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Thread: Freezing Saddles Technology - 2020 Thread

  1. #1
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    Cool Freezing Saddles Technology - 2020 Thread

    For the 2nd year running, I'm declaring an official Freezing Saddles Technology thread.

    This year we're again managing the Freezing Saddles software (hosted on GitHub) through GitHub issues and a GitHub Project Kanban board. I plan on communicating with the technology team primarily through a Freezing Saddles Slack chat system. I'm leading the team this year again and have been doing most of the programming and almost all of the operations, but I'm eager to teach others what they need to know. I'm hoping that @jrenaut will continue to help as he has in previous years (again! thank you!) and I'm looking forward to getting more active contributions from potential technology team members.

    With that in mind, I'd like to call for volunteers, please post here if you want to contribute, even if you are not sure you have either the skills or the time to contribute.

    I'd like to host a series of scheduled drop-in Freezing Saddles development sessions in Arlington and DC and (gasp) maybe even Maryland if we have any tech volunteers who live in points north. Getting started with developing on this system can be a bit intimidating but I'd like to help ease that transition. Please pipe up if you think this would encourage you to contribute.

    If you have a problem with the Freezing Saddles web site, you can post about it here, or add a note to the board or to the freezing-web issues.

    Last year we made excellent progress in maintaining and extending the system, after some initial hiccups in transition. @hozn originally wrote software that runs the freezingsaddles.org site using Python, Flask, SQLAlchemy, Alembic, and some other frameworks, and last year we had our first full year of running through Docker. It is currently running on a Digital Ocean droplet that hozn is graciously footing the bill for, but we may complete a move away from that system to a new home this year.

    The main challenges we are going to have this year:

    * Altering the scoring so that the new declining-points system
    * Getting more than just me, @jrenaut and @hozn to contribute
    * Fixing a whole bunch of bugs we found last year
    * Getting weather data back online after the demise of the Weather Underground API
    * Getting distributed logging and more performance metrics back online
    * Moving the system to a more robust hosting arrangement

  2. #2
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    Default I would like to contribute

    I've been mainly a Java programmer over the last 25 years, but I had some experience with Python a long time ago; I'm starting to get up-to-speed on Python 3, for another project.

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by obscurerichard View Post
    even if you are not sure you have either the skills or the time to contribute.
    I have the time. I’m trying to build the skills but am not sure if I have them yet — looking through the GitHub page, I can’t say I fully understand how all the pieces fit together. I volunteer, but only under the condition you think I’ll alleviate more headaches than I’ll cause.

    I have taken some online courses and done basic work in Python/Flask, SQL, HTML/CSS, and even a little JavaScript. All of these (well, maybe not the JavaScript quite yet) have been useful in my PhD research and I’d like to take them further. Working on the tech side of BAFS seems like potentially a good way to do this as well as to give back to this great competition. I have your e-mail and will send you a note.

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  6. #4
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    Default

    Sorry, didn't mean to dislike the post, can't seem to undo it.

    Anyway, there are basically two parts to the BAFS code - the part that does the synching with Strava and all of that, which hozn wrote and is totally incomprehensible but amazing, and the leaderboard screens, which anyone with basic Python/Flask/SQL/HTML skills should be able to create or update.

    Javascript, aside from JQuery, is bad and should be avoided at all costs.

    All of this to say you should be able to help out with a lot of the basics. Maybe you won't be able to help out with weather data (I've been working in Python on and off for 10 years and I can't figure that stuff out), but lots of the parts of the website that could use some help are much less complicated.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pingouin View Post
    I've been mainly a Java programmer over the last 25 years, but I had some experience with Python a long time ago; I'm starting to get up-to-speed on Python 3, for another project.
    Wed welcome your contributions @pingouin!

    Its OK to be green on the language, the problems we have here are not super-hard to solve in any modern programming language, the challenges tend to be more in getting the solution just right, or in integrating with external APIs.

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    Sorry, didn't mean to dislike the post, can't seem to undo it.

    Anyway, there are basically two parts to the BAFS code - the part that does the synching with Strava and all of that, which hozn wrote and is totally incomprehensible but amazing, and the leaderboard screens, which anyone with basic Python/Flask/SQL/HTML skills should be able to create or update.

    Javascript, aside from JQuery, is bad and should be avoided at all costs.

    All of this to say you should be able to help out with a lot of the basics. Maybe you won't be able to help out with weather data (I've been working in Python on and off for 10 years and I can't figure that stuff out), but lots of the parts of the website that could use some help are much less complicated.
    I disliked your post to retaliate, JUST BECAUSE I CAN. I don’t really dislike it of course.

    I’m happy to have whatever help you can provide too @jreneaut. Your help last year was invaluable.

  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by secstate View Post
    I have the time. I’m trying to build the skills but am not sure if I have them yet — looking through the GitHub page, I can’t say I fully understand how all the pieces fit together. I volunteer, but only under the condition you think I’ll alleviate more headaches than I’ll cause.

    I have taken some online courses and done basic work in Python/Flask, SQL, HTML/CSS, and even a little JavaScript. All of these (well, maybe not the JavaScript quite yet) have been useful in my PhD research and I’d like to take them further. Working on the tech side of BAFS seems like potentially a good way to do this as well as to give back to this great competition. I have your e-mail and will send you a note.

    You are well positioned to be able to help, thank you!

  11. #8
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    Im interested in helping with the tech part of FS. Im a web developer but I dont know Python (I do ColdFusion/Oracle). I like the idea of a training meeting to get started. I wanted to help in the previous two years but was intimidated by facing the learning curve from a blind start. My ColdFusion career is coming to an end and Im eager to learn some new skills.

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  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by awitt View Post
    I’m interested in helping with the tech part of FS. I’m a web developer but I don’t know Python (I do ColdFusion/Oracle). I like the idea of a training meeting to get started. I wanted to help in the previous two years but was intimidated by facing the learning curve from a blind start. My ColdFusion career is coming to an end and I’m eager to learn some new skills.
    Thanks @awitt! Your help would be most welcome. I'm going to announce a series of open workshop dates here soon.

  14. #10
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    Default Poll for location of Freezing Saddles technology workshops?

    I'd like to organize a weekly Freezing Saddles workshop, held in a public place. I'm neutral about whether we stick to one central meeting place or whether we rotate locations. I'd like to get people's feedback on what would be convenient for them. I'm in South Arlington so the first 3 options are most convenient for me but I'm willing to travel to any of these if at least one person will commit to show up for the workshop. Please reply with the numbers of the locations you would be willing and able to attend.

    I would probably have a mixture of weekend and early evening sessions. I'd also be happy to visit a nearby restaurant or watering hole with participants after we work on the technology issues.

    1. Kogod Courtyard - Gallery Place, Washington DC
    2. Arlington Central Library - Ballston, Arlington VA
    3. Columbia Pike Library - Arlington Heights, Arlington VA
    4. Beatley Central Library - Cameron Station, Alexandria VA
    5. Herndon Library - Herndon, VA
    6. Rockville Memorial Library - Montgomery County, Rockville, MD
    7. Spauldings Branch Library - Prince Georges County, District Heights, MD

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