ATO2014: Using Bootstrap to create a common UI across products

PatternFly

Robb Hamilton and Greg Sheremeta from Red Hat spoke in this session about Bootstrap.

First up was Robb to talk about the problem. The problem that they had at Red Hat was that they had a bunch of products that all had their own different UI. They decided that as you went from product to product there should be a common UI. PatternFly was the initiative to make that happen.

Bootstrap was the framework they chose for this solution. Bootstrap is a front end framework for apps and websites. It’s comprised of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and an icon font (for resolution independent icons). Of course Bootstrap is open source and it’s the most popular project on Github. Bootstrap is mobile-first and responsive – design for the smallest screen first and then as the screen gets bigger you can adjust. Bootstrap has a lot of components like a grid, drop down menus, fonts, and form elements. So the answer to ‘Why Bootstrap’ seems obvious now. But one reason that Red Hat chose it was that most everyone was already using it in their products.

PatternFly is basically Bootstrap + extra goodness.

Up next was Gregg to talk about using PatternFly on his project – oVirt. First when you have to work with multiple groups/products you need good communication. The UI team was very easy to reach out to, answering questions in IRC immediately and providing good documentation. One major challenge that Gregg ran in to was having to write the application in a server-side language and then get it to translate to the web languages that PatternFly was using.

Gregg’s favorite quote: “All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection, except of course for the problem of too many indirections” – David Wheeler. So he needed to come up with a layer of indirection to get from his language to bootstrap. He Googled his problem though and found a library that would work for him.

ATO2014: Modern Applications & Data

All Things Open

Dwight Merriman from MongoDB was up next to talk to us about modern applications and data.

We’re not building the same things that we were before – we’re building a whole new class of applications that just didn’t exist before. When creating an app these days you might use pieces from 12 other applications, if you had to do this with a closed source project this would be very difficult. Open source makes the modern applications possible – otherwise you have 12 other things to go buy to make your application work.

We’re in the midst of the biggest technology change in the data layer in 25 years. We talk about big data and this is all part of it. One of the differences is the shape of the data. It’s not all tabular data anymore. The new tools we’re creating today are very good at handling these new shapes. Saying ‘unstructured data’ is inaccurate – it’s dynamic data – hence the word ‘shape’.

Speed is another aspect of this. Everything is real-time now – you don’t want to wait overnight for you report anymore. As developers as we build systems we need to start with a real-time mentality. While this sound logical – it’s actually a big change in the way we were taught which was to do things in batches. These days, computers are a lot faster so if you can do it (real-time) it’s a lot better.

We also need to think about our approach to writing code these days – this has changed a lot from how we were taught years ago. It’s not just about writing the perfect spec anymore, it’s a lot more collaboration with the customer. Iteration is necessary now – look at how Facebook changes a tiny bit every day.

Dwight then shared with us some real world examples from John Deer, Bosch and Edeva. Edeva is doing some interesting things with traffic data. They have built a technology that will see your speed when you’re driving over this one bridge in Sweden, if you’re going over the speed limit it will create speed bumps specifically for you. That’s just one say they’re putting their data to use in a real life scenario.

“There’s new stuff to do in all domains – in all fields – and we have the tools to do them now.”

ATO2014: Open Source – The Key Component of Modern Applications

All Things Open

Jeffrey Hammond from Forrester Research started this morning with a talk about Open Source – The Key Component of Modern Applications. Jeffrey wants to talk to us about why open source matters. It’s the golden age to be a developer. If you have people who work for you who are developers you need to understand what’s going on in our space right now. The industry is changing drastically.

When you started a software company years ago it would cost $5 to $10 million. Today software innovation cost about 90% less than it used to. This is because of a variety of things including: elastic infrastructure, services that we can call upon, managed APIs, open source software, and a focus on measurable feedback. Open source is one of the key parts of this. It is one of the driving forces of modern application development. In 2014 4 out of 5 developers use or have used open source software to develop or deploy their software.

The traits of modern applications show why we expect to see more and more open source software everywhere. One of those traits is the API. Another is asynchronous communication – a lot of the traditional frameworks that developers are used to using are not conducive to this so we’re seeing new frameworks and these are open source. We’re seeing less and less comparison of open source versus proprietary and more open source compared to open source.

Jeff showed us the Netflix’s engagement platform and how every part of their system is built on open source source. Most of the popular tools out there have this same architecture built on open source.

This development is being driven by open source communities. What Jess call collaborative collectives. Those of us looking to hire developers need to restructure to use the power of these collectives.

When asked if they write code on their own time 70% of developers say they do. That desire to write code on your own time is built on a variety of motives, all those motives represent intrinsic motivation – it makes them feel good. For those developers a little over 1 in 4 contribute to open source projects on their own time. So, if you’re looking to hire productive developers Jeff says there is a direct correlation between those who participate in open source to those who are amazing and productive programmers.

I’d add here that we need to educate the next generation in this model better so that they can get jobs when they graduate.

We are in a generational technology shift – web-based applications are very different from the systems that have come before them. The elasticity of open source licenses make them the perfect fit for these new modern architectures and comes naturally to most developers. Open source projects are driving the formation of groups of people who know how to work collaboratively successfully.

ATO2014: Open Source Schools: More Soup, Less Nuts

Opensource.com

Charlie Reisinger works for Penn Manor school district and was our final talk tonight. Tablets are all the rage in schools these days and if we give them laptops we lock them down. And then we wonder why kids are so turned off of computing. Charlie shared with us the store of stone soup.

