Feb 15, 2013

GDG Singapore Meetups Review for 2012

In this post we summarise our Meetups in 2012. Please click on the Meetup titles for more information.

GDG Singapore kicked off the year with our first meetup on Feb 4 2012. The theme of the meetup is Google App Engine and was organised as a tutorial. We had two speakers.

Krishnan (GDG Singapore co-founder) introduced the salient features of Google App Engine (Python Runtime). This was followed by the second speaker Mani who shared his experiences of single-handedly building a web application for the education domain from the perspective of technology and business considerations. 41 people registered for the event and 30 people turned up.

In the moth of February, GDG Singapore participated in the global Android DevCamp from 17-19 February. In preparation for the event, GDG Singapore decided to hold additional hands-on meetup to familiarise the potential participants with some of the relevant technologies. The tutorials were conducted by GDG Singapore organisers (Bharathi and Louis). Our speaker from earlier meetup Mani also shared further useful examples from his experiences. This meetup was organised on Feb 11 2012. 62 people registered for the event and 25 people turned up.

The DevCamp attracted more than 15 teams, comprising of students as well as professionals, who came and coded for the entire weekend. While some teams didn't manage to complete the projects in time, others demonstrated quite presentable applications. Overall a good learning experience for everyone involved! This event was co-organised with Code Android Singapore.

GDG Singapore conducted Android workshop as part of GIT360 (Girls in Technology - Singapore). The workshop was conducted by Bharathi, a member of GDG Singapore organisers team. From the above URL (search for May 26 2012), you can see that the response was amazing and it was a full house. We estimated that more than 80 people came to the event.

In June GDG Singapore hosted Alex Martelli from Google HQ at the new Google APAC HQ. Alex, who was in Singapore to attend PyCon, had graciously accepted GDG Singapore invitation to give a talk. The topic was on the esoteric topic of "Abstraction", and was followed by active discussions. 38 people registered for the talk and 34 people turned up. The videos can be seen here.

Our next meetup was organised with Metaps & GSC Singapore and focused on methods to engage users to applications. There were nearly 70 people in the audience.

In June 2012, GDG Singapore established a partnership with IEEE Computer Society Singapore Chapter to organise meetups that are interesting to members of both societies. Our first meetup in this series is a session on Google App Engine. The speaker for this session is Krishnan (GDG Singapore co-founder) who summarised the state-of-art of Google App Engine. A total of 66 people registered through GDG Singapore and 51 people turned up.

On Sep 5 2012, GDG Singapore organised a special session "ICT is Everywhere" for Singapore Ministry of Education teachers. This is the third year that GDG Singapore is participating in this MOE Informatics seminar. The objective of this seminar is to convince the teachers to adopt certain ICT technologies in teaching. Through our efforts we have convinced the teaching of Python programming language in Singapore schools and next we are targeting Google App Engine to be adopted in the curriculum. A total of 120 teachers attended the event, and around 20 teachers attended this session.

2012.9 Android showcase @ Ideas Inc Finals

GDG Singapore participated in Ideas Inc finals on Sep 22 2012 and facilitated the showcase of Android applications that local students had created. There were several hundred people who came to the events and close to 200 hundred people stopped by our booth.

On Oct 5 2012, GDG Singapore organised our first BIG data session. We had two speakers for this event, one from Berlin and one from India. Interestingly, both the speakers are organisers of GDG in their respective cities as well. This event was again supported by IEEE Computer Society Singapore chapter. 120 people registered for the event and ~50 people turned up (including walk-ins).

On Nov 17 2012, GDG Singapore organised a special bootcamp for participants of inaugural Startup Weekend Singapore Women or SWSW in short. SWSW happened the following weekend Nov 23 - 25. In this bootcamp, we educated the participants on App Engine, Android, Amazon Web Services, and BIG data. There were a total of 20 people in this hands-on workshop.

On Dec 12 2012, GDG Singapore organised a half-day hands-on workshop on App Engine for the delegates of IEEE ICON 2012 conference. The speaker was Krishnan (GDG Singapore co-founder) who shared with the participants the intricate details of App Engine and also showed a live app, demonstrating the scalability of the App Engine platform. There were an estimated 20 people for this workshop.

On Dec 26 2012, Google Singapore organised a tech talk where a Google front-end engineer Carolynn Au from Google HQ shared with the audience details on what it takes to change a UI for Google products. GDG Singapore supported the event by publicising it through our member channels. An estimated 50 people turned up for the event.


Overall, this year was a very successful year for GDG Singapore. Our target was to do 12 meetups in the calendar year and we achieved it. We organised a total of 13 meetups. Kudos to all the organisers, speakers, partners for making this happen.

We have some observations though. It can be seen that there has been a relatively strong flavour of Google App Engine in quite a few meetups organised by GDG Singapore in 2012, intermixed with other Google technologies. This partly reflected our (the GDG Singapore founding team) interests and strengths, and partly due to how we viewed the role App Engine's potential role as a backbone for cloud/web applications. On average there 30-40 participants took part at each meetup, with a mix of students, professionals, entrepreneurs and middle managers. GDG Singapore also actively undertook the strategy of organising joint events with local developer groups or professional organisations in order to optimise the limited resources at our disposal.

What will be improved in future meetups:

Although we did reach our target of 12 meetups for the calendar year 2012, they are not evenly spread out. In some months we have several meetups while in some months we didn't have a single meetup. We plan to address this in 2013 by adopting a monthly meetup model (M3).

PlugFest International Programming Competition (IPC):

Towards the end of 2012, preparations were in full swing for PlugFest IPC. PlugFest IPC is a three month long programming competition and is scheduled to run and complete in the first quarter of 2013. Inspired by "The Voice" singing competition, the competition aims to train the participants on current technologies and mentor them along the way as well. In this inaugural year, our focus is on cloud and mobile technologies.

The preparation the PlugFest IPC began much earlier though - End April 2012 to be precise. We pitched the idea of a coding contest that will stretch for 3 months to Google Singapore and IDA (the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore). IDA's mission is to develop a vibrant infocomm ecosystem where MNCs and innovative foreign companies work alongside local enterprises and start-ups. This competition will consist two categories - Open (primarily targeted at working professionals) and students from IHL (Institutes of Higher Learning). More details will be provided in review for 2013 or at the conclusion of the event.

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