Project ideas, students, and mentors wanted for Google Summer of Code

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For the sixth year in a row, Wikimedia is participating in the Google Summer of Code program. Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a program where Google pays summer students USD 5000 each to hack open source projects during the summer (read more).
Over time, MediaWiki has benefited from GSoC students and their projects. For example, Samuel Lampa’s 2010 RDF import/export extension in Semantic MediaWiki is in use. And Jeroen De Dauw, GSoC student in 2009 and 2010, is now a persistently contributing member of the MediaWiki community, as is Brian Wolff, 2010 GSoC student.
In the past, the administrative and management challenges of GSoC have been an extra task that take engineers’ time, and too often fell through the cracks. So this year, Rob Lanphier asked me to act as organizational administrator for MediaWiki’s involvement, via the Wikimedia Foundation.
I’m recruiting students to apply, getting project ideas, and managing the application process overall. Once we choose the students and they start ramping up and working, I will also help mentors manage their students and keep communication going, to make sure that every GSoC student’s project gets delivered and gets used!
We hope 2011’s students will develop useful chunks of MediaWiki (core, extensions, gadgets, scripts, or utilities), help us get their code shipped, and stay in the MediaWiki community afterwards.
This year’s ideas include writing and implementing cite templates in a PHP extension, improving the ImageTagging extension, XML dump work, pre-commit checks in our code repositories, and more. And of course we want to hear your own ideas, too! Interested?
University, community college, and graduate students around the world are eligible to apply to Google Summer of Code. You don’t need to be a computer science or IT major, and you can work from home.
We are looking for students who already know PHP. It’s also great if you have some experience with LAMP, MAMP, LAPP, or one of those kinds of stacks, and with the Subversion version control system. If you haven’t contributed to MediaWiki before, How to become a MediaWiki hacker is a good place to start.
If you’d like to participate, check out the timeline. Make sure you are available full-time from 23 May till 22 August this summer, and have a little free time from 25 April till 23 May for ramp-up.
If you’re interested, please sign up on our wiki page and start talking with us on IRC in #mediawiki on Freenode about a possible project! Then you can submit your proposal via the official GSoC website. The deadline for you to submit a project proposal is April 8th, but we encourage you to start early and talk with us about your idea first.
And, to repeat what Brion once said:

If you’re an experienced MediaWiki developer and would like to help out with selecting and mentoring student projects, please give us a shout! We’ll take you even if you live in the southern hemisphere. 😉 We need folks who’ll be available online fairly regularly over the summer and are knowledgeable about MediaWiki — not necessarily knowing every piece of it, but knowing where to look so you can help the students help themselves.

We’re looking forward to hacking with you!
Sumana Harihareswara
MediaWiki Coordinator, GSoC 2011

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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btw, I believe that the GSOC aspects of LQT back in 2006 was done by David McCabe. Andrew then improved/took over LQT somewhere in 2010. (Or at least that was my impression)

Yes, you’re correct, bawolff. The blog post is in error.

Sorry for the error, and thanks for correcting it! I’ve removed the mistaken line about Andrew Garrett’s LiquidThreads work from the post.

Nope, PHP and MediaWiki are complete as they are.

I’m interested to know: in those six years, how many students haven’t qualified for the full dollar amount due to performance concerns?
Because if it weren’t for the (understandable) element of risk, I might consider applying as a student. 🙂

(Well, that and some technical details about whether I qualify as a “student” or not. But I’d be interested to know anyway.)

Jarry1250 :
(Well, that and some technical details about whether I qualify as a “student” or not. But I’d be interested to know anyway.)

If i recall, last year all 6 students qualified for the full amount.

I wish that the MW developers would make it easier for people to contribute to MediaWiki *outside* of publicity-raising stunts such as GSoC. Unless there is PR initiative in allowing people who are not part of the developer “cathedral” to work on MediaWiki, their attitude to potential developers is at best slightly derisive and at worst actively obstructive towards people contributing code.

Nicholas, Google Summer of Code does get publicity, but it’s also a substantive project that leads to new contributors, new and better code, and learning. And MediaWiki developers are indeed working on making it easier for anyone, not just students, to contribute to MediaWiki. MediaWiki developers are working on this by improving documentation such as “How to become a MediaWiki hacker”, doing code review more consistently, cleaning up aspects of MediaWiki that are difficult to understand, and via other means. Please do feel free to tell me about problems and obstacles you’ve run into, and I’ll see what I can… Read more »