MOBILE WEB APP DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP

The Mozilla Uganda Community continued to inspire many through its’ amazing work of teaching the open web. As 2015 closed down, their latest adventure saw them visit one of the prominent institutions of higher education in the country’s capital.

Ndejje University welcomed a team of 6 mozillians in their premises to conduct a one-day workshop whose main objective was to introduce and train students open web technologies which would later on see them develop and implement ideas for the open web.

The workshop was organized to give talks, demonstrate Firefox OS technology (Mobile Operating System), run code tutorials and hack around open web applications.

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As a group of over 40 participants’ seated in a computer lab looked on, the                introductory phase psyched up the audience with a talk on the mobile operating system owned and developed by Mozilla called Firefox OS. During this phase, the students interacted with the Session Lead as they asked a lot about the uniqueness of the OS and why it stood out in comparison to the existing OS’s in the market i.e. Android, IOS and so on.

Apparently, the Mozillians had carried Flame devices which run the Firefox Operating System, they passed them around and each of the participants got a chance to check out the devices and explore the slik Firefox OS skin and its running apps.

It was then, that a live demo of a firefox OS app (SaveNotes) was presented, key functionality of the app was highlighted, the apps’ code base was later distributed to give an insight of what entails an open web application.

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The hands on session as many technology experts would call it took center stage, the necessary development and testing tools were installed on the machines and every one geared in for the next challenge. The development and testing environment included Notepad ++ (A text editor for writing code), Latest Mozilla Firefox browser and the Firefox simulator (for testing the apps). As the Session Lead wrote lines of code reflected on the projector, the participants followed suit on their machines. They began with a simple HTML file, designed it with CSS and later added logic using Java script.

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With the help and guidance of the facilitators’, every student managed to at least design a web page, Nevertheless majority were able to create a validated form that would register a students’ Name, Number and email address. We then went for a 30 minute lunch break to grab some snacks, drinks and cool off the heads subsequently.

The afternoon got more exciting for the students as they were getting ready to test their apps in the Firefox OS simulator on their machines, but before that, they needed to create a manifest file, a file which the Session Lead deemed so important, he said it’s the file that tells the OS what the app is all about.  The facilitators’ ran around the lab helping the various teams come up with this file. Soon as they were done with it, they ran the apps in the simulator.

Next up on the agenda, was brainstorming ideas and thereafter implement them. Participants were served sticky notes on which they wrote their ideas which were later categorized into Health, Education, Business, Entertainment and Utilities.
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In great appreciation, the participants applauded the visiting Mozilla team for the time they took off to conduct the workshop, and were indeed not just impressed but they were challenged to explore the open web for it was the first encounter with the technologies for many. In return the Mozillians thanked them for attending and departed happy and proud for having accomplished the job they had for

 

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