Zuzanna Pajorska

How to Contribute to Open-Source and Become a Hero? Interview with Hazelcast Hero Tomasz Gawęda

How to become a hero? Contribute to building open-source software! See how developers in Stratoflow do it and get inspired.

We had a chance to have a quick conversation with Tomasz Gawęda about his contribution to the Hazelcast community. We hope that his story will be an inspiration for those who want to participate in building open-source software but don’t know how and where to start.

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What is Hazelcast?

Hazelcast is a streaming and memory-first application platform for fast, stateful, data-intensive workloads on-premises, at the edge or as a fully managed cloud service. It’s known as a developer of in-memory data grid (IMDB) technology, a RAM-loving layer for speeding up operational applications.

programming open-source

How to become a Hazelcast hero?

Hazelcast has built a community of people who contribute to the Hazelcast ecosystem.

The platform is a software released under an open-source license. This is why anyone who is interested in improving the system is more than welcome to join the community and create new features, bug fixes, documentation improvement, etc.

As we can read on the website of Hazelcast Heroes, the participation is not limited to coding. You can be part of building the community with many different activities, such as starting a meetup group, creating issues or features requests, creating content, helping fellow users, among others.

Stratoflow has a Hazelcast Hero on board!

By the end of 2020 Hazelcast has announced a new hero. Tomasz Gawęda, senior designer and software developer in Stratoflow, has contributed to the Hazelcast community by having five of his Pull Requests merged.

We asked Tomasz a couple of questions about his after-hours engagement.

Interview with Tomasz Gawęda

How did your adventure with Hazelcast begin?

It started with a project at work. Even before changing my employer to Codedose (today Stratoflow), I was interested in large-scale data processing (Big Data).

The conversation with the new employer prompted me to check a different approach to this problem than the standard Hadoop tool, i.e. In-Memory Data Gridy. Over time, the framework used was changed and after a series of various and long tests (performance, memory consumption, etc.), we chose Hazelcast.

How are you currently participating in building the Hazecast community? What is your contribution to this open-source software?

Sometimes we manage to add a PR (pull request, change proposal) or issue, when we notice something that could be improved. From conversations with the Hazelcast crew (I recommend their Slack – really cool people!). I know that it is also helpful for them to know how their library is used in practice, what problems we had, what we liked, which cool solution we suggest as worth implementing. Of course, I can’t talk about everything (and I definitely can’t be too detailed), but even this feedback is important to them. I used to add a lot of replies to Stackoverflow regarding Apache Spark (I’ve been in the Top 20 for a while), but because of time constrains I cannot continue this activity.

How did you become a Hazelcast Hero? And what does that mean to you?

As I mentioned, after a series of tests, we started using Hazelcast in one of our solutions. And you know, no product is perfect, sometimes there were places where we saw an option to improve something. For bugs that strongly affected the project, we got approval to work on Hazelcast fixes during work (to speed up the implementation of these fixes). With time, I also made less important changes after hours, as some kind of a challenge – will I be able to meet the standards and rules assigned to the project, or will I cope with the challenge of coding in a library, where every millisecond of execution counts.

Honestly – I was very surprised when I got the information about the new program and that I met the criteria. I wasn’t counting on titles or interviews (;)), after all, it’s just programming, nothing unusual – what’s more, I was learning from the team!

It is definitely a great honor for me. I keep wondering why I got it because I didn’t do anything special – but it’s nice that even a small contribution get a recognition. It may not affect my day-to-day work, but the congratulations from the team and friends were super pleasant. 🙂

Are you planning to participate in similar projects in the future? Do you recommend such pro bono engagement to other developers?

In fact, sometimes I already contribute. 🙂 The principle is the same – when I see that something can be improved and that I am able (or I think I am able to), I report PR. So far, it has not been much, because there is not so much time after work, but I definitely recommend others to try their hand at Open-source projects.

It’s fun to see different approaches to writing code, different perspectives, requirements.It’s great when you can devote your time for it at work, but even if not, you can try your hand at home once in a while, instead of the next episode of the series on Netflix. 😉

What is your favorite programming area? What do you do on a daily basis?

Generally speaking, I deal with data processing on a daily basis. This is also my favorite area of programming. There is no question of highly repetitive tasks and individual processes – despite the general similarity – may have different catches that should be taken into consideration.

I am also responsible for monitoring the system performance, in case I notice that our performance tests show worse results, I intervene and try to find the cause (with a lot of support from Wojtek 🙂).

What technologies do you most often use in your projects?

It is quite a “typical” Java developer kit – specifically Java, Spring Framework.

The rest depends on the project – once in the project I had the opportunity to learn rule management systems in the form of JBoss Drools (which later came in handy in my thesis), for ad hoc analyzes in college I often used Apache Spark and Zeppelin, now it is mainly Hazelcast IMDG and Hazelcast Jet. I give preference to: Java libraries (because I like this ecosystem) and open source libraries with a friendly team (in case of problems, you can count on help, not wait months for the corporation to take into account the reported problem).

We love contributing!

If you ever wondered how to contribute to Open-source we hope that Tomasz’s experience will be encouraging for you. One of our core values in Stratoflow is collaboration – we love contributing to interesting projects and share our stories as Tomasz did. Curious about our other projects? Check how Stratoflow supports NGO Otwarte Klatki in their digital transformation.

If you want to be part of a team full of passionate developers who build modern, high-performance software, check our current job offers!

Building a new application or extending your development team?

🚀 We're here to assist you in accelerating and scaling your business. Send us your inquiry, and we'll schedule a free estimation call.

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