Elgg Blog: Google Summer of Code 2011

GSoC 2011This year Elgg was given the amazing opportunity to participate in the Google Summer of Code as one of the fifty newly accepted mentoring organizations. If you’re unfamiliar with GSoC, it’s a project sponsored by Google that pays university students to work on an open source project for a summer. It’s a great way to introduce students to the open source community and for the students to earn some cash. We have an ambitious list of ideas we want to take care of for the summer, and since Google is kindly sponsoring students for us, everybody wins!

GSoC is highly competitive: each open source project is awarded only a few slots for students. To help us assess candidates, part of Elgg’s application process for students involved fixing core bug or building plugins. We were lucky to receive many talented students who came in and started writing code immediately. I want to recognize the students who have made contributions so far (in alphabetical order):

Anirup Dutta
Anirup has been around the Elgg community for a while--even before the GSoC applications started. He’s contributed multiple bugfixes and wrote two great Foursquare plugins: an API plugin to allow signing with Foursquare and to expose Foursquare’s API on your Elgg site, and a Foursquare widget to show your latest checkins.

Ashwanth Kumar
Ashwanth jumped on the Got Skills tests for GSoC and submitted a patch that forwards a user to the referring page if actions are undefined. This is much more intuitive than returning the user to the dashboard!

Franz Liedke
Franz started with feedback about the community plugin repository and has moved on to fixing numerous bugs and adding features to core. He improved the code that runs functions when plugins are activated and deactivated and enhanced the sanitation for SQL queries.

Kishanthan Thangarajah
Kishanthan added an awesome feature to the site pages plugin-- Instead of URLs like http://community.elgg.org/pg/expages/about Kishanthan changed the plugin to build URLs like http://community.elgg.org/about So much nicer!

Mayank Singh
Plugin authors, how many times have you had to say “Did you try resetting the caches?” and then have to explain how to do that? No more! Mayank added a prominent link in the admin area to do just that. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to never again having to tell users to “move a plugin up or down” or “hit upgrade.php” to reset the caches!

Prasanth Gangaraj
Annoying PHP notices in your error logs? Thanks to Prasanth there will be fewer! He went on a bug hunt and submitted patches to fix notices that were being generated because of bugs in Elgg core.

Rasulbek Dyussenov
Rasulbek wrote two useful scripts for keeping core trim. The first one finds unused translation strings in plugins, and the second one finds unused views. Both are bash scripts so anyone on a LAMP server can run them.

Ravindra Nath Kakarla
Ravindra jumped into the skills tests by tackling our new CSS and adding some needed classes. Since then, he’s been extremely active in both finding and fixing core bugs related to the views system. He’s also tackling a print view, which we hope to merge to core soon.

Saket Saurabh
Saket added another enhancement for log-watchers: newlines in SQL queries are removed before writing to log. This makes grepping through logs much easier because you are guaranteed each line is a separate query. In addition to that, he also created a math captcha, which helps to thwart spammers.

Shashank Sabesan
Shashank came along with even more logging enhancements, though this time for the database system log. How many installations end up with tons of elgg_system_log_123456789 tables? Thanks to Shashank, the log rotate plugin will now delete the backup logs after an admin-specified time.

Sreenath T V
Elgg 1.8 adds a “like” feature to core. Since it was a new feature there were some missing parts. Sreenath came in and took care of notifications, so now users know when their content was liked!

Timothé Mermet-Buffet
Timothé had another take on the script to find which language strings are not used in plugins. This script is in PHP, so anyone with CLI PHP access can run it. In addition to the language string script, he also released a Dropbox plugin for Elgg 1.7 and Elgg 1.8.

If I forgot anyone, please send me an email and I’ll add you immediately!

The core team is proud of the quality of students interested in working on Elgg for GSoC. Since it is our first year as a mentoring organization we did not expect Elgg would receive so many highly skilled students. I wish I could accept all of them for GSoC.

Students, your contributions drive Elgg to be better. Thousands of people will benefit from code that you contributed. Whether bugfixes, new features, or helper tools, everything you wrote is valuable to our project and for that the core team and the end users thank you. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through email and IRC and no matter the outcome of the applications, you always have a welcomed place in our community. Thank you for your contributions, your efforts, your time, and your ideas.

Google will announce the results of the applications on the 25th and we will post the results shortly after.

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