Author Archives: istvan

DevOps Gamification Workshop at JTEL Summer School

At early July 2015, the 11th Joint European Summer School on Technology Enhanced Learning took place on the island of Ischia in Italy. The summer school was attended by PhD students in Technology Enhanced Learning mainly from Europe. Learning Layers was represented by multiple participants and several workshops. One of the workshops was about Gamification for DevOps, hold by RWTH Aachen members.

DevOps Gamification teams

Both DevOps and Gamification are hot topics currently. The term DevOps became very popular in recent years to describe an improvement in the collaboration structure between developers and operators, leading to increased communication and better coordination when evolving and rolling out new versions of software. DevOpsUse is a logical continuation of this paradigm and stands for the involvement of users in the loop. Gamification on the other hand is a paradigm that brings in concepts known from games into real-world use cases. A famous example is Foursquare’s app called Swarm that allows checking in to places such as cafés and shops. Swarm users are rewarded with badges and virtual mayorships.

Motivated by real-life strategies in the Layers project, we started by presenting the DevOpsUse life cycle model that we developed for embedding innovative end users in the software development process. Requirements Bazaar is a Web based application developed at RWTH that adresses the needs of DevOpsUse communities. It allows developers and end users to talk about new ideas and bugs. The software was developed earlier in the ROLE project and then underwent a redevelopment within the Layers project to account for the project’s focus on mobile frontends and generally, faster development cycles. After presenting Requirements Bazaar in the workshop, we introduced the participants to the basics of gamification.

DevOps Gamification group

In the last part of the workshop, participants formed three groups to discuss and then present possible gamification elements for the Requirements Bazaar. The workshop itself was gamified, letting users spend virtual money to vote for their favorite gamifications. The teams’ solutions turned out to be very creative; the team “Game Overs” raised $32 for their idea of introducing badges for users. Also, users should get points for likes, requirements and comments. A profile page should then show an overview of the achievements. The second ranked group’s “Mediterraneans” idea raised $19 for introducing badges for achievements like being online every day. Certain challenges could further motivate users to participate in the race to get more points and badges. The third group, “M.E.D” finally raised $16 for the idea of game money that could be earned when entering requirements that are later realized. Additionally, the virtual currency could be used to underline the need for the realization of certain ideas.

After the workshop, the ideas developed in the workshop have been analyzed and entered into the Requirements Bazaar as new requirements.

Learning Layers represented by two talks at the FOSDEM 2015 open source conference in Brussels

Over the last weekend of January, the Learning Layers project contributed two Lightning Talks to FOSDEM 2015, one of the biggest open source conferences worldwide. The talks gave an overview of two of our open source projects, the Requirements Bazaar and the Yjs framework for real-time group editing on the Web. Both talks were attended by around 250 people in the room and several more on the live stream.

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) is an annual two day conference held in Brussels that attracts around 5000 open source developers yearly. Various open source projects like Mozilla, KDE, OpenStack, Gnome, Jenkins, etc. are represented at FOSDEM by over 500 talks and various booths.

Requirements Bazaar is a continuous innovation platform developed by RWTH Aachen University that plays a big role in the co-design process of the Learning Layers project for eliciting various requirements for the Layers apps. We presented the idea behind the platform which enables end users to enter, vote and comment on requirements. Moreover, via the Requirements Bazaar developers may discuss with end users and decide together to implement certain features or solve particular issues. In particular, we presented the new version of the platform that is directly targeting feature requests by partners of the Layers consortium.

Petru Nicolaescu and Kevin Jahns presenting the Yjs library at FOSDEM 2015 in Brussels

The second talk introduced Yjs, a framework developed by RWTH Aachen University for real-time peer-to-peer group editing on the Web. Driven by its modular approach, Yjs allows to easily attach collaborative features to existing Web sites with a few lines of code. The framework automatically solves editing conflicts occurring in near real-time collaboration on arbitrary data types and can be used with multiple communication protocols. After the talk, various developers asked us about further details of usage and integration possibilities with other open source projects.

Besides disseminating our software and frameworks, we actively visited various booths at FOSDEM to discuss with representatives of projects such as OpenStack, Xen and ownCloud that back our Layers infrastructural offerings through the Tethys cloud.

First Layers Developer Camp

From September 30 to October 4, 2013, Layers developers will gather in Aachen at RWTH Aachen University for the first Learning Layers Developer Camp.


To foster the Open Source idea behind the project, students are able to participate on two dedicated workshop days (Tuesday and Wednesday). Hands-on tutorials will be given on state-of-the-art technologie by partners. Then, the students may prove evidence of their development skills by forming little teams and developing small mobile, Web and cloud apps based on Layers technologies.

Social events like visiting the world-famous thermal bath and historic center of Aachen will help establishing a Layers development community and complete the week.