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Public Lab Wiki documentation



Summer of Code programs

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Public Lab has received support for fellows to work on Public Lab software projects via several "Summer of Code" style programs including Google's Summer of Code program -- 2021 is our eighth great year of open-source coding with GSoC! In 2017 and 2018 we also joined the Rails Girls Summer of Code program, and in 2018 we participated in Outreachy.

This is a key way that we are able to develop our collaborative platform (this website) as well as other Public Lab coding projects.

We especially welcome contributions from people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software!

How to apply

Want to get involved? As a first step, we ask everyone to complete a “first-timers-only” issue, which you can find on our Welcome page at https://code.publiclab.org.

While it’s helpful to have some experience with the Git version tracking system, we have guides to help you go through this process, and will be there to help you get your code posted. Almost all of our code is in Ruby on Rails and JavaScript, so basic familiarity with these systems is a plus. We have a chatroom at https://publiclab.org/chat where you can get help pretty much any time.


Project ideas

We kick off each season with a big brainstorm of ideas. You can find this year's discussion here: https://github.com/publiclab/plots2/issues/7360

Our Summer of Code Ideas Page will list the final brainstormed ideas that come out of this process.


Call for proposals

We have not yet opened our call for proposals, but you can read last year's here, to get ready! Feel free to ask questions there as well until the 2020 call is posted. Thanks!

You can see past years' calls for proposals lists here: https://publiclab.org/tag/call-for-proposals

The call for proposals asks people to post their proposals using this template: https://publiclab.org/gsoc-application-template

We encourage people to leave comments, encouragement, tips, and questions on each others' proposals in a community fashion, and to be friendly and welcoming to one another!


How we work

Over recent years, we’ve steadily refined a workflow that helps new contributors get plugged into our community and code with a warm welcome, and aims to support building skills incrementally and cooperatively. We’re always looking for ways to improve, and welcome feedback!

Once you are comfortable with our workflow by completing a first-timers-only issue (see above) we’d like to ask that you compile your project steps into a planning issue, which you can learn about here. You can see examples here: https://github.com/publiclab/plots2/labels/planning

At this point, we recommend you begin going through the task list, creating a pull request like a mini-project for each task. Each one will ideally have tests, and we can help you develop these.

As you progress, we encourage contributors to grow as leaders by reviewing others’ pull requests, helping troubleshoot, and also taking small parts of your project to post as “first-timers-issues” for someone else. You can read more about these steps at https://publiclab.org/software-outreach and https://github.com/publiclab/plots2/labels/support.

Your code will be reviewed, supported and troubleshooted (troubleshot?) and potentially published to our live site as often as once a week, and you’ll be able to see it running and get feedback from people about it to inform your work.

Towards the end of your project, we’ll encourage you to take remaining pieces you’d like to see followed-up on in the future, and describe them with enough information for others to take up and complete. This could be in the form of “first-timers-only” issues, or “break-me-up” issues that list out steps that can be adapted into small stand-alone tasks.

What makes a good project

Hi all, at Public Lab, @emash and @warren brainstormed on this a bit, and we felt that a good project:

  • can be broken into smaller parts that can be merged into our main branch on at least a weekly basis
  • could be completed as a "small" initial version (MVP) that is later expanded on or refined
  • has an integrated recruitment plan, i.e. the student has plans to recruit others into the project and designs the project for this
  • has background/context/historic info readily available to inform the work
  • is generally self contained - all the code in one place (or clear integration guidelines provided)
  • contributes to our software roadmap - (stability, maintainability, low technical debt, legible: https://publiclab.org/notes/warren/05-22-2019/draft-of-a-public-lab-software-roadmap-comments-welcome)
  • solves priority issues for Public Lab's broader community
  • provides a feeling of accomplishment!
  • helps students build skills/portfolio
  • is a "cool new thing" (but not all the projects we NEED done fulfill this...!)
  • has a good plan for integration/publication to the live production environment, and schedules time for this

Evaluations

We've posted various guidance on how we do evaluations in our Summer of Code programs. Here is a short collection of suggestions and info!

Using Milestones and Planning issues

You have been selected for the Summer of Code Program, congratulations!

The first thing you should think about in your first week is breaking down your projects into small chunks. Use this link as a resource on how to break down the tasks needed for your project https://publiclab.org/notes/warren/01-18-2018/software-outreach-modularity-is-great-for-collaboration

Once you have broken down your tasks, the next thing to do is create an issue to list all the tasks needed for your project. You could use a format similar to these issues:

Using the checklists and creating an issue for each task before the implementation period helps the mentors know what is expected and they can also help you break down or modify the tasks.