Last year they gave every one of their students a laptop powered with Linux and the program has been tremendously successful. In addition to the laptops they spun up a student help desk where the students could work together to unbox the laptops, label the, inventoried them, etc etc. They wrote a tool that is shared at: github.com/pennmanor/FLDT.

With this model they taught the students not just how to use the computers, but how to be part of the community.

See more in Charlie’s Ted Talk.

ATO2014: The first FOSS Minor at RIT

Opensource.com

Remy DeCausemaker aka “RemyD” was up next to talk to us about the first FOSS Minor at RIT

Remy is the Hackademic at Rochester Institute of Technology. He works on a lot of student engagement at RIT to get students involved in open source. They have run about 50 hackathons in the last 5 years. They offer credit to students who work on open source and/or pay them to work on open source to show them that they can make a career at this. RIT offers the first open source minor in the United States. Three courses are required for this minor: Humanitarian Free and One Source Software Development (H-FOSS), Free and Open Source Culture, and Legal and Business Aspects of FOSS and Free Culture.

Remy uses a lot of common open source tools in his courses. Students have to log in to IRC to take roll, assignments are managed on Github and have to submit pull requests to hand their assignment in. The H-FOSS class has to design an educational game for the one laptop per child project as their final project.

Finally, if you’re in upstate New York and want to guess lecture Remy is inviting you in to his open classroom.

ATO2014: Unmanagement and Unleadership

Opensource.com

Luis Ibanez talked to us next about unleadership and unmanagement at All Things Open tonight.

We tend to celebrate leadership in sports, politics, in social movements. We make it sound like leaders are what are needed to succeed. That war stories don’t tell is the story of everyone else who made the success possible. When you emphasize leadership you miss what really went in to the success.

When you elevate the leader in a group of people you diminish everyone else. This makes the followers a little bit “mushy” and slow and dependent. The worst part of leadership is that it leaves the community members off the hook. This makes the community vulnerable (especially to zombies, aliens and the city bus).

Instead we want to educate and cultivate the community.

ATO2014: Social media for slackers

Rikki Endsley

Rikki EndsleyRikki Endsley overheard this at a conference: “I don’t believe in social media” but she’s here to tell us that it’s real! Social media is a great way to direct people to where you want them – even your IRC channel. You want to share relevant interesting, accurate information with people – keep on message even with your retweets.

Make sure you avoid PR talk, write like you would talk to someone next to you.

Part of being on social media is begin “social”. You need to retweet, reply and reshare. Participate and grow your reach – ask your network to share particularly important content.

Remember to consider your schedule. If you’re going to an event in a different time zone schedule your tweets for that time zone. Don’t share in your local timezone if the event is 5 hours ahead of you – you’re missing those people.

Measure your success. You can do this with many tools that are out there.

Finally you want to promote all of your accounts.

ATO2014: Easing into open source

Opensource.com

Scott Nesbitt was up next with his talk titled: Easing into open source.

There are lots of people out there who are interested and eager to try open source, but don’t make that leap right away. Scott shared with us his tips as a technology coach of how to ease people in to open source. A lot of us learned by getting thrown in to the deep end and we did learn a lot – but for most people that doesn’t work. This leads to a lot of fussy, angry people and they decide that open source is not for them.

So, the first thing you can do is curb your urge to get up on your soapbox – it rarely works. Most people don’t really care about the 4 freedoms or the ethical reasons to use open source in the beginning. Instead go for the heart of it. Show them what they’re interested in – they’re interested in what open source can do for them. How can they do their work with it?

“I’m afraid of open source, I can’t program” – tell people that this isn’t true (I like to use Firefox as an example here). “But it’s not … ” – the answer is ‘So What?!’ the software we’re showing you is just as efficient as the proprietary options. Instead of going feature by feature, teach them how to do a specific task.

And finally remind them that free software does have a price – the price is in the form of time – time it takes to learn the software. It’s time – but it’s time very well spent.

Take baby steps. Show them how to crop an image in Gimp – but don’t show them all the features all at once. Once they have the basics they’re going to want to learn more advanced topics – or maybe they won’t – but they’ll be happy that they’re no longer paint licensing fees for their software.

ATO2014: Building a premier storytelling platform on open source

Opensource.com

Up first at the All Things Open Lightning Talks was Jen Wike from Red Hat.

Opensource.com started in 2010 as a platform to share stories about open source software. Jen denied for us the open source way (which is the twitter handle for the site) :

  • Openness
  • Transparency
  • Collaboration
  • Meritocracy
  • Rapid prototyping

One example of this is an inspiring story from oepnsource.com that talked about the E-Nable group which creates 3D printable hands http://enablingthefuture.org/

At opensource.com we ask why we tell these stories? It’s a great to way to share stories of people’s experiences of using open source as a better way to live and work. As a storyteller for open source we strive to educate people outside (as well as inside) of the open source community. We have pages like What is Open Source and What is Open Stack. We also have series for beginners and/or women in open source.

opensource.com has a moderator program where moderators write articles, give feedback, curate content and bring in more authors. This is essential for keeping new content rolling in on the site.

Bookmarks for October 21, 2014

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on <a href=

  • OpenHatch
    OpenHatch is a non-profit dedicated to matching prospective free software contributors with communities, tools, and education.
  • CORAL
    CORAL is an Electronic Resources Management System consisting of interoperable modules designed around the core components of managing electronic resources. It is made available as a free, open source program.
  • Journal of Free Software & Free Knowledge
    An Open Access Journal on the broad philiosophies around the FOSS movement, including aspects of software and other intellectual artifacts, emerging developments in this ecosystem, and interfaces with society.

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