It’s 8am on Sunday, the 6th of November 2016. GDG Devfest being a global event,the Sri Lanka Season  just started at ICBT Auditorium, Bambalapitiya.

This year, the event themed with Fast | Efficient | Secure | Tidy development of Android and Cloud Applications,GDG DevFest 2016  started off with nearly 100 participants for the Codelab sessions.The registration continued till 8.30am.


The first Codelab session,’Analytics for Firebase’ was conducted by Albert Padin (GDE for Cloud) started at 8.30am.He shared his knowledge on analytics using Firebase and user retention together with a very interactive hands-on session.”Today’s Codelab is a hunger game.Only few survive at last”, he told, emphasizing the importance of fighting with the code till you get the best output.Students were privileged to clarify their doubts during the hands-on session from the Google expert.

Its 10.30 am, the next and final Codelabs session was conducted by Keshan Sodimana,Country Engineering Consultant at Google and Pasindu De Silva , Open Source Developer at Google on “Building your own TTS voice”. The intention of the session was to understand basics of Thrax, How to use it write text norm grammar rules and finally creating such TTS in your own. The participants eagerly gave their effort to reach this outcome and finally they were given opportunity to discuss and inquire on any explanations.


Its 12.15pm, the most awaited moment of the day, registrations for the GDG DevFest 2016 Conference commenced. Nearly 500 participants are expected for the conference. The atmosphere is filled with the excitement of the enthusiastic crowd.

DevFest 2016 conference has finally come into stage, the ultimate annual event for the young tech community in Sri Lanka powered by GDG. Hope is to feel and unravel the unknown thus be updated about the latest.


Keynote was conducted by Tharaka Devinda giving a brief introduction about the upcoming technologies to be demonstrated by the guest speakers while acknowledging the audience about the theme of DevFest 2016, “FEST”. Then Keshan Sodimana joined in by mentioning  the  products and technologies introduced so far by Google developers.


The first session of the GDG DevFest 2016 was delivered by Hasitha Liyanage from Cake Labs on the topic ‘Keys to Application Performance’. He spoke about application performance emphasizing the two facts; latency and throughput. The session was based on “Premature optimization is the root of all evil”. Furthermore, he told the young developers to think beyond about application performance from the requirements gathering phase of a development process. The gathering was taken through the real stories based on his developing experiences to give them real world examples.


The session that followed then was about “Innovative thinking” by Prashanthan Balakrishnan, Country Consultant, Google where his statement, “Internet and Digital is not new” was highlighted giving an introduction to his session.There he elaborated certain views such as world is not just digitalizing but mobilizing as well, digital commerce is accelerating at a higher rate and that big data usage has been leveraged while providing an insight of the related innovations.




“How to hack user experience and be truly effective”,another session of the day started at 2.20pm by Harshadewa Ariyasinghe of Cambio Healthcare Systems.He pointed out that the main issue with current developers which is the lack of user exp
erience.According to the Harshadewa, there is a process to build an application efficiently.The three key aspects of his presentation; Understand the user, Brainstorm and Experiment, paves the way to the best user experience.



In the next session participants were acknowledged how to develop scalable applications using Google app engine by Albert Padin  while giving a practical live experience. He was able to grab the fullest attention of the audience by sharing his life stories and giving a glimpse of his experience throughout the pathway to his current position in the development world.





“Kanchayudha” is an upcoming game developed by a group of tech enthusiast developers in Sri Lanka. The game is composed with many characters aligning to the Sri Lankan heritage. Chamira Prasad Jayasinghe from Arimac Lanka explained details on Kanchayudha. He emphasized on uplifting the Sri Lankan talent in interactive media to compete with the international standards. The objects and concepts used in game development were also included in his session. He wound up the session saying, “Just because you don’t like normal software development, you will not like game development because it includes basics from development, madsc_0141ths and physics.”


The snack break sure did surprise the participants. There was a range of evening snacks with deserts representing all android versions. There were cup
cakes, donuts, eclairs, froyos, gingerbreads, honeycombs, jelly beans, kit kats, lollipops, marshmallows and nougats were all in the alphabetical order just like the android versions.




At the time of 4 pm, Shafraz Rahim,Developer Relations and Platform Evangelist at Dialog Axiata PLC was the next presenter who explained about “I see you do” ideamart avenue which is a service that allows one to have all required applications to be operated from one place, while inviting in for a future hackathon Game of Codes 2016,opening up opportunities for young developers which is to take place in the near future.



Mobile application security in data transferring and storing session was carried out by Chamika Weerasinghe of Bhasha Lanka starting from 4.20pm. He gave the initiation for the session by pointing out the three factors Security,Development Cost and Usability which are important for developing applications. He gave the insight about encryption,decryption,hashing,encoding and decoding to the audience.



dsc_0124Next at 4.55pm was again the TTS session. As there was one in the morning in the codelabs session, now Mr. Keshan and Mr. Pasindu did an outlining session explaining the basic theoretical concepts of TTS. They explained in details about the theoretical aspects of the text to speech pipeline. It included crucial steps such as language processing linguistic processing, training text to speech synthesizers. Under language processing, topics of segmenting and tokenizing texts, compiling lexicons were explored. The resulting graphenes, or tokens from the language processing stage should be turned into phonemes which maps them to an internationally accepted pronounceable form. This was the focus of study in the subsequent linguistic processing step. Together these two steps were identified as the fronT-end of the TTS system.


Mr. Pasindu was then on the stage to continue the session into the backend of the pipeline. The objective of this stage is to map the phonemes resulting from the linguistic processing into  actual waveforms which compses speech. Two types of methods in achieving this end was discussed namely unit based synthesis and parametric modelling. Unit based synthesis involves a large corpus of phonemes to voice data gathered from talented vocalists in pristine dsc_0150recording environments. Algorithms are then used in assigning costs to various combinations of theses vocal units in synthesizing the optimal speech to a given phoneme. Usually the effort and costs demanded by this method is higher than the parametric model.  Under parametric models Hidden Markov Chains and Neural Networks are used to generate voice models based on parameters like F0 and Cepstral Coefficients. A comprehensive comparison between these two methods were carried out.


Thisara Udayantha,dsc_0009-2 Associate Software Architect at Pearson demonstrated how code quality can be taken for a supreme level via illustrating a model of clean code that speaks about Virtue,Value system,Degrees,principles and practice while explaining 4 concepts; Evolvability,Correctness,Production efficiency and Continuous improvement.



The last session of the GDG DevFest 2016 was done by Mohamed Rushdi Hadhi from SL2College.He spoke about the which provides users the relevant courses that match for the subjects the person enters into the,the website that shows the relevant paths when his/her enters A/L subjects,was also introduced by him. This was kind of an educational session at all.



Vote of thanks was delivered by Michela Thalagala thanking Google, organizers and the enthusiastic volunteers who were the pillars for this spectacular event.

Eventually the time has come to the end of  DevFest 2016, the magical event of  by Developers for Developers. Fingers crossed for DevFest 2017!