Please also note that the tasks do get updated, modified, or added throughout the project, you need to be flexible and adaptable to that.

Also, we encourage you to create a milestone that will track the progress of your completed task.

Once a task is completed and marked as done on the issue checklist, or an issue /PR has been closed or merged add it to the milestone.

Have a look at this link to learn more about milestones:

https://docs.github.com/en/github/managing-your-work-on-github/tracking-the-progress-of-your-work-with-milestones/about-milestones

You are always welcome to reach out and ask any questions


Questions

Ask a question  or help answer future questions on this topic

Activities

Add an activity  or request an activity guide you don't see listed

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.


Mentoring

What does it mean to be a mentor?

Mentors check in with a student at least once per week roughly from May-August, and offer some project management guidance and encouragement... while relying on the plots-dev list and the @publiclab/reviewers group on GitHub to provide code-specific input, so that we share the burden of specific technical support.

This means that to be a mentor you don't necessarily need to know how to code -- we need mentors who know Public Lab's community and practices well, and who can encourage students to speak up when they get stuck, and to ask the community for input and testing of their work. Students often get stuck when they don't know how something should look, or how a feature might be used by the community -- contextual info!

If you're interested in being a mentor, email the developers list or jeff@publiclab.org -- and read over our software outreach resources to get an idea of how we work!

Some more resources on mentoring:


Communication

We do occasional chat or video sessions, and mentors rely on each other quite a bit, in the chatroom and on the plots-gsoc list.

Benefits

Our code contributor community is built on a commitment to mutual benefit -- we can’t create good software without welcoming in newcomers, and we are deeply invested in supporting contributors to learn new skills and grow as coders, designers, project leaders, and “cooperators”. Unlike many open source communities, much of our capacity is aimed at helping people become proficient coders, and to learn and apply principles such as code modularity, test-driven development, and more, as outlined at https://publiclab.org/software-outreach.

But we also seek to change coding culture by recognizing how important communication, mutual support, and affirmative and welcoming tone are. As part of this, we seek to improve ourselves and help contributors learn how to support one another, welcome in a diverse and inclusive community, and build a more positive and equitable society by doing things a little differently.


Past years


Updates

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
Call for Proposals: Outreachy Winter 2021 @mathildaudufo 5 days ago 3
GSoC Report : Tag/Topic System Refinements @17sushmita about 2 months ago 3
GSoC 2021 experience with Public Lab @waridrox about 2 months ago 1
GSoC 2021: Geographic Features Refinement - Final Report @barun1024 2 months ago 4
GSoC 2021 : Translation System Refinement @ajitmujumdar25999 2 months ago 2
GSoC 2021 Proposal : Tag / topic system refinements @Manasa2850 6 months ago 18
GSoC 2021 Proposal: spectral-workbench.js JS/Rails integration @waridrox 6 months ago 8
GSoC 2021 proposal: Education-related usability upgrades @Tanish 6 months ago 6
GSoC!proposal: Filter out spam from comment. @lukoyedith 6 months ago 8
GSoC!proposal: UX/UI QoL Improvements @eightballocto 6 months ago 1
GSoC 2021 Proposal: Translation System Refinements @govindgoel 6 months ago 8
GSoC 2021 Proposal: Geographic Features Refinement @barun1024 6 months ago 14
GSoC 2021 Proposal - Education-related Usability Upgrades @anirudhprabhakaran3 6 months ago 4
GSoC proposal 2021 : Translation System Refinement @ajitmujumdar25999 6 months ago 5
GSOC 2021 Proposal: Education-related usability upgrades @SahilS 6 months ago 6
GSoC 2021 Proposal: Legacy Code Deprecation @gauravsingh2699 6 months ago 10
GSoC!proposal: Translation System Refinements @YogeshSharma01 7 months ago 3
Call for Proposals: Outreachy Summer 2021 @cess 7 months ago 0
Draft of a Public Lab Software Roadmap: Comments welcome! @warren 11 months ago 14
First-timer-only release workflow @sagarpreet_chadha about 1 year ago 0
Congratulations to our Outreachy and GSoC 2020 fellows 👏👏👏 @warren about 1 year ago 7
GSoC 2020: Mapknitter Export Module and Spectral Workbench upgrades @alaxallves about 1 year ago 4
Spam Management Dashboard (Documentation) @keshav_sethi0004 about 1 year ago 6
Spam management Dashboard @ GSoC week-3 @keshav_sethi0004 over 1 year ago 0
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