Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Infinity 2k9 - No Limits

February was a very hectic month for me - Sun Tech Days, TransITion and at the end of the month came Infinity 2k9 - No Limits.

Infinity is the prestigious tech fest of my department - Computer Science and Engineering. This year we celebrated Infinity on 27th and 28th February 2009.

The preparations of Infinity started in the month of January and went on till the D-day.

The event was mainly organized by the final year students with complete support from us, the third year students. In the beginning, I was given the responsibility of preparing the brochure. I knew it was very important for the brochure to look attractive, as it would be used for publicity at the companies and our sponsors would encourage us only if they found us and our brochure interesting.

On obtaining the final copy of the brochure, it was sent to all the 4th years for audit. After making the necessary changes and implementing all the improvement opportunities, we gave the final copy for printing and distributed it among all the companies and institutions we knew.

We got monetary support from companies like Adobe, Cognizant and LIC. Companies like Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft supported us in terms of gifts and prizes for the attendees and winners. We approached 93.5 SFM and it readily agreed to become the media partner for Infinity.

A few other students took up the tasks of preparing the posters and took care of the publicity. A few of my seniors started working on the web-site and got a wonderful web-site up and running in a very little time. You can check it out at - http://infinity2k9.uceou.edu/

As a part of the web-site we put in a web-page dedicated to S.O.U.R.C.E. Visit it at - http://infinity2k9.uceou.edu/source.html

The site had a summary of all the events that were to be conducted at the venue on the D-day and also several online-events for the participants.

The online events organized included -

  • Online Coding
  • Treasure Hunt
  • Code Analysis

The on-spot events organized on 27th and 28th included -

  • Paper Presentations
  • Project Presentations
  • Bug Mate
  • PC Medico
  • Bizz Quiz
  • Code Facsmile
  • Quiz IT
  • Adobe Hunt

We also conducted a Linux workshop where several tricks of trade with respect to the UNIX Operating System were discussed. This created a lot of enthusiasm in the students and cultivated an interest towards Open Source Software.

Showing our gratitude towards the sponsorship of Sun Microsystems Inc. we wrote about Sun and OSUM in the souvenir which was distributed to about 300 students.

As a part of the event we also conducted a small Java Quiz on the first day, where we distributed the question papers at the registration desk. The question paper had a total of 10 questions - 7 on Java and 3 on Sun Microsystems Inc. The question paper also publicized OSUM, so that more students would take interest in it and become a part of it.

We designed a drop-down box for the Quiz and installed it at the registration desk so that all the interested students would drop in their Quiz sheets there. There were around 150-200 participants for the quiz and at the end of the day we distributed pens and key-chains to the top 20 lucky winners.

The technical events of the second day were followed by a cultural evening. As a part of the entertainment show we had several dance shows, all performed by students of my department. The event also had wonderful Guitar performances which were very well supported by the lead singers.

The cultural night ended with a rock band, The Engraved Strings, which performed very well with the Jazz and the Guitars but the singing could have been much better.

On the whole Infinity 2k9 was a great success and a big mile-stone in the history of Osmania University - Computer Science and Engineering Department.

Monday, March 02, 2009

TransITion 09 - Service Oriented Architecture

Recently me and my friend, Roopak Bhartee participated in a paper presentation competition organized by Cognizant Technology Solutions - TransITion 09 conducted on 22nd February 2009.

We presented a paper on Service Oriented Architecture which covered topics like JNI and Java Web Services. Our topic was Service Oriented Architecture - Bringing Versatility to Business.

We were selected from our college to represent Osmania University at the event.

Our college received about 10-15 entries from various departments out of which 2 were selected and sent to the next level selection committee at CTS. There were 2 teams from around 14 colleges of Hyderabad, making a total of 28 teams. Out of these 28 teams, 10 teams were shortlisted. On the final day these 10 teams presented their paper amidst a huge crowd, out of which 2 teams were declared the final winners.

Our presentation mainly focused on

  • How existing C/C++ functions can be leveraged in Java
  • How Java web-services can be leveraged to create further Java applications (J2SE, J2EE and J2ME) and how the same Java web-service can be used in a ASP.Net page or a C# client

The topics covered in the presentation include -

  • Philosophy of SOA
  • SOA - The Simplified Model
  • SOA - The Web Services Model
  • Composite services using SOA
  • Organizational approach to SOA
  • SOA Adapters

The demos included in the presentation are -

  • JNI Using Java and C/C++
  • Web Services using Java, NetBeans and GlassFish

We won the second prize at the competition and were awarded a 30 GB iPod each. (Yup, 30 GB :)) Besides this, our victory made it to the college news-paper and we received accolades from everybody.

