The A/V guy’s take on PyCon Pune

The A/V guy’s take on PyCon Pune

“This is crazy!”, that was my reaction at some point in PyCon Pune. This is one of my first conference where I participated in a lot of things starting from the website to audio/video and of course being the speaker. I saw a lot of aspects of how a conference works and where what can go wrong. I met some amazing people, people who impacted my life , people who I will never forget. I received so much of love and affection that I can never express in words.  So before writing anything else I want to thank each and everyone of you , “Thank you!”.

My experience or association started the time when the PyCon Pune was being conceived Sayan asked me if I could volunteer for Droidcon so that I can learn how to handle A/V for PP,  and our friends at HasGeek were generous enough to let me do that. The experience at Droidcon was crazy, I met a lot of people and made crazy lot of friends. Basically me and Haseeb were volunteering to learn the A/V stuff and Karthik was patient enough to walk us through the whole complex set up, to be very honest I didn’t get the whole picture till now but I some how able to manage. I learned a thing or two about  manning the camera and how much work actually goes to record a conference.

Since I was anyhow going to the conference I thought why not to apply for a talk but somehow I knew I wasn’t going to make it reason being the talks got rejected in a lot of other conferences 😛 . But anyhow being my stubborn self I don’t give up on rejection I gathered all the courage and got Vivek involved and we decided to apply for the talk and to my surprise it got in. This was our first conference talk and it was on one of the projects that we really really love, Pagure.

Since these things happened over a large span of time, by the time conference dates came I have nearly got out of touch with the A/V setup I only have vague idea about what is happening. So Sayan who is a one man army stepped in and he assured me that he will help me with getting the setup ready and we turned again to our friends at HasGeek and they were really humble to help us out this time and also help us with the instruments. We literally had a suitcase full of wires in case things go wrong. We spend around 3 days to up skill ourselves to handle the setup but this time the setup was very simple.

After all this happened and Sayan and Chandan took all the instruments to Pune. I arrived at Pune somewhere around two days before the conference the bus that I took from Bangalore to Pune dropped me somewhere near Telegaun which is near to Mumbai than Pune and I somehow managed to get back to Pune and reached Sayan and Chandan’s house. We were bunking together and there were more people about to come. I took some rest and then we were out , first stop was Reserved Bit , oh I can’t forget this place.

It is a perfect place for geeks and I loved every aspect of it. There I met Siddhesh for the first time we have had conversations over IRC though and met Nisha too. Amazing people the whole experience to travel to Reserved Bit and way back was amazing. We went to the venue to checkout where the camera will be and verify various aspects of the venue. After we came back I started working on the setup and man it was very tough and tricky to gather live feed from the camera.

First of all I was little hesitant to use any proprietary software but then I had no option so we somehow found a windows laptop and tried configuring it but almost everytime either we got a “BLUE SCREEN” or “UPDATES” which annoyed me , the sole reason of using windows was because we had a piece of hardware called capture cards, and the driver for which were not available. After long struggle and a lot of digging done by Siddhesh we got driver for Epiphan capture card for Linux and this was around 12 in the night and we all were still there at Reserved Bit. This gave all of us new hope and then it started we kind of got our minimalistic set up and Siddhesh did a “Compiler talk by Angle Fish” , it was a lot of fun by the time we got it working it was somewhere around 4 in the morning. After all this Sayan and Me actually took a walk back home and picked up Subho on the way. The next day CuriousLearner arrived and then Haseeb , Amit and Gaurav.

We were around 10 people squeezed in a single room but without any discomfort we kind of enjoyed our stay with occasional leg pulling to deep intense tech discussion the whole experience was just terrific. Then comes the actual venue setup that was one crazy thing so the video setup was working with Linux , we had Epiphan capture card working on Kernel version below 4.9 and OBS studio as a recording software. I actually spent a good number of hours to install OBS and downgrading kernel to 4.6 so that Epiphan driver works on at least 6 laptops. When we tried the setup on site and it broke because we didn’t take into account the audio from the mic. All of us were stuck in a state of panic then we realized that we have a mixer with us, but its power cord was left at Reserved Bit . By this time this setup kind of became our conference hack and we wanted it to work so badly. We actually ran back to Reserved Bit spent sometime there since we had some work and then quickly came back to the venue, connected the mixer and after few trial and run it worked.

