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Pulling the Strings—DevSprint by PyData Manipal

On 2nd February 2020, PyData Manipal hosted its second edition of the project development event, DevSprint . A DevSprint, short for Development Sprints, is a day of intensive learning and development of an open-source project of the participants’ choice, taking place in a team environment. The event took place in NLH 303 which was jam-packed with almost a hundred and twenty people. It lasted for almost 7 hours and was divided into two sessions with a lunch break in between.

To start off the proceedings, the President of PyData Manipal⁠—Rohit Sanjay, a 3rd year ECE student gave a brief introduction to the event, starting with why and how we can contribute to open source. In what was an excellent talk, he commenced the first session by giving an introduction to git and GitHub. He then went on to explain why git was such a powerful tool and introduced the attendees to some basic commands. Following that, the participants went on to perform a task in which they had to apply whatever they had learned from the talk, which was followed by another talk on advanced git, concluding the first session.

After the lunch break, the organisers helped the attendees install the software which was required to help contribute to GitHub projects. Pradyun Gedam, the maintainer of pip (python package installer) gave a brief talk for about ten minutes via Google hangouts. He spoke about how his experience as the maintainer of pip, and gave some valuable tips as well. Once it concluded, Rohit continued into another session in which he spoke about the Google Summer of Code (GSoC), informing that competing in GSoC added a lot of value into one’s CV. Isham Mahajan, a 3rd-year student at MIT who got into the competition last year, then took the stage and shared his experiences, explaining how he managed to cross the hurdles to get in and also explained the perks of the contest.

The highlight of the DevSprint was the final two hours, wherein the participants went about looking for an organisation to contribute to and solve issues in their codes and documentation. This gave them a hands-on experience in helping the open-source community, and at the end of the day, as many as thirty-four of them were successful in raising a pull request.

“Learning git and GitHub is the major hurdle for most students in contributing to open source. It was for me as well, about a year ago. I want more students to become comfortable with git. Most changes required in these open source projects are trivial, but to get to the point where you can actually make the change is the hardest part. We had many more attendees than expected. It went really well, especially since most people continued into the second session”, said Rohit. The event received many positive comments. “The event was great. The explanation, especially by the President of PyData and the maintainer of pip was better than expected. However as a beginner, I felt the latter half of the event was hard to follow.”, remarked Santoshivan, one of the attendees.

Eleven of the pull requests got accepted by reputed organisations, which included ones like pandas, pip and tensorflow. T-shirts sponsored by PyData’s sponsors, were distributed to these eleven participants and to three more who produced excellent results. Stickers were distributed to everyone as well, thus concluding a productive day of developing open-source projects.

Image Credits: Akshat Joshipura