Sun Tech Days 2009 - No Geeks Allowed

For everybody who thought that Sun Tech Days was a technology oriented workshop, the recreational events of Tech Days left them in awe.

The entertainment section of Tech Days was totally amazing.

Jazz Concert

Sun Tech Days 2009 started out with a marvelous performance by Sid, an 11 year old boy who blew our minds off with his spectacular performance on the Jazz. It was a great concert, and a wonderful beginning for the Technical conference.

Rock Concert

Following the technical sessions the first day, the crowd gathered at the main auditorium for a great entertainment evening.

It started off with the rock concert presented by 3 kids, each with his own instrument - Keyboard, Jazz and the Guitar. It was surprising to see such beautiful talent at their age.

Fashion Show & Dance Performances

The rock concert was followed by a fashion show performed by trained models. As most of the attendees were young developers and students, this was a surprise for them and most of them stood in admiration.

The attendees also enjoyed the dance performances a lot. The songs selected were wonderful and provided a great ending for the first day.

Singing Concert

After the technical sessions of the second day, there was a singing concert which bought in a lot of enthusiasm to the crowd.

The crowd was very much involved with the performer and there was no limit to their excitement. However it looked like the concert ended abruptly, probably because of the over-excitement of the audience.

Sun Tech Days 2009 - University Relations

As the campus ambassador of Osmania University, Sun Tech Days 2009 was a whole new experience.

All the campus ambassadors of India setup a stall named "University Relations" at Sun Tech Days 2009 to propagate OSUM. The first day I wasn’t aware of it, so couldn’t help the other CAs much. However when I came to know about it the second day, I decided to involve in it and do my part as a CA. We spoke to several students, explained them what the OSUM program is and what it has to offer the students.

There were several students who showed interest in the program and decided to join it. We also had an on-spot registration camp where we guided the students in joining OSUM. We also distributed prizes to the students in several competitions.

  • Every group created in those two days and having 25 members at the end of the second day won a prize
  • Hourly prizes for lucky students who registered at Sun Tech Days

We had around 200 registrations on the two days of Tech Days. But this was just the beginning of a chain reaction.

The most popular question asked at the stall was how to become a Sun Campus Ambassador. It was very pleasing to see students taking interest in Open Source and their willingness to participate in the CA program.

The third day (University Day), all the CAs of India had a meeting with Joe Hartley - Vice President (Global Government, Education & HealthCare). In the meeting we primarily focused on the progress of the CA program at our campuses. It was a pleasure meeting him in person.

The best part of Sun Tech Days was that I could meet a lot of CAs from various parts of the country. As I couldn’t attend the orientation programs held at Bangalore and Noida, this event gave me an opportunity to meet the other CAs and understand their work culture.

Sun Tech Days 2009 - Breath Taking Technology

There were several Sun technologies that were displayed and taught at Sun Tech Days 2009. New additions to the Sun technology arsenal like - Zembly, JavaFX and Java TV were showcased. Also a lot of new improvements on existing technologies like NetBeans, Solaris were projected.

The Sun Showcase, the Keynotes by James Gosling and Matt Thompson were in the main auditorium and were attended by several people. After the keynotes each day, the sessions were distributed into tracks like - Enterprise Computing, Client Technology, Tools and Best Practices, Hands-on Labs, etc.

The first day comprised of 7 tracks with an overall of 36 sessions. The second day comprised of 6 tracks with an overall of 31 sessions.

Sun Showcase

The first day showcased the latest breath-taking technologies of Sun, which included - MySQL, VirtualBox, JavaFX, Java TV and a few more.

  • The demo on MySQL was very interesting. It showed a great way to integrate MySQL to AJAX and how a web-page created with this combination can be viewed cross-platform using VirtualBox. The demo also covered a small showcase of how rollback can be used in MySQL
  • The demo of JavaFX was cool and raised a lot of eyebrows in the audience. In fact JavaFX looked like the show-stopper of Tech Days 2009. The demo covered a lot of great features of JavaFX which were beautifully presented
  • Finally, there came the Java TV, the integration of Java and set-top boxes. The demo was reasonable good and showed the future of Java in our leisure life

Keynote - James Gosling

On the first day, after the showcase we had a keynote by James Gosling, the father of Java. The keynote was very exciting as it showed in a lot of new technologies based on Java. It also gave a glimpse of the various products of Sun, like GlassFish and finally ended with a projection of Java in the near future.

Keynote - Matt Thompson

The second day started off with a keynote by Matt Thompson, which mainly covered the advent of Sun in the arena of Cloud computing. It mainly projected trends in cloud computing like Zembly - an online platform for building social applications and Project Kenai along with online virtualization. The virtual environment wasn’t only in terms of operating systems but also in terms of hardware virtualization too.

