In 2017 I was granted scholarship to attend the Prague prehackathon and Vienna hackathon for the Commons Android App project and others. However, due to missed trains and flights, I was not able to attend. I'd like to apologize again for the time, money and work spent for this. It has been a bitter lesson for me, and I will make sure this won't happen again. (See also Lessons below.)
This report focuses onto work I have done individually. I will leave links at the bottom of this page for amazing things the entire group has done during the hackathon.
I joined the discussions online about the hackathon planning in the months preceding May 2017. Some examples:
Contribution during the hackathon days
I used some of my free time to help out hackathon-related tasks available online. I worked more in reviewing others' contributions than writing mines. In total, I have made more than a dozen of pull requests, reviews and merges. See https://web.archive.org/web/20170523022902/https://github.com/commons-app/apps-android-commons/commits?author=whym for some of the links to individual contributions. My contribution tended to be supporting others than writing large new chunks of code by myself. Concrete examples:
- https://github.com/commons-app/apps-android-commons/pull/569 - I pointed out a remaining task to do and subsequently followed up with a patch.
- https://github.com/commons-app/apps-android-commons/pull/540 - I made sure the proposed patch won't cause issues by reviewing and testing it in different language settings.
- Communication - most of the communication was done on GitHub (using Issues and Pull Requests). I learned new things I tried the Hangout chat and IRC as well, but I did not find it effective due to the time difference (7 hours). I didn't try video, which could be effective if you have agreed on scheduled talk sessions in advance.
- Asynchronous work - even if you are far away with a major time difference, you could work asynchronously - you could send a patch before sleeping, receive a comment next morning and re-submit it after fixing problems. In a sense, it's work as usual for this project whose members are spread around the world. However, again, the time difference is a significant barrier - you will miss decisions made and ideas discussed centrally at the hackathon while you sleep.
- Travel - the main reason for my failure to travel was land travel. I will make sure this won’t happen again by adding an extra safety margin of time, even if it is in an area I think I know well. In this case, I should have allocated more than 2.5 hours for land travel from Tokyo to the Narita airport, where in the best case scenario, it would be about 1 hour.
I intend to work on the app as a volunteer in the coming months. After the hackathon, I continued working on issues including those that arose during the hackathon. Some resulted in substantial patches: https://github.com/commons-app/apps-android-commons/pull/727 https://github.com/commons-app/apps-android-commons/pull/738