Looking back and looking forward to the future of the project
06 July 2020
We are at the midpoint of the Outreachy programme and it’s been a blast! Not everything goes according to plan so changes have to be made when needed which only shows that we are continually moving forward and making improvements.
My original plan for the project was to spend the first week onboarding and hashing out the architecture of the app and after that produce a finished feature every week. We had to modify this as we wanted to spend more time planning out and deciding the architecture.
Deciding on the tech stack to use, what technical tradeoffs to make, app structure and workflow, and planning out the project to make sure that it meets the needs of a free, open-source software community with contributors from all over the world in terms of scalability and maintainability are all extremely important things to consider before starting the project and I’m glad we took the time to make sure we are making the correct decisions.
During the first half of the programme, the app architecture has been finalised which helps us a lot moving forward as future contributors will have a solid structure to follow and guide them when adding new features. The app is fully cloud-based using AWS services which means scaling will be easier and the code base has been carefully planned to make it easy to maintain.
Four Slack slash commands have also been implemented allowing users to quickly know the health of important HOT tools as well as get pertinent data depending on user-inputted parameters.
If I was starting the project over again, I would have read more docs before starting the project so I could be readier and more confident during the app architecture discussions. As it was my first time using AWS services, I had to spend quite a bit of time learning about the services that we will be using and I could have done that beforehand. All in all though, I don’t think this has pushed us back any significant amount of time and I’m still proud of what we have achieved so far.
Our focus for the next half of the internship is to make sure the project will be ready for contributions. This means ensuring the repo is organised coherently and folder and file naming makes sense, having extensive docs to guide contributors, setting up issues ready to be picked up, ensuring CI/CD is set up and running, as well as making sure that all the features so far have sufficient test coverage and are merged.
I will also be writing two articles for the HOT tech blog to talk about the project and encourage people to contribute.
While I’m already feeling a bit sad that my time as an Outreachy intern with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap is ending, I’m excited for the next half of the programme and I know I will continue contributing to this and other HOT tools in the future.