Public Lab Research note

Wrapping up Google Summer of Code 2016!

by warren | August 26, 2016 15:47 26 Aug 15:47 | #13397 | #13397

We've had some tremendous work on Public Lab software this past summer through our Google-supported Google Summer of Code program, where five students and several mentors have spent innumerable hours cooking up new features and abilities both on the PublicLab website and in the independent #webjack project.

Even just in the past month, we've seen (via Github Pulse):

Excluding merges, 9 authors have pushed 368 commits to master. 321 files have changed and there have been 7,047 additions and 1,217 deletions.

The program wraps up this week with many of the features having gone live over the past few weeks. Our five students have written up their work in a series of notes, which I'll link to here:

Thanks to all of our mentors for their ongoing input and support, with special thanks to the Community Development team, @liz and @stevie. I'd also like to shout out to @david-days, as well, who put an enormous amount of work into the Advanced Search project, and in particular, whose work was just merged for the first time last week in an epic rebase of hundreds of files and thousands of lines of code.

These projects, from including more languages on to making it easier to find people and resources near you, all have helped to make Public Lab's collaborative model stronger, and we're eager to see how the new features promote the growth of our community.

Fast paced work

All of our students this year were extremely productive, and we had our best-ever GSoC program, beyond all doubt. The fast pace of merging (twice weekly) was exciting and really ensured that student work tracked the master branch closely, and that new changes (with corresponding tests) were quickly and consistently integrated into production code instead of drifting off and resulting in larger, more difficult merges later. Thanks to all of our students for keeping up with this fast pace (and occasionally going faster than I could!). It was great to have students who knew how to do pull requests, write and run tests, and rebase their changes to make things efficient, so we could focus on doing great work.

Welcoming new contributors

One of the things which really made the difference this year was the way our #new-contributors work helped to ease students' entrance into the codebase, and we've asked the students to, in turn, produce some `help-wanted` and `first-timers-only` issues to draw yet more contributors into the project:

Amazingly, this has worked very well, and two new contributors (carolineh101 and ykl7) have committed code in the past two weeks, directly resulting from these outreach efforts. With so many well-documented and welcoming issues, we hope this is just the beginning. See the screenshot below for just a portion of our first-timers-only posts!

So, all in all, a fantastic summer, and thanks to all who helped out!


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Responses (6)


Epic amount of work everyone! Looking forward to the OpenHour coming up next week on Tuesday, September 6, at 1pm East Coast US time. Join us by visiting

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Thanks for everyone's hard work on this. What an amazing amount of progress you all made this summer!

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