Google Summer of Code 2018 was an awesome ride in roller coaster that- almost regrettably- ended too soon for me. It was the fun learning experience I had that made it even more memorable. Giving me both the freedom to try new things and a steep learning curve and challenges that helped me to keep improving myself. A community that I genuinely loved to work for. Read ahead to get an inside peek on my 14 weeks of GSoC’ing and why you should be a part of it next year … One funny light-hearted read coming through.
Sugar Labs excelled all my expectations of how an open-source community would be like. The work I did during the course of the program would sure benefit the community. But more importantly, from day one, I felt to be working for something much bigger than myself. I think that’s important, I actually wrote that in my proposal. I am sure many of my fellow contributors and people reading contribute because somewhere sometime they feel that way. It’s a good feeling, isn’t it? It never fades away and stays with you. I think that’s my take from it. Let me know down below in the comments section
I liked the weekly meetings, I enjoyed having to go through 100+ emails through my forums category on Gmail. Meticulate reviews that Quozl left on my PR fixing activities. And the constant updates that I wrote on my tracker, my blog (Mixster – #GSoC2018) and to my mentors. And about 20 more things that I want to tell you about. But I say, why not experience them for yourself.
Sugar Labs is a great open-source organization doing ground-breaking work on the forefront of educating and uplifting the children from developing countries. They have a lot of work, bugs to fix and projects to start up on. They could really use the help. Your help. You will be glad that you did. Go ahead and contribute to Sugar Labs to make the world a better place, hit me up if you need any help on vipulgupta2048. For more details, check out their official website.
What I did in the 14 weeks?
The aim of my project was to fix metadata of programs called as activities that run on the Linux-based distros, Sugar and other related platforms maintained by Sugarlabs to facilitate the development and deployment of their new activity server, ASLOv3. Sugarlabs repository contains almost 161+ activities, hence I created automatic Python scripts to facilitate in the automatic maintenance of activity metadata and files to help other people in the community.
Extended work, also includes the deployment of their activity server, ASLOv3. That work will be done parallelly with my college studies and I intend to learn and make the most of the extended period.
Starting out in the community bonding period, I interacted with my mentors and rethought the project idea as I was re-tasked by Walter to work on ASLOv3. I got to know many people inside Sugar Labs and decided upon meeting time, channels and other finer details about Sugar Port.
As the weeks went by, I learned new technologies and skills, worked on many new methods that I only knew as theory. My mentors helped me along the way for me to focus and keep working towards the goals. I wrote blogs and a tracker to keep track of progress and spread whatever knowledge, I have learned. With the ever-growing skills, under my toolbelt. I was able to help and even contribute to other student projects along with mine regarding porting, documentation and bug tracking and fixing.
I worked hard irrespective of evaluations that went by. Never worrying too much about the end results, because I was sure that I was moving in the right direction. As I had my work regularly checked and reviewed by mentors to stay on the safe side. The coding period was great overall with Sugar Labs, majorly due to Quozl’s special guidance.
The road and how was it?
The 14 weeks were good and quite full, with the inclusion of my trip to Ladakh. My tracker has everything (quite literally, not even joking. I wrote a lot). Give Sugar Tracker a whirl.
I’d be lying if there weren’t any hiccups, hard difficulties, crushing deadlines, unresponsive unhelpful people, communication gaps, politics or other 100 bad things, people like to assume during the course of Google Summer of Code or other similar programs. I didn’t have that with Sugar Labs. The communications were completely open, we discussed over messages (IRC), emails (mailing list) and even if required- hangouts. The community was very supportive and cooperative in all the experiments that we wanted to conduct. We also had plans of having Sugar Labs participate in devsprints over at PyDelhi. People might imagine challenges and roadblocks on the road but I didn’t face any big ones due to the constant support provided by the community as a whole.
People might not believe this, but my mentors were connected with me through Whatsapp from day 1 and I posted updates of the meetings on the tracker to keep the community in the loop. I asked for help from my fellow contributors when I needed it and they felt easy enough to sometimes ask me. A very healthy work environment all around. We solved problems together and yes, not all days are rainbows and sunshine. But isn’t that normal? Isn’t that what makes us human.
Assessment of my own (Do try to understand)
The road was good and so was the territory. Well maintained and very active. With a lot of shops, and good people to help me in my journey. The terrain was a little unknown at first but I never actually felt that I left home. I worked hard, at a good pace and was at peace with myself. Along the way, I passed many evaluations on the good advice of my mentors, Abdul and Carlos. And helped other people attain theirs as well, which brings me joy. I wish to keep up on my journey, farewell good reader.
Commenting on thy Code
The first time I submitted my code for reviews on the mailing list. It was a massacre. I got comments and suggestions for almost every other line I wrote. But I would like for people here to know that they shouldn’t get disheartened by this nature. Rather take that in their stride. Be lucky that people in the community took out time to review your codebase and helped you directly or indirectly to fix your mistakes.
Subsequent code reviews became easier as I formatted code according to flake8 while strictly following no warning policies and PEP8. I am grateful for all my colleagues and mentors who read my code and helped me straighten it all out and making it better.
To read more about the code, refer README.md at SugarPort.
- Getting into Google Summer of Code is probably the hardest part of GSoC. When you get in, that’s when the ride begins.
- Never worry too much on technologies used of the organizations, refer to the previous blog for more information on that matter.
- Do your work, with dedication and pace yourself always. Never let your mind plateau over certain developments. Always try to rise above all else.
- When done with GSoC, doesn’t mean you are done with the organization. Stay and contribute a little more, help them do more. Apply for a mentor next time.
- I am coming back to it in 2019.