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Contributing to the AMP Project

Thursday, June 21, 2018

This is a guest post by Adam Silverstein who was recently recognized through the Google Open Source Peer Bonus Program for contributions to the AMP Project. We invited Adam to share about his work on our blog.

I started my web career building websites for small businesses on WordPress, so when I decided to begin contributing to open source, WordPress was a natural place to start.

Now I work at the digital agency 10up, where I am a part of our open source team. We build popular sites like FiveThirtyEight where having the best possible AMP experience is critical. However, bringing FiveThirtyEight’s AMP version up to parity with the site’s responsive mobile experience was challenging, in part because of advanced features that aren’t directly supported in AMP.

One of those unsupported features was MathML, a standard for displaying mathematical formulas on the web. To avoid a clumsy work around (amp-iframe) and improve our presentation of formulas, I proposed a native `amp-mathml` component which could display formulas inline. Contributing improvements “upstream” to open source projects – especially as we encounter friction in real-world projects – is a core value at 10up and important to the health of the web. I expected that I could leverage the same open source MathJax library we used on the responsive website for an AMP implementation. Contributing this component would strengthen my understanding of AMP’s internals while simultaneously improving a client site and enabling the open MathML standard on any AMP page. Win, win, win!

I started by opening an issue on Google’s amphtml repository, describing MathML and proposing a native `amp-mathml` component. Justin Ridgewell from the AMP team immediately responded to the issue and asked Ali Ghassemi to track it. I offered to help write the code and received an enthusiastic response, encouraging me and assuring me that the team would be available on GitHub and in Slack to answer any questions.

This warm welcome gave me the confidence to dive in, but ramp up was daunting. The build tools and coding standards were quite different from other projects I work on and setup required some editor reconfiguring and reflex retraining. Getting the unit test to run on my system required tracking down and installing some missing dependencies.

Fortunately, AMP’s project documentation is thorough, and Ali guided me through the implementation, pointing me to existing, similar samples in the project. I already knew how to use JavaScript to render formulas with MathJax – my challenge was building an AMP component that ran this code and displayed it inline.

After a few days of concerted effort, I built a proof of concept and opened a pull request. The real fun began as I refined the approach and wrote documentation with help from the team. The team’s active engagement helped the process move along rapidly. Amazingly, the pull request was merged one week later, and today amp-mathml is live in the wild. FiveThirtyEight is already using the new, native implementation.

From opening the issue all the way to the merge of my pull request, I was impressed by the support and encouragement I received. Ali and honeybadgerdontcare provided regular reviews and thorough suggestions on the pull request when I pushed iterations. Their engagement throughout the process made me and my work feel valued, and helped me stay motivated to continue working on the feature.

Adding MathML to AMP reminded me why I find so much joy and professional growth in contributing to open source projects. I have a better understanding of AMP from the inside out, and I was welcomed into the project’s community with wide open arms. I'm proud of my contribution, and ready to tackle new challenges after seeing its success!
 
By Adam Silverstein, AMP Project contributor

Google Summer of Code 2018 statistics part 2

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Now that Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2018 is underway and students are wrapping up their first month of coding, we wanted to bring you some more statistics on the 2018 program. Lots and lots of numbers follow:

Organizations

Students are working with 206 organizations (the most we’ve ever had!), 41 of which are participating in GSoC for the first time.

Student Registrations

25,873 students from 147 countries registered for the program, which is a 25.3% increase over the previous high for the program back in 2017. There are 9 new countries with students registering for the first time: Angola, Bahamas, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Kosovo, Maldives, and Mali.

Project Proposals

5,199 students from 101 countries submitted a total of 7,209 project proposals. 70.5% of the students submitted 1 proposal, 18.1% submitted 2 proposals, and 11.4% submitted 3 proposals (the max allowed).

Gender Breakdown

11.63% of accepted students are women. We are always working toward making our programs and open source more inclusive, and we collaborate with organizations and communities that help us improve every year.

Universities

The 1,268 students accepted into the GSoC 2018 program hailed from 613 universities, of which 216 have students participating for the first time in GSoC.

Schools with the most accepted students for GSoC 2018:
University Country Students
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee India 35
International Institute of Information Technology - Hyderabad India 32
Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) India 23
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur India 22
Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Goa campus / BITS-Pilani - K.K.Birla Goa Campus India 18
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur India 16
University of Moratuwa Sri Lanka 16
Indian Institute of Technology, Patna India 14
Amrita University India 13
Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi India 11
Indraprastha Institute of Information and Technology, New Dehli India 11
University of Buea Cameroon 11
BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus India 11
Another post with stats on our awesome GSoC mentors will be coming soon!

By Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source

31st anniversary of the GIF: give your terminal some personality with Tenor GIF for CLI

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Creating ASCII art for your terminal isn’t new. Displaying animating ASCII GIFs in the CLI (command line interface), however, hasn’t been possible, or at least, not easy to do -- until now.

Shortly after Tenor was acquired by Google, I had an idea.

Many developers configure static ASCII art to appear when opening a terminal, but I imagined that ASCII art could animate like a GIF, and could easily be created from any GIF on Tenor.

After some tinkering, GIF for CLI was born.

Just in time for the 31st anniversary of the GIF, GIF for CLI is available today on GitHub. GIF for CLI takes in a GIF, short video, or a query to the Tenor GIF API and converts it to animated ASCII art. This means each time you log on to your programming workstation, your GIF is there to greet you in ASCII form. Animation and color support are performed using ANSI escape sequences.

Rob Delaney as “Peter” from Deadpool 2, in ASCII GIF form. See the original GIF on Tenor here.
For the more technically-minded, here are the details:

When the command line program is run, it takes the chosen .gif file (file, url, or Tenor query) and uses ffmpeg to split the animated gif or short video into static jpg frames. Those jpg frames are then converted to ASCII art (these ASCII art frames are cached in $HOME/.cache/gif-for-cli). The program then prints one frame at a time to the console, clearing the console using ANSI escape sequences between each frame.

You could also use GIF for CLI to run gif-for-cli in your .bashrc or .profile to get an animated ASCII art image as your MOTD, or with Git hooks.

GIF for CLI integrates with the Tenor GIF API to source the GIFs. The Tenor API powers GIF search within many of today’s most popular messaging apps and social platforms on iOS and Android. 

Share screen captures of your ASCII GIFs with us on Twitter with #GIFforCLI. 

By Sean Hayes, Tenor
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