FORMAT : Firefox OS Renaissance of Mobile App Technology
Extract Mozilla India Community and Instruo'13- The annual techno-management fest of Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur organized an event at the university premises on 22-23rd March, 2013 to gather all the developer base in West Bengal and help students to learn web development and apply the knowledge to develop innovative apps for Firefox OS.
After a month full of hard work, excitement, dedication, and enthusiasm, atlast the judgment day arrives on 21-Mar-2013 - one day before the most anticipated event. The good work done by me, Subhasish and Avik for the last one month, would be of no use if the main event by chance would not have run smoothly. With this apprehension in our mind and confidence in our work done and some faith in the all-mighty we started the day. In the morning we attended classes but our mind were somewhere else, may be on final planning of FORMAT.
Our real work started from noon when we suddenly found that around 30 people had reached to BESU already traveling a long distance to attend the event on the next day without any prior notice. With the help of our university authority and volunteers of Instruo we managed to arrange accommodation for them in our hostels and halls. Now came another surprise, at around 4:00 pm we came to know that Avinash( from Nepal ) is going to land at the Kolkata Airport at 5:10 pm. As soon as getting the news Subhasish and Avik rushed to the airport which happens to be a 1:30 hours journey from BESU. Whereas I was waiting at the university to receive Biraj. The anxiety dropped when I came to know that Subhasish and Avik have successfully recieved Avinash and are on the way to BESU. In the meantime Biraj came. With Biraj I made my first visit to our university Guest house, and quite surprised with the quality of the room in that much low cost.
On the same day the honorable Governor of West Bengal Mr. M. K. Narayanan visited our University for inauguration of our renovated Swimming Pool and new Hostel in the evening. Now Avinash came and after receiving him me, Subhasish and Bibaswan took our booked car to receive Vineel and Robin( from Bangladesh ), while Avik stayed here to assist Avinash and Biraj. Another disaster occurred when our cab broken down on Kona Expressway and we waited till 9:30 for another cab to come. In spite of that we reached the airport in time and received both Vineel and Robin and back to BESU. After dinner we went for a tour to visit a portion of our 169 acres of huge campus and its heritage.
Though the event was scheduled to start from 1:00 pm, participants started coming very early in the morning to secure a seat. The volunteers went through a huge amount of pressure to manage around 250 participants queuing up at the registration desk. The event started at 1:30 pm after some delay due to Instruo'13 inauguration. Vineel kicked off the event with an introductory note. Then Sayak took over and gave some introduction to Firefox OS, the platform, the marketplace, how it integrates web with mobile application development technology, and how it supports the vision on "Bringing the open web to mobile devices". Then came the session of Soumya, who told regarding developing apps for Firefox OS. After that Robin, Avinash and Sayak showed a demo of making apps from scratch, along with demonstrating some previously written code. Sayak showed them a responsive Wikipedia app. Avinash displayed his load shedding application made using building blocks and then Robin showed them a flip text generator made using jquery-mobile. The enthusiasm among the crowd can be observed from the fact that they interacted actively during the sessions and made their doubts clarified by the speakers. The day ended up with a session of Biraj demonstrating building apps using codiqa.
The next day was completely coding session where participants formed teams and started developing apps. The hackathon attracted participants from experienced developers as well as beginners and students, who also were not afraid of transforming their ideas into real life utility apps. After hours of coding at the end of the day we saw around 30 demos of applications developed by the participants. Some of them were really awesome in terms of utility and some had quite excellent ideas. Then comes swag distribution part, where we gave away t-shirts, wrist-bands, stickers. We felt a sigh of relief after successful completion of the two day event.
Limitations : Though the event broke all sort records and went on beyond expectations, let me analyze the shortcomings which, if were absent, the event could have been way above where it ultimately ended. The main drawback was some communication lapses which we tried to overcome with prompt action. Also the budget request was approved quite late which delayed other important planning. The uncertainty on various field delayed the planning a lot.
At the end we are grateful to Vineel, Avinash, Robin, Sayak, Soumya, Shahid and Biraj for taking their time out for attending FORMAT and all the participants for making it a great success with their presence.