24. August 2017

Tales of GUADEC 2017 Part 6

Welcome to the sixth part in my GUADEC 2017 series. Here I’ll be writing about some of my activities since and share some final GUADEC thoughts. The previous parts can be accessed here. Props to you if you’ve read them all up to this point 😉.

It’s been a few weeks now since GUADEC, but it’s impact continues to be felt. I’ve experienced a lot of change since, but now that things have settled down, I’ve found some time to begin exploring.


I’ve shared my first patch to Epiphany on Bugzilla. It’s a trivial change, but investigating the issue enabled me to explore some of the code base, learn Gtk Inspector and familiarise myself once again with crafting a patch. It was an opinionated change, so it invited a healthy debate with a few GNOME designers. It seems I have more work to do 😉.

I’ve been making notes along the way too. There are features I would like to see in Gtk Inspector for example which I believe would make writing and testing GTK CSS a lot easier. I feel I can add a lot of value here, since as a web person I basically live in tools like this.

Games Hackfest

It’s still early days, but we’ve made contact with a friend who’s helping us to secure a university venue. One of the conditions will be to encourage staff and student involvement. This means that while the event will have a strong GNOME focus, we must do our best to facilitate everyone’s interests 👍.

We’ll soon be needing documentation that covers how to take games exported from a framework like Godot or Unity and integrate them nicely with GNOME. I’ll be researching these details soon, as I have experience with a few engines.


I need to learn GJS, Glade and a whole other bunch of GNOME app development tools quick! As such, I’ve started laying the groundwork for my new pet project: yet another Markdown editor!

The idea it is that I want to think in Markdown and be able to export documents in the formats that we all value: HTML, Mallard, MoinMoin, ePUB to name a few.

It’s mostly just an idea and sketches at this point, but I’m curious to know what you think?

Final GUADEC Thoughts

My advice to anybody attending GUADEC for the first time would be to do exactly what I was advised to do: offer your time, give talks about the things you’re super passionate about and make friends. Folks will get to know you, and in return you’ll feel a great sense of belonging and empowerment.

I want to thank so many of you. Too many to list really, but if you interacted with me in any way over the course of the conference or in the weeks since, then you know who you are. You all rock 🤘

Thanks everyone️. If I don’t catch you at the Hackfest or FOSDEM early next year, then I hope to see you again in Almería for GUADEC 2018.

12. August 2017

Tales of GUADEC 2017 Part 5

Welcome to the fifth part of my GUADEC 2017 series. If you’ve not seen the other posts, then I suggest you visit the archive.


The un-conference days would take place at The Shed. A venue which felt very much like a hackerspace and as such would be the perfect environment for us to get things done 🔨😋

I first spent time with the gjs team. There, I shared my experiences developing a quick game with the platform. It was valuable for them to hear my experiences as a front-end web developer working on GNOME apps for the first time. I expressed my desire for DevTools-like debugging, view inspection, making live style changes and so on. I was pleased to learn that much of this tooling already exists. I was also shown some environment variable tricks to enable particular GTK debugging features which I hadn’t yet discovered.

I was told a few times over the course of the conference that gjs was undervalued within the community, and I had a few ideas on how to improve that. I proposed that we form a kind-of “working group” around the technology. We would hold regular meetings, share minutes and communicate the value of the project with case studies and so on. The idea was well received.

The docs team were just next door, so I headed on over to begin learning the wiki. Once I created my account (thanks Patrick!) and received editing rights (thanks Shawn!), Kat kindly helped me create my own page and soon after we collaborated on the Games Hackfest.

Several of us then headed to Oishi-Q for what would be my favourite meal of the conference. I had a Chicken Katsu main with tea. おいしい! Thanks to Kat, Alexandre, Shawn and Petr for the experience. Given my love for Japanese culture, it felt like a parting gift of sorts - a fitting end to an absolutely stellar conference.

Once we returned, I made a few more tweaks to the wiki then said my goodbyes.

08. August 2017

Tales of GUADEC 2017 Part 4


The day would begin with breakfast kindly provided by Collabora. On the way there, Kat encouraged me to give a second open talk. Still feeling elated from events prior, I jumped at the opportunity. I decided I would give a talk about fast game development with Phaser and gjs.

Once I penned down the idea, I made my way to Philip Chimentos talk about the current state and future of gjs. He helped bring me up to date regarding the JavaScript features it currently supports and where it’s headed for GNOME 3.26. The slides and links within make for a great introduction for anyone curious.

I spent a good deal of time thereafter in the cubicles writing the slides, building the game and hanging out with folks. I had a number of interesting conversations along the way too.

Towards the end of the day I presented my efforts as a lightning talk. I gave a brief overview of Phaser and gjs, demoed the game and set the stage for a hackfest. I had a lot of fun delivering this talk, and it’s a moment I look forward to reliving when the video comes out.

Steve's hastily built game for GUADEC 2017
Clearly not a AAA endeavour, but it’s a start right?

Immediately after the lightning talks, the conference closing ceremony took place. It was announced that GUADEC 2018 would take place in sunny Almeria, Spain. You can bet I’ll be there!

The evening closed with an impactful city tour. I enjoyed soaking up Manchester’s history and present day culture. The city’s bee symbolism in particular resonated with me.

By the time we reached the Alan Turing Memorial, I was feeling a little subdued. GUADEC was coming to an end and I would soon be heading home.

David Tenant in Doctor Who

It wasn’t all over yet though. A great curry and an equally matched Connect-4 game would raise my spirits again. I would be attending the first of the unconference days in the morning, so there would still be more value to give.