“YES IT WORKED ” our efforts paid off, we recorded the whole conference using this setup, some of the recordings were a little glitchy and one other hack that we added was we weren’t recording the slides from speaker’s laptop we were doing it manually on our laptops. That means one copy of slide was being played on our laptops and we were recording it accordingly.

Apart from this experience I actually got the opportunity to meet all the keynote speaker the first so I met Nick, Honza, Terri,  John, Steven and Praveen. This was another experience in itself to know them and talk to the Rockstars of the FOSS WORLD.

As a speaker Kushal introduced me as the Speaker who is also the Cameraman for the event and that was may be the first time in a tech conference. Vivek and I have been collaborating over the talk for a long time and we figured out the order in which we need to speak and we spoke accordingly we kind of covered all the things that we wanted to and got a great response from the audience. I attended most of the talks since I was The A/V GUY but I had a huge help from rtnpro he was always there humble and ready to help.

The conference came to an end where Nisha told all the people about the effort that was put in from every person and specially Sayan. After this we had two days of devsprint where we had amazing projects, Vivek and I were mentoring for Pagure and we got a lot of new contributors and quite a number of PRs ( 13 to be precise ), the devsprint was a run away success.

I also got chance to interact with mbuf and man I saw him smile and crack jokes for the first time and it was crazy fun ,  I think it was the dinner after the last day of the conference. One of the most amazing experience was to talk to Haris and yes his name is Haris not Harish. The whole experience was so lovely that I don’t think that it can be better than this.

PS: We fixed my Macbook too

PPS: Video of our talk at PyCon Pune

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GSoC: Final Submission

GSoC: Final Submission

This summer has been really amazing, I learnt a lot and worked crazy hours it has been a crazy yet amazing ride. I am not going to stop working on open source projects and with Pagure it is something really close to my heart.

There are a few things left but I can conclude that I am able to achieve what I wanted to at the beginning of this program , but there is never a feeling of satisfaction it is just like you want to achieve the best possible and most beautiful solution.

Pagure has CI integration which was one of my major goals to achieve and with the coming release it will be out and will be usable to people. This gives me immense pleasure to say that the foundation of CI was laid by me although Pingou kind of wrote a lot after that but that helped me to learn the depth of thinking one needs to have when you are working on a feature like this. Selection_027

I also worked on Private Repo feature which took more time than expected and it was pretty challenging to achieve , this feature is in  feature branch and it may get merged after it is checked in the staging first. Selection_028

It was so challenging that I got stuck on a data fetching problem from the database , we use Sqlalchemy as ORM in Pagure. I went through a lot of ups and downs at times I was about to give up but then I get some small part of it and Pingou has been so amazing mentor he never spoon fed me instead he asked the right question the moment he ask something the idea bulb use to glow.

I still remember struggling with  Xapian and Whoosh. This was again a very big task and still is , it requires a lot of time to optimize it to a level where it doesn’t slow the site. I gave a lot of time on it but since I few other goals and various issue to solve so I eventually moved on to those just to come back.

Pagure pages is one of the last goals that I worked on recently and there are discussion pending over it.

At a glance I was able to achieve a lot of the big goals on my proposal and still work has to be done, and I will continue to work on achieving various other goals. Few links that I want to share :

Commits made to the master branch

Commits on private-repo branch on pagure 

Pull-request for static page hosting

This kinds of makes me feel happy that I have around 102 commits on the master branch now and I believing I will be working a lot more on Pagure to bring a lot of cool and useful feature to it. In case you have any suggestion feel free to file issues on Pagure.

To be really frank I am not at all sad that GSoC is getting because I have received so much love and inspiration from Fedora Community that contributing to projects has actually become my daily routine the day I don’t commit code, review patches or comment on issues I start feeling something is missing .

And some of my fellow GSoCers said That’s all folks!  😉

Happy Hacking!

 

Docs in Pagure

Docs in Pagure

I took this week to hack on this feature called Docs which gives you the ability to host documentation of your project in Pagure. I have never explored this feature before so I started to hack on it .

This feature is pretty straight forward to use. Once you have your project up and running you can go to Setting of the project and under  Project Option  click on Activate Documentation this will actually activate a Doc tab in the main project. This can be used to host your docs specifically now this is a little tricky because you need to clone and push to a different URL, the docs are maintain in a separate location this is due to security concerns. When you activate the Project option you are provided with a Doc specific URL, you need to push your document or static pages to that URL and automatically any page named as index will be taken as the first page.

