Taking the Plunge Into IRC and Learning From It

To start off I wanted to get the mandatory discussion about this weeks readings/resources out of the way so I can get on about my experiences this week with IRC and the popcorn team at CDOT.

After watching both of the videos I can tell that there was one evident theme and that was how important the community is to open-source development. Without a community for the development of a piece of open-source software there wouldn’t be any way for it to truly thrive because there wouldn’t be a way for people to find out about the project and contribute to it.

Adventures in IRC
This week is when we all found out what exactly the channel names were for each of the projects and we were sent out to talk to the communities and find out more about the projects so we could get a good idea as to which we would be interested in. I jumped into the #popcorn channel initially because I figured it would be an easier way for me to break the ice and be comfortable there because I know some of the people who are in CDOT working on popcorn. Needless to say this took some of the pressure off my shoulders and allowed me to find out some useful stuff.

I was pointed in the direction of some starter tickets, ones that would be good to dive in to because they aren’t necessarily core features that are important to the immediate future functionality of popcorn meaning it’s okay if they aren’t done right now.

In addition I was able to get my lighthouse account approved for popcorn and with the help of John Buckley I was able to get some hands on assistance getting the most up to date develop branch so I could take a look at some of the code of the tickets I was interested in. It’s tougher than it looks! Don’t fret however, I hear he is stopping by for next week to help show us ” the ropes ” when it comes to using github.

Oddly enough I was able to make my first contribution today to the community, albeit a small one and one that wouldn’t count as my first 0.1 release (Darn!). The ticket I was originally interested in was #707. There was an issue previously with how timed elements were being added to the div’s when their direction was set to down. In a working state this means the new time element would be appended below the previous element in the div. However it turned out in the end that this issue was fixed in ticket #655 and was a duplicate ticket. Quickly made a comment about it and the status of the ticket was changed and everyone was happy (only briefly however as they’re all too busy :P).

Choosing a new ticket and the concerns I have
At this point I’m looking at taking a ticket that would be writing a potential new plugin for another website like #350 which is for a tumblr plugin. It seems interesting enough and they have an API here that I’ve looked over. Truthfully it leaves me confused on a few fronts.

  • How much of that am I supposed to write? Popcorn allows video, audio and other media to control the elements of a webpage. Does that mean I have to be writing methods in it that cover the video and audio portions of the API and more?
  • I understand I need an auth key as mentioned in the beginning of the API but I have no experience with JSON.

Honestly I feel it all comes down to 2 things.

  1. I don’t know any Javascript beyond the basic stuff I learned during INT222, which was 2 years ago at this point. I still have it sitting on my harddrive but it isn’t anywhere nearly as complicated as this stuff is.
  2. I don’t know how to interact and use the information that the services for their API provide me.

I’m sure I’ll be fine in a good 3 or 4 weeks time but at this point I’m worried more worried about how much I’m exactly supposed to have done for our first release. None the less I plan on studying more of the code for other plugins as well over the next few days so I can hopefully get more of an idea on how to go about writing some of it.

Thanks for putting up with the mini essay here. Hope you enjoyed reading it!


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