Mentor Sage Ross with Outreachy intern Sejal Khatri at Wikimania 2017. Photo by Sage Ross, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Bug fixes, extension improvements, and a tool to help import images from GLAM institutions to Commons were among the many projects that student developers worked on while participating in Google Summer of Code 2017 (GSoC) and Outreachy round 14 through the Wikimedia Foundation.

Both programs, which are sponsored by Google and the Software Freedom Conservancy (respectively), are designed to introduce university students to free and open-source software projects from around the world. Wikimedia, which has participated in GSoC programs for 12 years and the Outreachy program for 5, mentors student developers from around the world throughout the summer. In return, students contribute thousands of lines of code to Wikimedia projects, obtain a deeper understanding of our movement, write about their experiences on a weekly basis, and connect with MediaWiki developers all over the world.

Sejal Khatri, who participated in Google Summer of Code, detailed her experiences in weekly Medium posts. She also attended Wikimania, where she met one of her project mentors and participated in the hackathon.

“Over the course of my internship I got many experiences,” she says. “[This included] getting in touch with [Wiki Education] Dashboard users from all across the world (Israel, Canada, USA, Egypt, Serbia, Czech Republic), interacting with them, organizing user testing sessions on my own and helping them with their frustrations and understanding their needs.”

What did the students make and accomplish?

Below are descriptions of what the students and their mentors made during their time in the programs:

Implement Thanks support in Pywikibot, by Alexander Jones (GSoC intern, Texas, United States), mentored by John Mark Vandenberg

This project provided a boost to Pywikibot by enabling it to thank normal wiki revisions and Flow posts, and also generate statistics (eg who sent thanks using log entries).

Provide enhanced usability for the Wikimedia Programs & Events Dashboard, managed by Wiki Education Foundation, by Sejal Khatri (GSoC intern, Pune, India), mentored by Sage Ross, Jonathan Morgan

In this project, Sejal worked on improving the overall usability of the dashboard, especially on mobile devices, by solving high priority issues, conducting user testing sessions, documenting the feedback, and taking actions on them.

Improvements to ProofreadPage Extension and Wikisource, by Amrit Sreekumar (GSoC intern, Kerela, India), mentored by Tpt and Yann Forget

As part of this project, some of the improvements added were an auto-validation privilege for specific user-groups to override the two step validation of proofread pages, migration of the Index: Pages editing form, and Proofread zoom feature to OOJS UI , etc.

Add a “hierarchy” type to the Cargo extension, by Feroz Ahmad (GSoC intern, New Delhi, India), mentored by Yaron Koren, Nischay Nahata, Tobias Oetterer

This project added support for “Hierarchy” fields in the Cargo MediaWiki extension, including both efficient storage and querying of such information. This project also added similar support within the Page Forms extension.

Adding custom features while upgrading and updating Quiz extension, by Harjot Singh Bhatia (GSoC intern, India), mentored by Marielle Volz, Sam Reed

The Quiz extension has received quite a lot of updates such as bug fixes, removal of the legacy code and upgrades to MediaWiki standards, addition of tests, and new features.

Automatic editing suggestions and feedbacks for articles in Wiki Ed Dashboard, by Keerthana S (GSoC intern, India), mentored by Sage Ross, Jonathan Morgan

This project lays the foundations for the Dashboards to provide specific useful editing suggestions to newcomers about how they can improve existing Wikipedia articles or article drafts they are working on — including both automated editing suggestions (based on the Objective Revision Evaluation Service) and user-submitted suggestions.

Glam2Commons, by Siddhartha Sarkar (GSoC intern, India), mentored by Basvb, Zhuyiefei, Tom

Glam2Commons is a tool that allows any Wikimedia Commons user to import images to Commons from the online repositories of a number of GLAMs (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) easily.

Remind me of this article in X days” MediaWiki notification, by Ela Opper (Outreachy, Tel Aviv, Israel), mentored by Moriel Schottlender and Matt Flaschen

Ela developed a new feature requested by the Wikimedia user base—adding reminders for articles.  It allows you to set a future time, at which point the notification system will remind you of a particular article.  You can optionally provide a custom message to include.

Allow Programs & Events Dashboard to make automatic edits on connected wikis, by Medha Bansal (Outreachy, New Delhi, India), mentored by Jonathan Morgan, Sage Ross

There is now a documented process in place for enabling the Programs & Events Dashboard to make automated edits on new wikis. It paves the way for Wikipedia Education Programs across the world to start using the tools that were originally limited to English Wikipedia and only US/Canada universities.

Document process for creating new Zotero translator, by Sonali Gupta (Outreachy, Rajasthan, India) mentored by Marielle Volz and Czar

Zotero translators are what we rely heavily on for Citoid, a service that allows easy adding of references on Wikipedia. The outcome of this project is a well-documented resource on how to develop Zotero web translators on the server side and Scaffold and get them live in production.

A few new things we tried this year

  • Hosted an online information session for prospective candidates and addressed queries that we collected beforehand
  • Promoted weekly reports of accepted students in a monthly highlights newsletter format.
  • Provided Zulip as a mentoring tool, thanks to the organization members for letting us use the beta version. Zulip’s threaded conversation feature allowed Wikimedia organization administrators to communicate smoothly on different topics with students, and reach out to them quickly in matters of urgent sync-up.
  • Collected changes for improvements from mentors throughout the program, and as a result produced a revised documentation of Outreach Programs

Stay tuned for more

  • If you are interested in learning in-depth about these projects, attend the showcase on September 21st, at 10:00 AM PST / 17:00 UTC via YouTube live (link to view the broadcast)
  • The application period for the next round of Outreachy opens on September 7th. Check ideas for projects and apply!
  • We will be circulating a program feedback survey with the students and mentors, the lessons of which we will publish soon.
  • A few of us will be attending the GSoC Mentors Summit at Google Headquarters in October. We are looking forward to meeting with mentors from other organizations and learning from their style of mentoring and practices for community building.

Thanks to mentors for their valuable time and guidance, to Google and Outreachy program coordinators for their generous support, and to Sumit Asthana and Anna Liao for helping coordinate these rounds.

Srishti Sethi, Developer Advocate, Technical Collaboration team
Wikimedia Foundation