Sunday, 28 August 2016

Experience with GSoC-2016

Project Overview
Systers has many volunteers that offer their skills, time and commitment to accomplish their vision- Women in Computing. The community has implemented a Volunteer Management System to manage their volunteer contact information, track hours and events they worked, and provide reporting functionality at the least.

Django 1.3 introduced class-based views and also added a range of generic class-based views. From then, function-based views have been marked as deprecated. Most of the function-based views in the Systers VMS portal violates DRY.  Class-based generic views helps to streamline common use cases, saving development time and effort.

  • Migration of all applications in VMS from FBV to CBV

  • Cope up with the timeline which broke in between
  • Correcting test case failures for each application

Take Aways
  • Working with wonderful mentors
  • Understanding Python-Django deeply
  • Working in a great community

Experience with GSoC-2016
Being an organization that motivates women into computing, Systers- Anita Borg Institute was a great exposure for learning. The community always encourages new ideas and suggestions from everyone.
My journey with Systers was an awesome experience. Though I couldn't do to their expectation level, I enjoyed the work with them. I started contributing to Systers by small bug fixes and enhancements. I had a good bond with the community. Since I was familiar with Python-Django framework, it was easy for me to understand the code base. Understanding the code, I proposed the migration of Volunteer Management System(VMS) from function based views to class based views.

During GSoC period
The work was divided into modules - migration of each app. We were two girls working on VMS. Myself concentrated on migration while the other girl was on testing. We had weekly meeting with the mentors and weekly report submission. All the completed task and roadblocks are discussed in the meeting. The meetings were so systematic and the discussions were fruitful.
In between, I had a break in timeline due to unexpected change of locations. There was a long lag in the timeline because of improper planning. I had to leave some enhancements undone due to  time constraints. The complete migration of VMS is completed by deadline with the constant support of mentors. I owe them a lot for the continuous support.

Why Systers and VMS
I see that women, who are into technical field is few, and Systers provide a great platform for women in computing.
The community has always been so active with instant replies on Slack channel and showed keen interest in solving issues. So when I thought of doing a GSoC project with Systers, it just felt right.
Having worked in Python-Django projects, I found it easy to understand the VMS code. Small bug fixes I did in VMS, helped me to work in VMS more easily. I will definitely continue working with the community and contribute my maximum for the betterment of VMS.

My learning
More than technical stuff, my experience with the community is my learning. Talking to mentors, fighting with the timeline, writing blog posts, evaluations, goodies etc. It helped a lot to improve myself.
The frequent roadblock I came across is test case failures. I had a troublesome time solving the issues. All together it was a nice time working with the team.

My suggestion for VMS
The user interface can be made better using attractive themes and templates. It should be little more user friendly such that a new user should be able to navigate easily without any confusions.

To next year mentees
  • My failures are my lessons. As I said I had a bad time following the timeline due to some unexpected things happened. Plan your time effectively such that no unexpected changes affect the flow of your work.
  • Use mailing list effectively
  • Talk to your mentors regularly. They can help you a lot in many ways.
  • Document your things in parallel with your work
  • Update the weekly reports without fail

About mentors
Just a single word about them - Awesome
Thank you Tapasweni Pathak and Nida Shar for your constant support and encouragement.

References of work

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