Report from ROLE Developer Camp: One (developer) day in the life of…

Being a co-organizer of the 3rd ROLE Developer Camp 2011 in Leuven, I was looking forward to our idea to have a full day of hacking at this event. On November 30, the second day of the event, this day finally arrived. However, instead of working on an own idea for a widget and initiating a team for that, I spontaneously decided to be the apprentice on this day and join Scott Wilson’s team. And in fact, it was a valuable experience I made this day.

Already in the brainstorming phase, I learned that widgets should comprise a small piece of functionality. While many other teams tried to realize complex and full-featured tools, we discussed a widget to motivate Scott to finalize his PhD thesis. Then, when it came to development, I enjoyed even more hints and advices by him:

    • Let’s use a framework which allows everyone of us to contribute – we used jQuery Mobile which was easy to use for all.
    • Let’s use a cool visualization – every widget must have some visual and hopefully useful highlight.
    • Let’s split up work – Scott built the stub of the widget, Felix applied a JS library for the cool visualization, Li Na took care of user interface issues and Sten some business logic to combine the things and give feedback to users.
    • Let’s finalize the widget and provide it to the community – which we did!
Figure 1: The winner of the Widget Competition at the 3rd ROLE Developer Camp 2011 in Leuven

In the end, the “Write That Thesis!” widget (see Figure 1) was not only fully working but it was also fully packaged and delivered to the folks, and it won the widget competition. And personally, I learnt a lot about developing widgets from a guru like Scott Wilson. I highly recommend every young and inexperienced developer to become the apprentice for one day… maybe already at the next ROLE Developer Camp!

Winning team from the Developer Camp Competition (from the left: Sten Govaerts, Li Na, Felix Mödritscher and Scott Wilson)

You can find and try out the winner widget here:


Felix Mödritscher

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