We have received the following grant application "Start ACT - Voyager". Please leave feedback in the comments field by July 25th, 2014.
Start ACT - Voyager
Theo van Hoesel
$ 1.000 DBIx::Class
$ 2.000 Dancer(2) implementation
$ 1.000 REST api
$ 2.000 Theme Based templates
$ 6.000 TOTAL
The Perl Community is a social community that gathers at several places around the world during Conferences and WorkShops and Hackathons. Since more than a decade ACT has been used to provide organisers of these events a central system for registration, payments, talk-submits and scheduling.
However, development has been stalled for a long time and many good initiatives has been surfaced and not yet materialised over the last years.
Start ACT, Voyager, will be a large project that will lay down the fundaments that allow for growth and expansion, based on top of the deep settled original ACT implementation.
Many of the ideas of 'BooK' about ACT2 and the work done by 'Getty' for YACT are inspirational for the roadmap to a new platform for the essential Conference Toolkit.
Benefits to the Perl Community
* we suck at marketing * is a phrase not to be proud of and as a result of that mind set, the main hub for Perl events is not catching up with courante user experience and not providing the means for front-end developers to change anything about it. Gradually, this will be a 'voyage' to upgrade the current ACT to modern standards so new features can be build upon it.
One thing it will provide is a 'Next Generation' REST api. This will allow others to write their own web-applications that will lift the load from the current ACT server tremendously when done by experienced front-enders. Clients are encouraged to cache their retrieved data locally and most of the mobile apps do rely on the presence of such api's.
Eventually in 'the Final Frontier' there will be a complete working theme-based template that allows for responsive web design, including user-profiles and, not less important, a web-base backend to manage 'instances' of conferences. With a few clicks organisers will be able to have a good looking website based on some default themes and layouts. For those that do not want these predefined templates, one can always setup their own server and make calls to the REST-api.
Too many feature-requests and ideas do exist but Start Act - Voyager is merely a road map and along that road the following are essential deliverables:
DBIx::Class Schema of the current ACT Database
A working version of ACT, build with the previously written Schema, which is a replacement of the ACT Core templates and modules.
REST api (the Next Generation)
Mostly responding to GET methods and a few POST and PUTsd
Theme-based Templates (the Final Frontier)
Easy to setup, possibly through a backend to ACT
Some of the great ideas will be borrowed from the previous Grant for YACT. However it will not have all the nice bells and whistles that make this project insane big. As said before, it is a platform for growth end extensability and others can build more nice features into it. An ACT Hackathon will be a wonderful opportunity to extend with new features.
One email from 'BooK' contains a whole list of inspiring ideas on what the supposed ACT2 (api based) should be providing and next is a quote from his email:
"Working on an API makes it easier to focus on the data (which is the value of Act) and to leave working on other things for later (the web framework, the conference management tools, etc). I think Act2 should come up with a web application (with better support for conference-specific templates), but should not be tied to it (so that others can do something else with it, like a smartphone app)."
It would be too much to write down all the details, but that quote shows quite clearly which direction StartAct - Voyager should be going.
Since this is quite a huge project, it is hard to say which tiny steps would be needed to get to the end. The milestones are mostly the deliverables as mentioned before.
Starting on this project will be possible shortly after YAPC::EU. A nice opportunity to have some more discussions with the people that are currently on the mailinglist and IRC. Since the complexity of the project and the number of resources that needs to be accessible through the REST api as well as all the templates that need to be doen (twice), It might easily last up to a year, working one or two days per week and spending some evenings here and there.
The project on itself will be completed when it is possible for an organiser to easily create an instance and choose and modify a predefined theme.
However, each of the for mentioned mile-stones and deliverables need to be completed before actually moving on to the next stage
I'm the oldest 'send-a-newbie', entered into the Perl community back in April 2013. Before that my coding was gibberish but since then I met many many people in the community that showed me how Perl can be really a powerful tool.
Things done in Perl are as simple as an automated 'talks-titler' that generates HD-TV quality title pages from the talks-list in ACT (see the NLPW::2014 video's) to more interesting things like building a OOP wrapper around the ugliest Magento XML-RPC interface.
Currently I'm writing a REST api generator that does for DANCER what schemaloader.pl does for DBIx::Class: writing all the routes and HTTP-methods into separate modules for each resource found in the database.
Before writing Perl, I have done quite some Objective-C for iOS applications. And long before that, I used to be self-employed web designer.
I'm also one of the organisers of the NLPW::2014 and 2015 and have great personal interest in having a better user experience with ACT based websites, both enduser as maintainer.
It has been my desire to change the user experience of ACT since I first used the web-site... checking my schedule personal schedule on the first day of YAPC::EU::2013 in Kiev... on an iPhone (WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME)