Fractal Hackfest 2018

The last couple of days I was in Strasbourg for the Fractal Hackfest. We made some fundamental decisions for the future of Fractal, our Matrix client.  We also decided on some basic architectural changes we want to make.

You probably already read about the split of Fractal into two separate apps, to cover two different use cases: Barbecue and Banquet. Barbecue will mostly cover “one to one” chats and Banquet high-traffic group chats and IRC-like rooms. We are certain that the split is the right direction for Fractal, but we didn’t define the exact split between the apps.

Before we can start working on the two different apps we need to refactor the code. Currently Fractal is structured in two parts: fractal-api and fractal-gtk. The first one is a library which handles all the communication with Matrix. The other part contains all logic and UI. The first big task will be to nicely separate the logic from the UI, so that the code can be shared between the apps and have just few different UI elements, to better fit each use case. We talked about a lot of things and Daniel and Tobias have written some really good posts to sum up the event, therefore I won’t go into every detail in this post.

This picture is from a lunch break. We got our food from different restaurants and ate all together. This was my first hackfest, and I had a lot of fun, I definitely loved the city and made new friends.

Emoji Picker

During the train ride to Strasbourg I did some hacking. I worked on a patch for the gtk emoji chooser, which on many systems looks quite broken:

After my changes the popover will look like this:

I already opened a merge request to GTK. We are still discussing a few things but I hope it will be merged soon.

Spell check

I also worked on the integration of spell check into Fractal. I will use gspell, an integration for spellcheck for GTK applications, also used by Gedit. The first step was to create gspell Rust bindings, but I will write a different post on that and how to create Rust bindings with GIR. For now, here’s a basic demonstration of the working gspell-rs bindings:

Not just coding

I didn’t only code and work on Fractal, but I also a got to do a little bit of sightseeing. The last day (Monday) was completely different than the previous days, since everybody had to leave and we hadn’t planned any thing for it. I visited the cathedral, from inside and I also climbed the top to see the panorama of Strasbourg. For lunch we, the remaining people, ate at a local restaurant. On the menu was limitless Flamenkuchen, with close to 1 liter of beer for each of us. 

Google Summer of Code

Many people already know I got accepted as a student to GSoC. It was really nice to meet my mentor, Daniel and also Eisha, the other student working on Fractal. Now I can connect the Matrix ID to a real person, which makes interaction with them much easier online. I guess this Hackfest was a really nice conclusion for the community bonding period and a good start for GSoC.

The time in Strasbourg was limited therefore we didn’t have much time to define all of the tasks for the summer.  But I will be starting to work on the User Account Settings for this week. Also the spell checking is one of my proposed GSoC tasks, so I’m already ahead of my planned schedule. I definitely won’t have trouble finding more tasks though 🙂

Thank You!

Thanks to the GNOME Foundation and Purism for making it possible for me to attend this hackfest. GNOME sponsored my trip to and from Strasbourg, and Purism paid for my accomodation (I shared a room with Tobias). The location was awesome, and the city was perfect for a hackfest, I am so glad I have been there. I would also like to thank everyone who organized and helped make the event happen. I think it was a big success and this is one of the reasons I love the GNOME community so much.

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