted to, when I signed up for. I’ve gotten a touch of how huge open source projects are maintained and how people outside the core team can affect the outcome. I’ve gotten more experience about how to start working with a huge codebase, how to work with a public open source repository (git). Now I have more techniques to dive in a project that already has lots of code and multiple modules working together.”
The second half of the Factory project (7-week long) continued until May. In his latest diary entry, Tony Kovanen, who contributed to Socket.IO projet, says:
“My first and most important goal for the project was to contribute something meaningful. Something that would shape the future of Socket.IO. Well, mission accomplished.” Additionally, he asks himself if the project and his contributions are over. Here is his own answer:
“Definitely not. I plan to continue to actively contribute to Socket.IO, since it is among the coolest projects that I’ve encountered. Some things on the TODO list are emitting Node.js streams from both the client and the server side using a Socket.IO plugin. This might also require some changes that allow easier external plugins the the current Socket.IO architecture. Other things include some more relevant backwards compatibiltiy and SSL-certificate support on Node.js clients (browsers handle this automatically).”
Software Factory Spring 2014 was an amazing experience for all of us.