Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We Came, We Saw, We Hacked

It was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in the Bay Area. Spring was finally here (well actually in the Bay Area, spring comes and goes when it feels like it. Kinda like a case of relatives you don't really like coming over when you least expect it) but in this case, spring was actually here. Not a cloud in the sky, warm weather, nice cool breeze and the occasional concussion when you get in the way of someone playing fetch with their dog.

Given the setting, I was honestly a little apprehensive approaching our hackathon in Stanford. It just seemed like a day that was usually spent on the sand with a beach ball and not a lot of clothes. Considering that we're entering a community of mostly students, I fully expected to step into the venue with a bare handful of attendees plonked in the middle of a bunch of snoring frat guys hung over from the night before.

In any case, pushing those thoughts aside, the first thing I did was....

...get lost.

Seriously. They either change the roads around Stanford an awful lot or I really need to update my GPS maps. At one point, my little Gamin was insisting that I turn right immediately. I would have gladly complied aside from the fact that turning right would have made my car a permanent fixture in someone's living room.

When I did finally get there tho, I was greeted by a very healthy bunch of eager hackers who have already started on technology tutorials. Just a quick side note, the PHP and Python bunch outnumbered *everyone* else by a huge margin. If a fight broke out between the different camps, I figured I'd be the one diving for cover yelling "<?php Echo "Hello World !" ?>". In any case once the Code For America guys arrived (their GPS was a lot more insistent than mine apparently), the hacking started in earnest.

We generally worked on 4 different projects. Chach dragged her bunch off to a corner and worked on web scraping with ScraperWiki, Dan Melton took his guys and built some gems for client libraries that would connect to AFF data, Michael and Michael (it sounds like a cheesy boy band but what can I say, we both just had a cool name) took a group over for Open 311 and I know I'm getting mail bombed for saying this but I honestly can't remember what the fourth group did. There was a lot of tech geek talk that went around that afternoon but the one highlight I want to insert here is: CouchDB is cool :)

Definitely has my seal of approval.

I can't for the life of me give you all the details even if I wanted to. The entire day flew by so quickly and the only moment I was aware of the time was when it turned pitched black out and there was a general murmur of discontentment when youth metabolism and hunger pangs combined. I think the pizza guy was greeted with a level of applause you don't normally see for the winner of an Academy Award.

All in all, it was a *LOT* of fun and I'm certainly looking forward to our next adventure with the CfA folks in this year's Google's Summer of Code.

Quick PS: There was even time for a quick shirt swap of Dan in Joget colors and myself in CfA's. That preluded an episode where we were looking at the fruits of his labors, me volunteering to fill in with a Java library to complement the PHP and Ruby ones they hacked out, and him deciding to diss me by going "who the heck needs Java libraries ?". If you were on Stanford grounds on Saturday night and saw a skinny geek chasing a tall one with a chair, that was probably just us.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Integrate Joget Workflow with Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar

Joget Workflow developers are committing full force into the development of Joget Workflow v3.0, with the vision of building a full-fledge workflow application builder that will redefine simplicity in software development.

However, at the same time, our team is also committing enthusiasm into community engagement, to promote Joget Workflow into other strong geeky Web developer communities, by bringing down the barrier for Joget Workflow adoption.

Within less than 2 months, we have released a set of plugins for WordPress integration, Drupal integration, and now ... Google Apps integration!

  1. Google Mail (Gmail) Plugin: send email messages within a process via Gmail's SMTP server
  2. Google Calendar Plugin: create or schedule Google Calendar event within a process
  3. Google Docs Plugin: upload documents to Google Docs within a process

Thanks to the plugin-driven architecture that is powering Joget Workflow, it is so much easier for us to develop integration points with other systems and user directory servers. And at the same time, easy for Web developers of any platform background to roll up your sleeves, and get straight to the job.

So now, it is entirely possible to design and automate a process that looks like this:

Start using them, and let us know your feedbacks. If anyone is keen to further enhance on these plugins and make them better, or create new plugins integrating to other Google technologies, please raise your hand ;) We shall get in touch.