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Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

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Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby stuart » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:12 am

Hi Folks,

Normally in mid-November a group of FlightGear enthusiasts participate in FSWeekend at Lelystad Airport in the Netherlands. Over the years this has been a focal point for both finishing existing development/releases and a catalyst for new ideas in FlightGear, as well as an opportunity for FG enthusiasts to share a beer.

This year, FSWeekend has been cancelled. I'd like to keep the spirit of it alive by holding a Virtual FSWeekend Hackathon on the weekend of 14/15 November.

For those who haven't participated in a hackathon before, the broad idea is to get people from a wide variety of experience and backgrounds together to solve problems over a short period of time - typically 24 or 48 hours. Details vary, but typically at the start of the event, people pitch ideas and groups form organically based on what people are interested in. The groups then work together intensively, often fuelled by pizza and caffeine etc. At the end of the hackathon the groups present their work and there are often prizes for the best hacks.

The idea of the virtual FSWeekend hackathon would be to encourage existing and new contributors to collaborate over the course of the weekend to create new and exciting features for FlightGear in the broadest sense. James and I would particularly like to use it as an opportunity to encourage people to get their hands dirty in the core code, but anything is possible :)

No prior development experience is necessary - we will try to run some education sessions ahead of the weekend so people can hit the ground running. Also, don't feel you have to commit to coding the entire weekend to the exclusion of all else. I think participants will still get real value if they can just commit to one day and some late evenings.

At this stage I'd like to gauge interest in taking part.

There's going to be a bit of organization required as well. So if you're interested in helping out with logistics like organizing discord servers etc. please let me know!

For further details see here: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Virtual_FSWe ... athon_2020

-Stuart
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby Hooray » Wed Sep 30, 2020 4:43 pm

stuart wrote in Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:12 am: James and I would particularly like to use it as an opportunity to encourage people to get their hands dirty in the core code, but anything is possible [...]
No prior development experience is necessary - we will try to run some education sessions ahead of the weekend so people can hit the ground running.


FWIW, the wiki has materials to walk people through getting/patching and building fgfs from source (via git) using a few different IDEs, materials that could be easily brought up to date.

Off the top of my head, there's also pretty accessible newcomer-style materials to walk people through the creation of new hard-coded fgcommands, telnet commands, Nasal extension functions (via cppbind and without) and custom Canvas elements, i.e. all C++ (these are often several years old, so no modern C++).

I think, the creation/registration of new subsystems is also covered in a standalone tutorial.

Depending on what people have in mind/or what they'd like to do, these materials could be updated/refined or stripped down - even though a single weekend, probably doesn't provide enough room for newcomers to implement stuff that's more sophisticated than such self-contained additions ?
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby wlbragg » Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:21 pm

If I can work out the time differences and it is at all possible on that weekend, I would love to attend. There is a good possibility though that another prior commitment may be in progress on those dates. But if not I would really like to participate.
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby stuart » Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:31 pm

@Hooray - Building/refreshing that material ahead of the weekend would be valuable as preparation, and provide some long-term benefit as well. We're not aiming to get completely finished features out of the hackathon - rather explore new ideas and have proof-of-concepts that can be developed over the next while. My hope would be that by the end of the weekend a newcomer would have learned a bit about the codebases and have some confidence that they can make changes and develop their projects.

@wlbragg - it would be great to have you along. I'm hoping that there will be enough participants and varied schedules that we have overlap across all timezones. I myself will probably aim to participate until midnight UTC on both days, for example.

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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby Hooray » Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:42 pm

it might be a good idea to identify some of the more useful materials, and maybe encourage people to get involved in proof-reading/updating such articles or creating supporting artwork (screen shots and drawings/diagrams). For starters, maybe even just "marking" such articles or putting them into a corresponding "hackaton" category might suffice ?

Once that's finished, we could also reach out to some of our youtube folks to create tutorials based on some of the more valuable documentation. These days, such videos can often be machine-translated automatically - that way, we could cover a handful of basics (IDE setup, getting the sources, configuration, building, patching) - as long as that's based on something really simple like a "hello-world" style fgcommand, the work to create such a resource would not be that difficult

Ideally, IDE software would be cross-platform, so that most info can be applied "as is", without having to deal with platform/OS differences.

