Star Contributor of the Month – Aleks Vidakovic

We are recognizing Aleks Vidakovic from Belgrade, Serbia as our newest Star Contributor! Aleks is one of our more seasoned community members who has had a major impact on the project through multiple generations of the code. Aleks first came to the community by way of Robert Jakech, helping build a brand new Mifos X UI for FINEM in Uganda. He then kicked off a major project with Gentera in Mexico. Apart from helping deliver a rock-solid customer experience for these institutions, Aleks has been an anchor in our community, both contributing and passing on the torch to new contributors. He’s been a sage and empathetic mentor for the past two Google Summer of Codes, first mentoring Sanyam Goel on Swagger integration and most recently Dingfan Zhou on the chatbot project. The patience and passion he puts into mentoring astounds me; it’s moving to see how dedicated individuals like Aleks are. Most recently, Aleks has also earned committership to Apache Fineract and is now finalizing the setup and configuration of the much-needed demo server for Fineract CN.

Join in giving congrats to Aleks who is one of the chillest guys around and would love to hear from you!

Aleks Vidakovic – Belgrade, Serbia

Brief Bio (in the words of Aleks):

Originally I’m from Germany (grew up near Munich). I spent the last 25 years working in diverse startups and other companies (first in Germany then just all over the place). At one point I got a bit frustrated with my day job and even thought of leaving software development altogether, but then got an offer to move to Portugal to help out a friend that founded a small telecommunications company there. Best decision ever, because when I left the company after 2 years I had no money, but a lot of time, Portugal’s excellent Internet infrastructure and weather to improve myself as a freelancer and use about every Java framework (and other languages) under the sun. I’m the owner of a small one-man-show company called “Monkeys in Town”.

Relevant Skills & O.S. Experience:  

My main development language is Java (since 1996; we got our hands on it at university with a very early version on HP UX…sigh). I added over the years a lot of languages and frameworks to my toolbox, whatever was necessary for the projects I did. I have always been a big fan of the Apache Foundation (since the start of HTTP Server and the old Jakarta project) and adopted and integrated early on tools like Maven, Ant, Turbine (no one remembers that one). My overall contributions to open source projects are still limited compared to others, but I contributed some code to Wakatime (essential time tracking tool for every freelancer, try it) and to OrientDB (you should have a look at it, interesting database). My first real open source contribution was to a project called “Keelframework” (now defunct) which tried to be kind of what Spring is today; I’ve added an ORM module based on Hibernate.

Aleks’ Impact:

Discovering Mifos:

A client (who became a friend, hi Robert) asked me a couple of years ago to help out with a heavily customized Mifos web UI and to add more functionality to the Mifos backend. He presented the changes in one of the weekly/monthly (?) Hangout meetings and I explained a bit what we’ve done.

Contributions Made to Date: 

I’ve participated twice as a mentor with GSoC (2017, 2018). I helped out with one of Mifos’ commercial projects with a Mexican bank. Currently I’m setting up a demo instance of Fineract CN on Apache’s infrastructure, a RocketChat server for the community and I plan to be more involved in coding.

Current Projects: 

The first one will be probably Dingfan’s (one of the GSOC interns) chatbot project (patches to include support for Viber and RocketChat), but I saw also that there is somewhere an involvement with the Stellar project, and I am very interested to get my hands on that too.

Impact on the Poor: 

Not enough yet; part of the plan why I moved to Serbia.

What’s Rewarding about Working on Mifos:

I really get a kick out of the fact that a diverse group like the Mifos community spread all over the planet puts a project together that has an actual impact in the real world… and I get to meet interesting people with impressive skills.

Top Piece of Advice for Others in the Mifos Community:

Get enough sleep… really!

Fun Facts about Aleks

Favorite Food: 

Burek with cheese and Bavarian Weisswurst (“white sausage”) with a Weissbier. (If you have a chance to visit the south of Germany, you have to try this :-D)

Favorite Open Source Project: 

Apache Camel; it’s my favorite Swiss-Army-Knife-framework; using it in all kinds of projects for the last 10 years

If Steve Could Travel to One Place in the World: 

Tierra del Fuego

Interesting fact/tidbit about yourself you’d like to share: 

I lived in more than 20 shared flats over the years (I’m only counting the ones where I stayed > 6 months) so I’m able to reduce all my belongings to the size of one backpack. 😀

Connect with Aleks

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/monkeysintown
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