iRail Summer of Code: Quite Possibly Certainly The Best Thing Of 2012

iRail Summer of code was a 3 week programme that took place in the Belgian cities of Ghent and Hasselt during the summer of 2012. The goal: provide 25 students the training, network and support necessary to transform 6 open innovation projects into powerful real-world services.


In order to get a great impression of the iRail summer of Code, make sure to check out the blog posts by the participants.

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Code9000: Take A Look Inside

Our goal is to develop a mobile app that has something to do with the city of Ghent to provide a better experience for any kind of people, which can vary from tourists to residents and employees. We have the freedom to come up with our own concepts. In order to get inspiration, we had the opportunity to talk with a lot of civil servants from different departments of the city this week. It was very inspiring and we already came up with a lot of ideas.


Since open data is becoming more and more popular we can start developing our own creative applications using that data. FlatTurtle does exactly that. It is a system that has a special turtle for each type of data. There is a turtle that likes train data, there is one that likes airplane data and there is a turtle that likes twitter. Combine all of these turtles together and you get a nice visualisation of that data.


“Imagine you’re walking in the street and you meet the eyes of a beautiful girl/handsome guy but you don’t make the move to talk to her/him because you don’t really know how to introduce yourself without being considered as an idiot. Have you already experienced this frustrating feeling? Of course, yes. Well with Firstsight, it is only a few clicks away. Get your mobile phone out of your pocket, open Firstsight app, create your “flash” in 10 seconds and take your chance to find back that person. Your flash will record your localization, the time and the mutual descriptions and will then be analyzed by our algorithm. If this person did the same, you’ll get a “matching” which, once confirmed from both sides, will give you the possibility to re-meet. All this for free and totally anonymously so that you don’t lose anything by creating a flash; neither your money, neither your ego.”


This is a proof of concept base approach to an SMS ticketing platform and/or application. The main goal is to provide a platform where mobile payment services are offered. The platform should ease the process of acquiring such SMS tickets. Examples of such tickets are those provided by De Lijn, NMBS or 4411 parking tickets. In general there are two thought processes; buying via one’s mobile phone or buying for a phone from a computer at distance.

Buying from one’s mobile phone (BfP): When people buy SMS tickets they do this mostly because they lacked the time to buy a ‘real’ ticket in advance or just don’t have the time anymore to buy one. Maybe the ‘ticketeer’ is short in cash but he decides to use the money on his phone instead, again probably just in time before he needs the ticket. Therefore the main priority is speed and usability. Mostly no extra data is necessary to acquire such a ticket. A one-click-does-it-all approach should be envisioned.

Buying for a phone from a computer (BfC): The purpose is somewhat different when< buying an SMS-ticket from your computer which is to be sent to your phone. This will mostly be used when planning your trip beforehand. The ‘ticketeer’ would be able to avoid the hassle of buying a ‘real’ ticket.

iRail 3.0

“iRail 3.0 is an ambitious project to update the existing iRail application. It’s a stable application used daily by more than 5000 users. Our goal is to bring the app to the next level. Beyond today’s basic application, we work to offer integration with Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Vikingspots.

To do this, we’re working on making an identity manager for iRail, which will be the behind-the-scenes app that links you to these services. You’ll be able to use any of these services to let people know what you’re doing, where you’re going and how late your train is going to be. And if you have to wait for your train to arrive, you’ll be able to look up interesting spots near your location.

To do this, we’re implementing our own authentication server in PHP, building on the Oauth2 specification. Oauth2 is currently still a draft (version 28 at the time of writing) and finding existing implementations is proving to be very hard. Most are outdated or incomplete.”


At Apps for Ghent, the team “The Missing H” with their app Circadia won the chance to finish this app during #iSoc12. However, meanwhile they realized that the idea is not enough of an added value so they started searching for another idea. They found this idea when talking to the Code9000 team, who had some ideas to spare. In the end they decided to make the app for Kot@Gent!


The project I’m working on is a feasibility study for a faceted browser, using semantic web technologies. At this moment, Ontoforce already has conducted some preliminary studies. They have studied a multitude of possible architectures and existing examples of faceted browsers. Multimedia Lab is researching the possible architectures and looking for the perfect combination of speed and features.

A faceted browser allows the user to browse or search content by applying multiple filters. As opposed to a taxonomic order, where everything is ordered in a tree structure, the ordering can be arbitrary. An example of this is Aquabrowser, the system used for the catalogue of the library of Ghent.

While Multimedia Lab is researching the back end of the application, I’m researching the front end. I’m working bottom-up and they are working top-down, in order to meet each other in the middle.




Yes, this year we are doing another #oSoc event! Click on the button on your left to find out more about the 2014 edition of open Summer of Code.

Want to see what was going on during the iRail Summer of Code 2011? Visit the website by clicking the link on your left.

Any questions about the 2012 edition of iRail Summer of Code? Feel free to contact us by using the contact us button to your left.