Saturday, June 13, 2015

Firefox OS App Development "Summer of Code" Begins

I love my Firefox OS phone!

Despite being an IT teacher, I'm often not an early adopter of new technologies, for several reasons:
  • I'm not a gadget person, and I'm not interested in technology for technology's sake.
  • I'm repulsed by consumerism, and completely turned off by technologies that view me as a consumer rather than a human being.
  • My interest in technology has from the beginning been rooted in the role it can play in social justice, broadening access to information and communication and expanding the possibilities for participatory democracy. I thus won't adopt new technologies that are proprietary consumer items. I am perfectly willing to wait for versions that emerge in the land of freedom in which I wish to dwell.
I did get a mobile phone for a brief period several years back, but I didn't like it and the bill the first month was way too high, so I got rid of it and haven't had one since.

I have a phone now running Firefox OS, and it is just what I want in a phone:
  • It is simple and easy to operate.
  • It let's me do the things that are important to me: make phone calls, send text messages, look at my calendar, look up contacts, listen to music, listen to FM radio, take pictures, find my location and get directions, with a clean, attractive interface that is a pleasure to use.
  • It lets me access its file system from my Ubuntu desktop machine through a USB connection, making it easy for me to add and remove music and other data.
  • It treats me like a human being, not a consumer -- it offers me useful tools and resources without constantly try to sell me stuff!
I love my Firefox OS phone so much that I am commissioning one of my best and brightest former students, Alex Hirschberg, for a local "Summer of Code" type internship writing Firefox OS apps between now and August.

The first app he will be writing we are calling LibriFox.  It is an audio book player for Librivox audio books. Since I don't have a car and either take the bus, walk, or sometimes bike to work, I like to listen to audio books as I travel.  This app will provide me with hours and hours of pleasure, and point me in the direction of listening to some of the large collection of classic literature available on the LibriVox site.

I want to experiement during Alex's internship with the Extreme Programming processes to manage goals and maintain code quality. We'll specifically focus on user stories, iteration planning, unit tests, and refactoring.  Alex has already been schooled in the last two practices by his programming mentor.  This Summer will give him experience working with an on-site customer (me).

Alex will be posting his code to his github repo. As soon as he sets it up for me, I'll begin using the issues tracker for user stories.

Since we are planning a six week process with weekly iterations, I intend to make a new post after each iteration meeting to document how we do.


  1. I really like the features of this OS Application. Many web application development services make similar app but this one is best.

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