NetBeans 6.5 - What’s New and Cool

The NetBeans session was great; it gave us a good insight about NetBeans and introduced us to NetBeans 6.5 by a short and quick tour of its various features.

One of the best concepts introduced in NetBeans 6.5 was the variable class paths, which was explained well in the presentation. As a part of the session, several demos were shown, which included -

  • Compile on Save, which was shown using Hibernate + Servlets
  • Hibernate, which was demonstrated using Visual Java Server Faces + Hibernate + Java DB
  • Search Mechanisms
  • Database Manager
  • JSF connected to a database for CRUD with AJAX

DTrace - Bridging the observability gap for Java and scripting languages

The session on DTrace was very interesting. Especially as it started from the basics, we had a good opportunity to start fresh and learn from the session.

Some of the concepts covered in the session included

  • The philosophy of DTrace (Dynamic Tracing)
  • Performance vs. Probes
  • DVM providers and Hotspot providers
  • Java Statically Defined Tracing
  • Scripting Language support for DTrace - Python, PHP, JavaScript and Ruby
  • MySQL support for DTrace

JavaFX - The new platform for rich internet applications

This was one session which students should have attended. The main reason was that it was a pure introductory session and introduced many to the world of JavaFX.

The primary focus of the session was on features like -

  • JavaFX and the underlying structure and its attachment to Java2D and Swing
  • The basics of JavaFX like data types, variables and constants, access modifiers, sequences
  • Binding of variables in JavaFX
  • Animations - simple tweens and how timelines can be created and amended
  • Media Design Goals and the Java Media Components (JMC)

Building Social Applications using Zembly

Initially this presentation looked very boring, but as time progressed and the demo started, things started to look interesting. The demo primarily showed Zembly - an online platform to build applications for social networking sites. The best part of Zembly was the online editor for writing programs. It didn’t require anything to be installed on the system and stored the projects online.

This was a big step of Sun towards Cloud Computing.

Connecting the world with REST

This was one session which I attended without knowing anything about the topic. It seemed very foolish on my part to come to a totally alien topic. But to my surprise I did understand a little from the session.

Even though I haven’t tried anything on REST after coming back from Sun Tech Days, these were the topics covered at the presentation.

  • Representational State Transfer (REST)
  • Resources and how resources are transferred using GET and POST
  • Resource Oriented Architecture (ROA)

Swing - Best Practices

This was one of the best sessions which I went to, during Tech Days. This covered a lot of things which could make a Swing application more beautiful and interesting.

The main topics covered in the session were -

  • Look and Feel of Swing
  • The Nimbus Look and Feel
  • Accelerator Keys
  • Splash Screens
  • Undecorated Windows
  • Faking full screen
  • Tray Icons

Sun Tech Days 2009 - Overview

After spending a few months as the campus ambassador of Osmania University, there came the "Sun Tech Days 2009". This year, Sun Tech Days in India was held at HICC (Hyderabad International Convention Centre), Hyderabad on 18th, 19th and 20th February 2009.

Though Sun Tech Days was conducted at my home town, Hyderabad for the past two years, I didn’t get an opportunity to attend it till now. However this year I decided to attend it at any cost.

I knew that it would be pretty boring to attend Sun Tech Days all alone. So I informed all my friends that Sun Tech Days was coming and encouraged them to attend it. Besides this, I spread the word about Sun Tech Days to all the students of my department so that the interested students would make it there.

Having registered myself online, I arrived at the venue along with my friends. As a few of them didn’t register before, we spent a little time getting ourselves registered. After completing a few formalities we collected our badges and the welcome kits. We eagerly entered the huge auditorium of HICC and there started the exciting journey of Sun Tech Days 2009.

There was a lot of technical content that was covered during the three days of Sun Tech Days. An overview of all the sessions which I attended is followed as a separate blog-post.

Like most of the developers, I had a vision of Sun Tech Days as a platform for geeks to discuss the technical advancements of Sun technology. However this expectation was a complete washout, seeing the recreational events presented as a part of Tech Days. They were very exciting and rejuvenated the enthusiasm of the crowd present there.

The food at the event was delicious. But the food hall was a big mess. I felt that managing the huge crowd during the lunch and snacks time became a very difficult task for the coordinators. It could have been managed better, probably by providing packed food or something like that.

The best part of Sun Tech Days was that every attendee was awarded with mementos - the first day we were given a travel bag and the second day we were given a Swiss knife.

I also got an opportunity to meet a lot of Campus Ambassadors from various colleges of the country. We set up a stall at Tech Days to publicize OSUM and I believe we did a pretty good job at it.

On a whole, I had a great time at Sun Tech Days 2009 and am eagerly waiting for Sun Tech Days 2010.