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You have to click on the more button beside GIT URLs to get your Docs URL and then you are good to go to host your static page.

For people who want to hack on Docs in Pagure you need to pull a few tricks to do that.

First and foremost is you need to get the code from pagure.io and then after setting up Pagure for development, you need to run two servers :

  1. Pagure server
  2. Doc server

The script corresponding to them are  runserver and rundocserver.

So if you have ever hacked on Pagure then you will know that you have to log in make repo  and follow the same steps mentioned above to see the Doc tab.

Under pagure/default_conf.py a new conf key has to be added which is

DOC_APP_URL = 'https://localhost:5001'

This tells Pagure that this instance supports Doc.

Now comes the tricky part, if you need to see Doc there should be a <project_name>.git created in the docs repo which is not there you just need to copy the file from repo directory to docs. Once this is done you need to clone the project repo from docs delete all the files there put the files you want in the static page , we support a lot of formats like md, rst etc. Add, commit and push and voila you will see them in your local instance.

I am actually working on issue 469 in which Ryan has suggested to make docs more specific to static page  hosting with the architecture that docs is based on this is actually a straight forward task but a really beautiful one which need a bit of deliberation on things we want to achieve.  Hope it gave you insight in what I am trying to to do.

More documentation on this can be found in the usage section of Pagure Docs.

Happy Hacking! 🙂

Search for Code in Pagure

Search for Code in Pagure

I was trying to get into code search in Pagure, thing that I land up on got really interesting and amazing.  If you want to have a code searching mechanism in your website you need to look into something called Indexing.

The way search happens in some E-commerce sites like Amazon or be it the search happening on Google, with Google its web scrapping and then indexing on the results. The point being the response time , while you are searching for something you get results in few microseconds.

Now imagine going through such a huge database and going through them in few micro second how much ever power you have but what you need is a clever way to manage it. I was looking at a CS50 video in which Mark Zuckerberg was telling about how he managed his DB, the first architectural design he took was have different MySql instance for different school so that they reduce time taken to search and form relation.

That was a really clever move.

While I was searching for ways to have code search feature on Pagure, I landed up on a pyhton based library called Whoosh. It blew me off with the way it was doing its searches and maintaining the database. I actually looked for a lot for tutorials on how one can understand indexing.

I landed up on Building Search Engines using Python and the way he explained things like N-grams , edge N-grams and how different files store different index words with the frequency and path to documents. I am yet to analyze git grep v/s whoosh.

While I was going through whoosh I saw that it has performance issues and then I started contemplating on the fact that if search is not fast enough then there is no point in having it. I actually looked into HyperKitty I figured out they were using Whoosh before and I assumed even they suffered form performance issues or may be because Django introduce Haystack . As the name suggest you can also use this to find the needle in haystack.

Yeah! you are right, I started looking for Haystack in Flask and I found Flask-whoosh. Again the draw back I had was it use to search through databases and not files, where as my application was to search through files on the system

There came the xapian there are a lot of core concepts involved while using or writing utilities in xapian. I went through the documentation for Xapian. They have covered a lot of concepts and have given examples of it, the bottleneck still persist when it comes to file searching and performance. I found a nice application Building Document Search which might give me some hope but still a lot of work is required there.

The whole concept being you need to do two things on a really high level:

  1. Indexing
  2. Search

Indexing

Indexing is required to go through the each file or record and build something called Index which has the search words filtering  stop words and the new database is build having the frequency and location of the word , this is the most time consuming process.

Search

This comprises of forming a query and searching through the formulated database and return the document in which word or phrase is found.

If you need to see a demo.

Till then Happy Coding an Bingo!

Setting Postgres For Pagure

Setting Postgres For Pagure

I normally use Sqlite for development because of the ease you get to see your file , browse through it and edit it. Having said that sqlite is good for development and not for production one of the foremost reason being it doesn’t support multi-thread querying.

The other disadvantage was sqlite doesn’t give a damn if you have dangling Foreign Key references, I land up on this problem recently. The way we categorize fork project in Pagure is on the basis of parent_id so if a project has parent_id its a fork and if it doesn’t then its not a fork.

This works out quite well unless recently we figured out a flaw , what if the main project is deleted, the expected behavior is the fork should be accessible but because of the parent_id  dependency the fork was getting inaccessible this was because as you delete the main repo , the FK references with the fork gets modified and becomes Null.

