Sahana and Students: Saving the world one task at a time

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

For the second year, the Sahana Software Foundation participated in Google Code-in (GCI), a program which gives pre-university students the chance to get involved in open source projects. I was Sahana’s Administrator for this program and am incredibly happy with how well the program went for us. Out of the 208 tasks that we posted for students, 193 were completed – which is an amazing effort!

After last year, we knew that Google Code-in wasn’t for the faint of heart as it would require responding to students, answering their questions and reviewing work around the clock, so we reached out to our volunteer community and gathered a team of 11 mentors together. We put together a roster with 3-4 mentors covering each week to ensure that there was always someone on duty, while also ensuring that mentors would be able to have some time off. A big thank you goes out to all our mentors: Dominc König, Fran Boon, Graeme Foster, Nuwan Waidyanatha, Pat Tressel, four former Google Summer of Code students: Praneeth Bodduluri (‘09), Pratyush Nigam (‘11), Robert O’Connor (‘10), Shikhar Kohli (‘10) and Tony Young (a Google Code-in student last year). Sahana’s participation in Google Code-in couldn’t have happened without all of you!

But the biggest thank you goes out to all the students who have completed tasks – unfortunately/fortunately there are too many of you to name! We had many students review chapters in the Sahana Eden Essential Guide to make sure that the instructions were clear enough for them to follow. I was really pleased to see that the book was easy for students to use plus we also got some great feedback on how to improve it. Once again the translation tasks were very popular and we have complete translations of Sahana Eden in Romanian, Bulgarian and Hindi. Abhishek Arora and Leizel Puzon completed one of the more interesting tasks; taking minutes during our community calls – which gave them insight into how our community works. For me the highlight was the task completed by Daniel Klischies (Nostraa) to design a theme for the Sahana Eden wiki to align with the Sahana Software Foundation’s branding. Daniel’s work transformed our wiki into a very professional looking site which I get  great pleasure using and sharing with others. I’m also glad to see that for some students, their involvement with Sahana doesn’t end with the end of this year’s Google Code-in, such as Sriram Raghu who is giving a talk on Sahana Eden to other students at his school.

I would like to pass on a big thanks to everyone behind the scenes who made this happen: Sverre Rabbelier, Daniel Hans, Madhusudan. C.S and the rest of the Melange team who were under extreme pressure from students and mentors alike to ensure that Melange was running smoothly throughout Google Code-in. And, of course, the Google Open Source team whose continued support of open source projects is what makes great programs like this possible!

By Michael Howden, Sahana Software Foundation Google Code-in Organization Administrator