Sunday, October 10, 2010

From Silicon Valley Code Camp 2010, Part II.

Day 2

In the session on Fun with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, Tab Atkins Jr. [substituted for Newton Chan and] took the audience through creating a complete gaming program on the fly, called worms, by making use of the canvas element. Very educational.

In the session on REST for the rest of usKen Yagen provided an overview of the RESTx open source framework for creating RESTful services through demos. Key characteristics of this framework are:
  1. RESTx resources are self-discoverable through RESTful APIs.
  2. RESTx lets you define your services in any language of your choice.
He recommended the O'Reilly book on RESTful Web Services as good introductory reading material.

The session on Building Video Applications with YouTube API by Jarek Wilkiewicz was useful because the published APIs available both for browser-based integration with Player APIs and rich back-end data store with Data API enable rich vertical integration. Some amazing statistics:
  • 2B views/day
  • 150m mobile views/day
  • 24 hours of video uploaded/minute
The final session of the camp that I attended was with the title Are you ready to switch your role from PM to scrum master? Do you know what you do not know? by Amit Sarkar. One thought I came away with was the Agile and Waterfall methodologies are useful in different contexts; the Agile is definitely more useful in software development arena. Has any one used the Agile methodology in, say, the construction of a large airport such as the San Francisco International in place of Waterfall methodology?


Pulling together all the resources to accomplish as an enormous a task as this camp is really very commendable. Thank you, Peter Kellner. Equally commendable are the corporate and institutional sponsorships that funded the activity. Particularly for the for-profit companies, this form of social responsibility will only increase societal goodwill towards them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

From Silicon Valley Code Camp 2010, Part I.


This year's 2-day Silicon Valley Code Camp 2010 is characterized by 9 tracks, 194 sessions and 3040 registrants. This is quite a huge undertaking, considering that it is run entirely by volunteersAlthough sponsored by a lot of big name companies, I'd say that one company that is conspicuously absent is Apple.

A good part of the organization of the camp is the manner in which volunteers were solicited: It was very easy for anyone to sign up on the web for one or more of ~1.5-hour slots; I volunteered for the registration hour on both days, prior to the actual conduct of the sessions.

Foothill College is on a nice campus.

I chose the sessions I attended with no particular intent of following any one track fully.

Day 1

The session on Introducing Google APIs Part-I (A-Z & Geo) was very informative regarding the enormity of application level services provided by Google, more than about 80 sets of APIs. In particular, the utility of Fusion Table was nicely brought out.

In the session on Sencha Touch: Amazing Mobile Web Apps with HTML5, CSS3 & JavaScript, David Kaneda described the Sencha Touch application development framework product that enables mobile development for touch-enabled devices using primarily HTML5, CSS3 & JavaScript. This method may see considerable success because of the simplicity it affords the mobile application developer: No significant knowledge of anything other than those three. (There is another similar framework in this space, namely Appcelerator's Titanium). David also explained Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets (SASS) and the Compass framework that together contribute to greater fun in dealing with style sheets. He mentioned, or recommended, use of PhoneGap to prepare the Sencha Touch app for the Apple Store for iPhone apps.

In one of the last sessions of the day, Tab Atkins Jr. provided one of the most engaging sessions I attended on the 1st day. Starting with an overview of the new elements in HTML5, he went on to provide rather unique capabilities that HTML5 brings to a web page.

I can only look forward to tomorrow.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

GTUG Meetup on Google Apps Script: A Review.

This meeting on 6 October 2010 was primarily about Google Apps Script by Martin Omander, Developer Advocate at Google.

After a greeting by Van Riper, lead organizer of the Silicon Valley GTUG Meetup Group, the following initial announcements were made.
  1. Bess Ho gave out the discount code for Paypal X Innovate conference; also mentioned games design, Oct 12.
  2. Kevin Nilson talked about the upcoming Silicon Valley Code Camp, October 9-10
  3. Wesley Chun, the chief organizer of the Google tracks in the camp, briefed the audience on what is to come in those tracks.
The main talk began by showing the home page of Google Apps Script:
Subsequently, Martin went through examples of different functions created by Google and others in the Script Gallery, e.g., =weather(), =getTweets(). He also went through a simple mail merge example.