Open Source with GirlScript Summer of Code

Spending the Summer contributing to Open Source with GirlScript Foundation

Summer was about to begin and I wanted to spend some time contributing to Open Source.

I came across GirlScript Summer of Code through Twitter and it seemed perfect. They welcomed all participants, from beginners to advanced. The duration of the program was declared to be from Jun 1 — August 30.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the 1000 participants chosen to take part in the 3 month long contribution program.

Photo by Chris Ried on Unsplash

Community Bonding period (Jun 1 — Jun 23)

During this period, Various Projects with different Tech Stacks were declared. Participants got to interact through Mentors and other Participants through a GSSoC only Invite Slack Channel.

The Tech Stack of Projects varied from Android to C++ & Python. I was looking to contribute to an Android Project, so two of the Projects caught my eye.

The First Project I was interested in was Images-to-PDF which was a simple Android app that would convert the Images from an User’s phone to PDFs. The Second Project was Travel-Mate which was a complete travel guide. The app provided solutions for every possible problem a traveller might face during the course of his or her entire journey. These two projects were personal Projects put forward by the mentors. However, apart from these there were 5 NGO Projects being offered as well, for various organizations such as Zero Gravity, Upay, Makkala Jagriti & Kranti.

Decisions: On looking through the Projects, I finally decided to settle with contributing to Images-to-PDF since there were many issues I felt I could solve and the mentor seemed quite active with quick replies and help.

First Evaluations (July 6 — July 8)

Each Issue was classified into one of the 4 main Categories: CakeWalk, Intermediate, Pro & Top Coder. Each Category awarded different amount of points. The points awarded were 10, 20, 30 & 50 for the categories respectively.

First Evaluations for the LeaderBoard were coming around, by this time I had contributed by working on few new Features such as:

  1. UI Enhancement Screens (Pro) : The app did not have any enhancement screens when there were not PDFs to show. I worked on the design for the Screens in Photoshop and converted the same into layout files for the Android Project.
  2. Merge Two PDFs Feature (Pro) : This Feature allows users to choose two PDFs from their SD Card and merge them. The resultant PDF is saved on the User’s SD Card under a new folder.

Results: The Results of the First Evaluations were declared on July 8. I was placed 3rd on the LeaderBoard of Images-to-PDF with 60 Points.

Further Contributions

By this time, I was getting better at contributing, using GIT Command line as well as learning to use new Libraries and Debugging errors. Initially I would have to Google and find the respective GIT Command line to do simple tasks such as Push, Pull & Squash but as the Program went on I no longer had to Google and could do these right off the bat.

Whenever I would run into an Error or was stuck with a problem, the Mentors were quite helpful and would suggest links to solve the problem.

Second Evaluations (July 21— July 22)

So the time for the second evaluations had come around. At this time I stood 3rd on the Leaderboard with 140 Points.

Few Issues I picked up after the first evaluations were:

  1. Filter Images Feature (Top Coder) : This Feature allows users to apply a range of Filters to their selected images. I Incorporated Black and White & Sepia Filters.
  2. UI Enhancements for Filter Images Feature (Pro) : I worked on modifying the UI of the Filters Page to a Scrolling Slider at the bottom for the Filters, similar to ones in Image Editing Apps.

There were many more Issues opened up in the Repo during this time to encourage more contributions. The Scoreboard was also shifted to Google Sheets so that the participants could keep track of their progress real-time.

Third Evaluations (August 23)

It’s the final evaluations for the program! I’m amazed at how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learnt.

At this point, I stand 3rd on the leaderboard and I’m also the top female contributor for the Images-to-PDF Repository! This was just a cherry to top it all off.

Conclusions

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Overall, I’m glad I was provided this opportunity to be a part of GSSoC as I’ve always wanted to venture into Open Source but found it difficult to get started. With such a well organized program, I was finally able to take my first steps and learn a lot along the way.

For anyone looking to get started in Contributing to Open Source, I’d say the best way is to pick up a Open Source Contribution program that welcomes you such as GSSoC as you’ll learn best when you put your knowledge to practice.