Introducing VillageHack 1.0, probably the first Hackathon in an African Village

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Things are still in the pipeline, but I'm working with my awesome folks at Beyonde Labs and Deveint Ltd to make this happen this December 27, 2014.

A bit of some quick and rough background. Way back in 2010, I started off an initiative (with the help of Web Tribe Ltd, where I was working then) to put my village online. The project called Lugulu.net. The raw code (then by a young amateur developer) is now on GitHub and it's kinda making a SOS distress call, I need maintainers and guys who can help push to the next level - putting all African Villages online. This will be one of the challenges in the Hackathon.

I opened a Facebook Profile and Twitter Page, which are fairly inactive now. With the help of two good friends and fellow villagers, Charles Khisa and Michael Murumba, we set up a Facebook Group at the same time, and started inviting other villagers to join in. We've seen it grow from 3 to now 550 members as per today. At that time, we ambitiously said it's the only village Facebook Group in the world ;-) It's a good pride to have but we wish to see this across other African Villages.


Now welcome #VillageHack 1.0, happening on 27th December 2014 at Lugulu Village. A pleasant village in Western Kenya, where some of us were born and bred. Next year, we wish to see this happen in at least 20 other villages across Africa, perhaps on the same day - call it #VillageHackDay.

 
This upcoming event will mainly entail:
  • Programming Bootcamp - we'll be teaching interested folks (esp High School leavers), Python, JavaScript, HTML and CSS.
  • Tech Talks
  • Hackathon for mature devs - mainly building technologies for the village by the villagers.
So, that is it for now, but I'll keep you posted on the development.

If you wish to sponsor the event, or you can give any leads, feel free to shoot us an email. Also, if you wish to participate (in teaching, hackathon or tech talk), let me know, we can help facilitate your accommodation, that's what villages are known for :-)

My Faith Expressed in Code

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This night as I was busy writing code, an idea of starting Code Jokes project dropped on my head; with one of my jokes on a good old hymn we used to sing way back in High School (FSK).

If you wish to contribute, get(git) the repo here.

Going Back to Core JavaScript

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My journey with JavaScript began way back in 2009, and I loved the language right from day 1 - now that I was quickly becoming a web development native.

From then, just like many developers in developing countries (Kenya), I went the full-stack way. I think this should change, we need to have (some) people specializing early enough, that's my opinion. Punching keys in between PHP (CodeIgniter), Python (AppEngine), HTML/CSS and JavaScript (mainly jQuery, then some AngularJS).

Recently, I made up my mind to go back to the trenches and pick the good old bare JavaScript and relearn it again, hopefully inside-out. Someone told me "a wise man knows that he knows not".

And like any other sane person, I quickly pick up Douglas Crockford's JavaScript: The Good Parts

So you can guess where I'm going, JavaScript heavy-weight / front-end dev.

So  my journey just began. If you wish to keep tabs with what I'm doing with the language, you can keep an eye on my GitHub profile and more so this repo on JS: The Good Parts

I'll close up with these wise words from the creator of JavaScript, Brendan Eich:

First they said JS couldn't be useful for building "rich internet apps"; Then they said it couldn't be fast; Then they said it couldn't be fixed; Then it couldn't do multicore/GPU; Wrong every time!; My advice, always bet on JS. [source: alwaysbetonjs.com]

Ok, I'll Try to Blog

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I just revamped my old 2010 blog. In between I moved nandaa.com to a Wordpress installation, tried to blog at a rate of actually one blog-post p.a. :) Later on, lost the 4 or so posts due to poor server migration; with no regrets :)

I mostly used Google+ as my "blogging platform".

Hopefully this time round, I will blog. Keep checking...

Ever been Code Ignited? You better be...

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As I told you earlier, I'm one person just obsessed with frameworks. Recently, I picked up on a new PHP Framework, Code Igniter (CI).

If you have had a look at some other PHP frameworks like "the much-hyped" Zend, CakePHP, or myriads of others, you will appreciate that Code Igniter is truly light-weight and simplistic. I can say without fear or favour that of late, I have turned into a CI evangelist of some sort. I recommend CI everywhere, even where it is not outrightly applicable.

Why? I just love simplicity! You easily figure out where the rod meets the rubber in CI than in Zend. Zend is a story of another day, I'll tell you why I separated with Zend...

Its and young framework, you can dive in and grow with it. I can not say its better than Zend, though it might be only in some aspects, but it is better than procedural code 100 times, unless you are doing your own OOP/MVC PHP.

Why you don't have to reinvent the wheel!

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I will discuss succinctly about Web Development frameworks. There are a number of them out there but I will talk about them in general.

My area of interest is web, though I'm a computer scientist. Web technology has always and will always move at a rapid speed, and catching up with it is always deemed to be challenging. However, that only depends on you - how you embrace change.

The world over, several developers have cracked their heads in labs, hoping to make your life (as a developer or designer) easier. To come up with something great, it all depends on how you pick all these pieces and fit them together. A bit of Google APIs, CMS (like Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal) , Facebook API, Twitter API, and a lot others, plug them nicely in your Web app, and have something out of this world!

In essence, the present day developer is extremely advantaged. On this blog, I will be sharing more of how you can use these frameworks to make your life easier but better.

However, a word of caution, as you pick up these frameworks, they also have their own side effects, mainly on performance (which I will be discussing them in depth on this blog).

I am not a guru yet, and even if I was, this is a learning journey, I need to learn a lot from you, and get lots of response and criticisms.

So let's walk together.