Firefox OS/Arduino Workshop Fabriano – I was there

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On 26 September in Fabriano at the Multimedia Public Library took place the event Workshop Firefox OS / Arduino throughout the afternoon.

A few links to local sites that spoke of the event to promote it (italian):

I went to this event with Gabriele, another volunteer, who helped me during the workshop but first let’s talk of the organization of the event organizers or the PDP Free Software User Group.

The days before the event have prepared 4 Arduino with aREST and printed in several 3D logos Firefox and tried all the material I had already made to minimize problems during the workshop.

The event, such as age and computer skills has been very varied, by the children to the parents themselves to move to students both high school and university.

We can say that is the first time in an event in which I was the speaker to have seen such a wide participation at the level of age.

At the same time also varied in knowledge of programming or electronics, from those who had never seen JavaScript to those who had problems with Arduino or who was a web programmer.

The talk was:

Participation has been about fifty people, the interesting fact was that the booking of free tickets has reached the number of 50 but subscribers will have come was half. The rest of the people is added without the ticket and the number was the same (50)!

The location also has proven to be perfect for this type of events in fact organizers run just a makerspace that place along with an internal network with a server that has allowed us to share files such as Firefox Developer Edition and the various versions of the Firefox OS simulator for various operating systems.

Also as I said there was this participation varied but also people who have made 5 hours driving just to come to this event to demonstrate that we must to do more!

The questions received were about Firefox OS and the most interesting was: what are the actual advantages compared to solutions such as Android.

This question is often asked so I take this opportunity to answer here:

Firefox OS with the adaptive research, its interface, its cost proves very intuitive as well as lightweight and also accessible the same time reliable. For developers is a new way of working, not talking about Cordova/PhoneGap in these space, as well as much fun as the concept of Open Web Apps that make the app be installed on multiple systems.

The workshop instead had only one goal, that’s what you can see in the video (in Italian but is a demo):

Simply put through a very simple interface with three buttons turn on and off the LEDs. Two buttons allow to switch off and switch on LEDs available on the device while the third notification regarding the status of the same through a system notification.

The application being, Open Web App can be installed as a native application on your computer, Firefox OS and Android using Firefox for Android.

In addition to demonstrating working on my computer so that I had installed the app on two smartphones with Firefox OS and Firefox OS tablet prototype over to my Android phone. Participants then were able to try on different devices, as well as children who were perhaps the most affected by the fact that the devices were connected via WiFi.

Many then have ventured to install the app on the simulator on their computer while others were trying to access the web browser or other systems and see that the application work the same. At one point on the table there was an iPad, a tablet with Windows Phone as well as other laptops.

There were therefore no question at this stage on the Arduino but many instead on the Web, and Firefox OS because a part of the public had no technical knowledge and is impressed and probably will attend the weekly meetings in that makerspace.

I talk of the JanOS fork of Firefox OS designed for IoT and the ability to mount it on Raspberry.

The boys of makerspace had made available to participants 4 Arduino Uno with the WiFi module that were not compatible with my app and now I explain you why.

My Arduino Yun contains the Ethernet module and WiFi so I made a sketch dedicated (which I updated in the event because after someone has had problems) that was not compatible with the Arduino Uno. Then through another program compatible for Arduino Uno called aREST it was possible to have the Arduino working.

The problem was that aREST needs two calls twice REST to enable the pin in output mode and one to change the value. My sketch instead having been created ad hoc only has the ability to set the value of the pin.

Furthermore, the organizers have made a cake with the logos of Firefox and Arduino together with a small snack for participants.

The event has succeeded very well also because the various business cards that I distributed to volunteer for those who wanted more information later and talking with Gabriele am considering replicating this event in our high school where today is used Arduino in teaching.

So while you are reading this report, perhaps we are already organizing the event in Rieti! If we do we will be the first event held in a high school for our community and that could lead both students and teachers to make school projects on Firefox OS and JavaScript (which is not taught).

Thanks to this first event we have seen where we can improve this program.

The night we went to dinner together (we were 13) and we could keep talking and I end the voice. The fact that I have finished the voice shows that I could talk a lot and is a good sign.

I conclude, as I write the report, there are already the first fork of the application for example!

PS: Probably Gabriele return to Fabriano for the Italian Linux Day to talk about the development tools of Firefox.

Reference page for the material used during the workshop:

Photo album:

The event was filmed and then in a few weeks the talk will also see them.

Small video to thank that contains the arrival of the cake!

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