Arab Techies Code Sprint 2009: Day 4 (final day)

We started the final day of the code sprint with a go-round on each one's favorite place/location/spot limited to this universe ;-)

We went into our last round of report-backs of what everyone has done the day before:
Linuxawy, Mostafa, Riham and Taha spent the last portion of the day before on stopwords, Waheed and Riham worked together on the Ruby plugin for language detection but they faced performance problems. Bassem and Khaled Hosny worked on developing a python bot for the Arabic wikipedia to fix the common spelling mistakes after they had a discussion with Taha. Alaa, Khaled Hosny and Dr. Noha had a discussion on clustering.

Mostafa has also worked on an interface for Taha's conjugator, BooDy and Slim worked on Ar-PHP refactoring and integration, Hjiouij finalised the RTL design document and Djihed documented the discussions they had earlier on social localisation tools.

Khaled Al Shamaa continued working on incorporating some of the work done by the other teams in the new version of Ar-PHP, and Amr released the FireFox Yamli extension and spent sometime packaging a Drupal module to integrate the Arabic comma as a separator for Drupal tags.

After the report-backs, we discussed our plan for the last day since we wanted to make space for discussing some of the challenges that we couldnt work on in this sprint like OCR, discuss where do we go after the sprint is over and also save some time for evaluating the sprint before we leave for our last outing together.

Teams then split to work together until lunch, on:
  • Porting Taha's stemmer to PHP
  • Porting Taha's stemmer to Ruby
  • Finalising unfinished documents
  • Clustering discussion cont.
  • Ar-PHP refactoring cont.
  • Spellchecker
  • Stop words cont.
  • Common spelling mistakes correction

Amr in particular wanted to spend some time on gaining experience on Arabic language processing to be able to work more on it in the future.

After spending 4 more hours on the above tasks and getting some lunch, Alaa announced that the coding was over and it was now time to discuss our future plans.

He identified some projects as opportunities for collaborations and can be treated as Arab Techies ongoing projects. First he divided the projects into 2 groups:
  1. Projects that had multiple contributors/collaborators, and most of the deliverables, such as:
    • Ar-PHP: modifications, new algorithms, refactoring and redesign for some APIs
    • Search: all tasks related to processing the Arabic text and preparing it to improve searcing and indexing of Arabic content.
    • Taha's tools: Taha has a lot of knowledge to share and a lot of projects to release, he needs help in finalising his projects and publishing his work and we can learn a lot from him. There must be other people like Taha too, and we NEED to find them!
    • CMSs: to give a better user experience for Arab web users, by building new modules/plugins for Drupal, MediaWiki, Wordpress, etc.
  2. Projects that didnt have a lot of contributors and few deliverables, such as: clustering, localisation, documentation. The question was were the techies interested to continue collaborating on these projects too or not.
Another way to look at these projects was to split them into:
  1. Natural Processing Language (NPL) related tasks:
    • R&D: to come up with new ideas, algorithms and solutions for problems and challenges.
    • Programming libraries and platforms: to develop the libraries and data tables to be directly applicable for programmers, and develop Ar-Python and Ar-Ruby libraries similar to the Ar-PHP model.
    • Extending our network: to find more researchers, academics, other developers working on these topics, and to promote our work.
  2. User Experience related tasks:
    • Web: improving localisations, CMSs, frameworks, browsers, and building useful web services for the Arab users.
    • FOSS: localisation and internationalization of Free and Open Source Software.
    • Best practices: documenting best practices in design, localisation and internationalisation.

After Alaa's introduction, participants then voted on which projects they wanted to discuss and draw their roadmaps, they only added OCR to the above projects. They choose OCR, Search, Taha's tools, CMSs and Ar-PHP, most of the teams have uploaded their plans on the wiki of Arab Techies project space and Ar-PHP plan was to give CVS access to the developers who wanted to work on it and Khaled Al Shamaa promised the new version to be released within a couple of weeks.

Before going into the evaluation, Alaa started the last go-round on how each and everyone was feeling then, when the four days of sprinting were almost over. Everyone was happy with what was done so far, and optimistic and enthusiastic about what we can do together in the future.

The Evaluation was split into 2 parts, first part was to list positives and negatives, again people complained about the gender imbalance, and the lack of instant documentation and live blogging of the event. Everyone was grateful for the amount of knowledge they learned even those who didnt code. And to show their inner geeks everyone praised the more comfortable and expensive hotel (compared to that of the previous event) in the positives, but complained that it had no internet in the negatives, and when asked on their preference all choose internet over clean toilets ;-)

The second part of the evaluation was to compare the list of tasks and the number of people who wanted to work on it, to the number of people who actually worked on it and whether they were able to deliver anything related to that task or not. The comparison was quite satisfactory.

We started packing our personal stuff, white boards, charts and cables and headed out to catch the sunset in our boat trip. It was a very relaxing trip with lots of seafood to consume :)

It was great to meet some of the old techies again, and definitely a pleasure to know the new techies. Keep up the great work you are all doing :)

Stay tuned for release announcements of the different tools coded in the sprint, you can follow our updates on Twitter too.


جميل جداً ملخص أكثر من رائع،

جميل جداً ملخص أكثر من رائع، أود المشاركة بمساعدة الأستاذ طه فهل يوجد خطة لإكمال العمل بعد الاجتماع؟

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