Every month the OpenMRS community highlights one of its contributors in the OpenMRS so you have the chance to learn to learn more about the people involved in the project. This month, OpenMRS community manager Michael Downey introduces you to Lluis Martinez from Spain. More information about the Contributor of the Month program is available on the OpenMRS wiki. We’d love to hear what you think about it as well as your nominations of fellow contributors!
MD: Congratulations, Lluis, you’re our March 2013 contributor of the month! Although you’ve been involved quite a bit in the last few months, you’re fairly new to OpenMRS. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
LM: I’m originally from Tortosa, a small city in Northeast Spain, but I’ve been living in Barcelona since I started college. I studied computer science in the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) but didn’t graduate, as I started working in my final year — there was a huge demand of IT people at the time. I was hired a year ago as a full-time senior Java developer at T-Systems, after 7 years of outsourcing.
MD: It sounds like you’ve got quite a bit of development experience. What led you to OpenMRS, and inspired you to get involved in the project?
LM: Actually, I didn’t hear about OpenMRS anywhere specifically. I was looking for an open source project that used Spring because I was interested in learning it. So you might say that I found OpenMRS by chance. I liked the fact that was used in developing countries, because in the past I worked as IT volunteer for the NGO Intermón Oxfam. I downloaded the OpenMRS source code, browsed JIRA tickets, and joined the developers mailing list. It looked all very solid to me. The source code was good technically, which was a plus for me. I started right away by picking some interesting introductory tickets from JIRA and fixing issues.
MD: Well, we’re certainly glad you stumbled across our project! Do your contributions to OpenMRS relate to any other work that you do?
LM: I’m currently working on a web-based budgetary accounting solution that uses Struts and Hibernate, so it’s only somewhat related with OpenMRS. Back in the 1990s, I worked on a public health management application with a client-server architecture built in PowerBuilder (a great 4GL tool by the way!) but I didn’t get any functional knowledge because my task was to build the base classes. Besides that project, OpenMRS is the first medical-related project I’ve worked on.
MD: Other than those first intro tickets, what other kinds of work have you been doing with OpenMRS so far?
LM: I’ve been fixing some minor issues in the core OpenMRS software, and did some work in a development sprint focused on REST web services, where I fixed some unit tests and added the XML serialization feature. So far, being involved with OpenMRS has been great for several reasons. I discovered the marvels of Git. It’s complex, but incredibly easy to work with branches. Specifically, I’ve enjoyed GitHub and the code review process. It can be a bit of a challenge when you think you did a good job, and someone tells you that it’s not quite perfect, but the overall outcome is better so it’s a worthwhile process.
I would like to join any development related to artificial intelligence or compilers, for instance an expert system (I know that it exists already) or a DSL. I’m also interested in business intelligence, and I’m looking forward to working on a sprint that works with the open source Pentaho project.
MD: I know you’re still pretty new to the project, but do you have any tips or advice for other newcomers who are thinking about getting involved?
LM: I’d encourage everybody who wants to learn JEE technologies (or just improve skills!) while at the same time helping institutions who cannot afford expensive software packages to give it a try and contribute! It will definitely be worthwile.
MD: Thanks again Lluis, and congratulations. We’re very happy you found OpenMRS and hope you have enjoy many more years of contributing to the project!