Hack The Tower - 9th February 2013

Tower 42

On 9th February I took part in the February Hack The
organised by John Stevenson (@jr0cket). John
runs this event as a sort of one-day hackathon for the London Java, Scala,
Clojure & Salesforce developer communities and one of its compelling features
is the diverse mix of developers who attend.

I don’t think John advertised the event to the python community but even so
(with John’s approval) I decided to be awkward and turn up with a NAO robot,
planning to write continue work on my NAO wanderer
which aims to provide
NAO with the ability to explore a space, create a map and remember items of
interest. Currently the application is incredibly dumb and just allows NAO to
walk randomly around a space avoiding obstacles. One of my goals was to
explore collaborative application development on the NAO platform - since I
don’t believe that choreograph project files can be merged easily I decided to
move as much of the functionality out of choreograph and into plain python
code that could be worked on by other developers and unit tested. My hope was
that a few more experienced python developers could work on representing and
generating maps and this could be plugged into the existing code.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to complete the transition from pure
choreographe to choreographe+python before the event and managed to arrive at
the event with a broken project. This was made worse because I’d used github
as a lazy way to synchronise the code between my desktop machine and laptop
and so the github project was polluted too (facepalm). Also, the USB
thumbdrive I’d copied the NAO development environment (choreographe, Java &
python libs) and simulator appeared to have been corrupted and was unreadable.

Nevertheless a group of about five of us got together and managed to download
the dev environment and get started. Special thanks are due to Richard
Warburton (@RichardWarburto) for
improving on my initial design, writing unit tests, and improving my knowledge
of github and vim. The NAO wanderer github
is now in a usable state
(although unfortunately we didn’t reach this point during the meet up itself)
and at the next Hack The Tower (13th April) I hope to actually get started on
the mapping. The project’s issue tracker shows other items that are
currently on my to-do list

John Stevenson also published a writeup of the February event.

Hacking in progress

To hear about future Hack The Tower events, follow
@HackTheTower on twitter or if you’re
already a member of the London Java, Scala or Salesforce developer meetup.com
groups you should get notified.

You can sign up for the 13th April Hack The Tower meet up via the London Java
London Scala Community
or London Salesforce Developer