This creates anomaly because now the project is no more a fork , its a main repo and its treated like it which leads to a lot of repo path chaos. The relation of Postgres came here because I was able to have a dangling FK reference here in sqlite but when I try to achieve the same thing in Postgres it throws an integrity error.

Pagure uses Sqlalchemy as the ORM so I just need to set up postgres on my system and provide the URL in pagure/default_config.py  and ORM magic makes all the queries just work.

Setting up Postgres is really easy because of the amazing documentation provided in fedora-wiki . The only thing you need to care or a little tricky about is you need to be a superuser  before you change to user postgres .  So first sudo su and then su - postgres. Then the follow the steps in the wiki and create a user and create a database name pagure.

Private Repo on Pagure

Private Repo on Pagure

One of my proposal for Pagure was to have private repositories. Private repositories are basically repositories which are visible to you and people you give permission to.

To be honest , I thought it would require a few tweaks and I will be good to go, but that wasn’t the case and the insights I got working on this feature was amazing. I fiddle with this project on primarily  three stages. Each stage was a challenge in its own.

The three stages were:

  1. UI
  2.  Database Query
  3. Tests

UI

The UI  was suppose to have a checkbox saying “Private”  and when a user ticks it the existing project becomes private or the new project is private from the time it is conceived.

Achieving this was a joy ride, with flask I just need to make changes in the form and setting page UI and Voilla!

I introduced a column Private in the project table and that was pretty much it. Nice and beautiful.

DATABASE

This was the most challenging part for me , since I have not worked with databases, and this was out of my comfort zone, I actually went back to my database basics to see if I am doing things right.

We in Pagure use Sqlalchemy as the ORM layer, ORM stands for object relation mapper. It basically use to map databases to object-class model of representing data. Sqlalchemy is a really powerful tool.

While figuring out ways to get all admins who can view private projects , I struggled a lot since I was working with a function which forms the core of Pagure so if things go wrong with this function the whole Project will take a hit.

So the challenge was to make minimum changes which are independent so that it doesn’t compromise the existing functionality and yet able to introduce a new one. I struggle to achieve it I failed a lot of time , was working hard to get it working , constantly moving to the board to figure out a solution on paper. Then switching back to my screen to code it out.

I was so desperate to get this working that I even pinged Armin on IRC to ask my doubt about flask and Sqlalchemy.  All this while the best support I got was from my mentor Pingou.

Finally after struggling a lot I got a very beautiful solution and done !

Just when I thought I am done , there comes a question of writing tests. Since I have altered a very major functionality that means I need to test every aspect of it.

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Testing

Testing was a herculean task since I have not done a lot of testing, I actually got a lot to learn for starting the DB used for testing is a in-memory DB and not the one used by the app.

The session maintained has to be replicated in a way to use them in the test and how to use pygit to actually initialize a repo with git init and use it.

Towards the end of this PR my development evolve from writing code and testing it , to write the test and then introduce code or write code that pass the test. It has been really amazing working on this feature and hope it will be integrated soon.

I think may be a little more work is required on this feature maybe. It feels really amazing to do this work.

The link to the branch on Pagure.

The link to the current Pull-Request.

Happy Hacking!

Investigating Python

Investigating Python

I have been trying to implement private projects on Pagure, while doing that I was struggling with certain design of a function and while doing that I constantly have to switch between shell, editor and at times browser.

I am not saying it is a bad thing or  a good thing but this lead me to find a debugger I thought that might ease my task of finding what is going wrong and where and it actually helped.

I used a python debugger called pudb. This looks like Turbo C but its a lot more useful. This can be used in one of the two ways:

  1. You can directly debug a script  pudb <your_script_name>.py
  2.  You may need to call certain function when you are working with big projects in that case you can just put import pudb; pu.db

 

The most beautiful thing is, it just pops an IDE out of no where, it gives a deep insight about what code i s doing, how it is doing , what stack it is maintaining and what are the various values of variables.

You can always set breakpoints so that you can investigate about the code,  you actually play a detective. This is actually an important  point in developing in an opensource project since there are a lot of functions doing a lot of Hocus Pocus.

This is one of those tools that might even help you to understand the code base better , it really helped me to design the code better.

This is the script that I am trying to debug, the screen looks like this and ‘n’ can let you to go to the next line which can be investigated using the stacks shown.

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These are the few windows that you can navigate to and see what is going on.

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Not only this but you can jump between different modules and you can set breakpoints.

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This might help you get some cool insight about the project.

Happy Hacking !