That's the kind of logistics and preparations that would probably even be useful for a long time - regardless of this particular hackathon
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby stuart » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:22 pm

I've created a wiki page here: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Virtual_FSWe ... athon_2020

@Hooray: Great minds think alike :). James is planning to do a youtube video going through creating a build environment from scratch along the lines you suggest.
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby legoboyvdlp » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:47 pm

This is an awesome idea - won't be around that weekend, or would have joined otherwise - hopefully it might recurr over the next few years? :)
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby Hooray » Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:36 pm

Such a youtube intro/course could go a really long way, without being specific to this particular effort.

The only other thing that I can think of to get people going even faster would be a bootable live CD with a preconfigured environment or a corresponding docker image.
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby legoboyvdlp » Sun Oct 04, 2020 11:00 pm

If anyone needs specific support in setting up Windows build environment feel free to contact me. It's reasonably simple (when scripted) albeit takes a fair bit of time.

fg-from-scratch I also highly recommend for getting started quickly. It more or less runs the entire thing, once you download and install Qt, Visual Studio, and CMake.
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby tdammers » Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:18 am

Just a heads-up: November 14th is also the day of Cross The Pond, the largest event in the Vatsim community.
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby Hooray » Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:48 pm

legoboyvdlp wrote in Sun Oct 04, 2020 11:00 pm:If anyone needs specific support in setting up Windows build environment feel free to contact me. It's reasonably simple (when scripted) albeit takes a fair bit of time.


Another potential solution to get people up and running would be providing them with accounts on the build server, since many modern IDEs have an option for "remote builds" - that way, people could invoke the compiler remotely, without having to through the hassle of installing everything locally (then again, a VM image or docker contain would probably provide more bang for the buck).

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Howto:Build_ ... evelopment
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby stuart » Thu Oct 08, 2020 6:39 pm

Hi Folks,

I've just added some more detail of the format for the weekend to the wiki page: wiki.flightgear.org/Virtual_FSWeekend_Hackathon_2020

Thanks to Hooray for help with the formatting and categorization.

There is still time to sign up. We have 11 participants already, and no prior development experience is required.

It's also time to start thinking up ideas for the hackathon itself. If you are a participant, you can add ideas by creating new pages on the wiki and setting the correct Category. See http://wiki.flightgear.org/Category:Hac ... 2020_Ideas for details and a list of the current ideas we've collected.

if you're not a participant, you are welcome to comment on the ideas on the Discussion page, but please do not add ideas yourself - you won't be there to execute them :).

As I said, there's still time to sign up as a participant for what should be a fun weekend.

-Stuart
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby CaptB » Sat Oct 10, 2020 10:48 am

I would be an interesting experience to participate, but I feel I would be redundant just being basically a 3D/2D asset guy. So far I worked with Michael in an advisory/testing role on ATC-Pie. Was supposed to get my feet wet with nasal and the B763 but that was pushed away to work on the A320 3D model so I can't say I have any significant nasal experience to contribute. Done stuff in C and C++ but that was I think well over 20 years ago. These days it's just occasional small python, bash, LUA and GDScript stuff.

Let me know if you think there's any place for me.
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby Hooray » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:32 pm

As has been said, while the focus is indeed on core development, you don't need to know C/C++ and you also also don't need to have a working build environment to participate - there are options to contribute via Nasal coding, with a plethora of opportunities. And actually, someone who's previously written code in C++ or JavaScript could easily be brought up to speed with Nasal and/Canvas.

To name just one example, over the years, Stuart has been toying with the idea of creating a more appealing front-end for his checklist system:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/index.php?ti ... checklists
Image

Depending on your background/interests (and motivation!), you could use QML or Nasal/Canvas to create such a front-end - for instance, one option would be adapting the existing checklist code from the FG1000 to work in a standalone fashion:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Hackathon_Pr ... Checklists
Image

To see if that's your thing, it would make sense to tinker with the built-in "Nasal Console": http://wiki.flightgear.org/Nasal_Console

There are many Nasal snippets that could be adapted and reused for something like this, see: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Canvas_Snippets
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Re: Virtual FSWeekend 14/15 November

Postby stuart » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:42 am

@CaptB - I would positively encourage you to take part :). The aim of the weekend is for people to learn new things, so in many ways you're the ideal participant - someone with some general programming experience who could use this as an opportunity to get their hands dirty in the internals of FG. If you would like to, please drop me a PM with your contact details.
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