OpenMRS: Write Code & Save Lives. Creating a better place for everyone.

interview, #OMRS2020, internships, openmrs, open-source, winner

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In the previous parts we talked about how Łukasz has achieved the dev2 level and what he discovered during his work in OpenMRS. If you haven’t read yet the previous parts I advise you to do it, because they’re so good:

For each repository (on the GitHub) there are also other tools such as Travis CI, CoverAlls or Codacy. Did you have a chance to use them?

No, I had no chance to use other tools; unfortunately, time is here crucial. Work, school. Very little time is left.

If you had the opportunity to do so, would you also like to deal with other tools and create tasks for “rookies” based on them? 

I think there is plenty of scopes to do here. The code coverage is approximately 60% for openmrs-core, it may be lower for other modules, so there is room for improvement. And the tests do not have to be complicated, after all, they’re unit tests, you can come up with something simple here.

And this will also allow them to learn about the OpenMRS structure.

So, it’s certainly a safe and good option for newcomers who are just starting out, so that they do not get scared and yet benefit from their contribution.

Well-defined tickets won’t scare newcomers. A good description of “what?, “where?” and “how?” will prevent this. At least I think so. The idea is to let new people write something right away without the need to go through piles of documentation and the code for the whole project. There will still be time for that.

Did you choose openmrs-core as a starting point by chance or you had viewed each project before?

At first, I thought that openmrs-core was OpenMRS. It was only over time that I realized that it is just one of the elements. The most important, but one of many.

I have an idea. Do you think that adding a mandatory point to each of the tickets requiring to use the tools and obtain a certain result, such as code coverage above a certain percentage, would work and, over time, become a daily routine of everyone?

The idea isn’t a bad one, but it requires a lot of commitment from the person who’ll undertake this task. It’ll be difficult to create such a universal procedure because each person will face different problems when joining the project and everyone will have to be supported at each level. 

In addition, maintaining such a project at every stage causes that the tickets will run out, so it will be necessary to make additional ones. And this will also take a lot of time.

In that case, is there a solution for the poor quality of the code, occurring mistakes and frequent technological debts resulting from not using such tools?

I think you overestimate my knowledge and skills. The obvious answer to this question is “to start using them”, but I don’t want to be seen here as someone who knows everything best. I think there are smarter people than me, who know better how to solve this problem. You should ask them. 

Looking back, when did the prize stop playing the most important role and became a side issue? You said at the beginning that it was the prize that made you apply for our program.

It was exactly when I found out how valuable OpenMRS is to the community using it. I mean not just the dozen or so programmers, but thousands of doctors, nurses and patients. Entire hospitals in some countries are operating thanks to such initiatives. Sometimes it is even a pity that you can’t afford to make a greater contribution to this project.

Did you feel like you were doing more than just coding, that you were making an additional contribution to a great project changing the lives of many people around the world?

The “yes” answer will probably not be satisfactory, but it best reflects how things are.

Talking more privately, how important is it to you to help others? Was this also one of the reasons for joining the program or it was completely unimportant then?

Then? Three months ago? It was a programming project like any other. Some program, some database, Java, Spring and a chance to win the prize if you manage to add a few lines of code. It was only over time that I understood what OpenMRS really is, that it is not just a program, a bigger notepad or a calculator. That it is something more, something that is even hard to describe in words.

This will probably be my last question. Would you like to add anything, any advice or suggestion for the whole community or beginners? You are part of it and you also have an input into how it will look in the future.

First of all, I would like to thank you for your forbearance and help I received at the beginning of my adventure, not just Daniel, as many people give a helping hand when it’s needed. As far as advice or suggestions are concerned, I’d like them not to give up, to continuously work on the project, to fix and improve it as a community, my advice for beginners is not to be afraid of the huge amount of documentation; someone will surely show you the right place if you ask for it.

I am really very glad that you took part in our project and contributed so much into the community. Thank you once again and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your Master’s degree thesis 🙂

That will be the end of our interview. It was such an honour to talk with Łukasz about his success. I didn’t expect that it is such a big and heartwarming story. I appreciate he decided to took part in our Internship and I’ll hope we will him next year in #OMRS maybe in a different role than this year.

If you want to join OpenMRS or get to know with the community and see their work go to this site for code and here if you prefer to talk with them at first.

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