Interview: We Talked to Mohit, This Year’s Google Summer of Code Student
Mohit wrote two apps for Phoenix and Reva, the two pillars of the upcoming ownCloud Infinite Scale. His mentors are from CERN, AARNet, and ownCloud. What can he tell us about the hot new stuff?
ownCloud has recently announced “ownCloud Infinite Scale“, a complete rewrite of the ownCloud Server in Go. The project happens in collaboration with CERNBox and AARNet, which are already trying it out.
This new framework is a great progress, but will pose a challenge to the ownCloud platform in total: All existing apps need to be touched and reworked.
Frontend parts need to be integrated into Phoenix, storage releated backend parts need to be integrated into the storage provider and reprogrammed in Go.
Mohit is one of the first people to build upon this brand-new technology – I asked him a few questions about it.
Who are you and how did you get into web development?
Mohit: I am a 3rd year undergraduate student at Indian Institute of Technology. I am doing a major in Physics there. Apart from Physics, I am also involved in programming and have done some courses related to it. I started web development last semester.
As a physics student, how is it working with CERN? I mean, they are the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.
Well, I didn’t directly work with CERN (I hope I do some time in future). The project was with CERNBox, that is the cloud storage and collaboration hub for CERN users across the world. CERNBox uses ownCloud to provide its features. So I guess this project is completely related to web development.
Great, how did you get the idea to apply for Google Summer of Code?
One of my friends participated in the program last year. So, I decided to get involved in Open Source as well, to improve my skills and gain experience. This is my first time in the Open Source community and I am already enjoying it!
You are writing an ownCloud app for Google Summer of Code, right?
Yeah, I wrote two apps actually: the Preferences app, and the Root Viewer app. The Root Viewer app is a reference app for others to make their own according to their needs. Both the apps will be for CERNBox, the ownCloud instance which is the cloud storage and collaboration hub for CERN users.
A tour through the CERN Data Centre.
Will your apps be available on the Marketplace, or does it only make sense to use them in CERNBox? Who knows what specifics they need, not everyone is operating a particle collider.
I asked my mentors about the apps being published to Marketplace. They said it is not mentioned as a part of Google Summer of Code, but if the community finds them useful in their work, they may be available there.
Who are your mentors? Someone from the community?
There are three mentors: Hugo Labrador from CERNBox, Michael D’Silva from AARNet, and Thomas Müller from ownCloud.
How is working with Phoenix? How easy is it to get started with an app?
Creating your own app is extremely simple in Phoenix. You just need to define an app info file that talks to the core of Phoenix about the configuration of app and all. Rest is just the logic of your app which is put in apps directory.
What exactly does the Preferences app do? What can we use it for?
CERNBox has integrations with various application providers such as Office 365 and others; the Preferences app is used to associate different mime types with application providers. The users can use the app to set document association as their preference – for example, they can set PDFViewer as the default application to open pdf files.
That sounds very interesting 🙂 How did you get the idea for the project and what makes it interesting for CERN?
Actually the idea was proposed by Hugo. The main idea behind the project is to make collaboration on CERNBox easier. Right now the server admin decides which application is to be used to edit/work on some file. Users can only use those applications the are made available to them.
So, for example, to edit images, some will use photoshop. But if thats not available, they will have to use the default one provided to them. To solve this problem, the team proposed to implement the idea of “Bring Your Own Application”. This basically makes the collaboration platform independent.
The second app shows how this can be done. The first app will have a small role in the second app.
So how does the second app work? You mentioned that it is a reference app – how can we use it to develop our own Phoenix apps?
The idea is to show how the users can use the application of their choice to work with. I will make an app that renders an application to view/edit root files, one of file types used at CERN.
To integrate any application to the platform, Cernbox people have created a server side implementation named Reva. It will be the storage layer of the new ownCloud Infinite Scale.
This serves as an example on how they can work on their choice of application. And for the corresponding client side implementation I used Phoenix.
Do you need to have the Preferences app installed so the Root Viewer app works?
Yes, the Preferences app is used to set the default application provider that will be used to open the .root files. So it needs to be installed.
Thanks for the interview! Hope to see you at the Conference!
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