Google Summer of Code Veteran Orgs: Systers

Friday, November 15, 2013

For our seventh guest post from veteran Google Summer of Code organizations the Org Admin from Systers recaps their six 2013 student projects and tells us about plans to continue their work.

Systers has a mission to support women in computing across the globe and in various disciplines. The 2013 Google Summer of Code program gave our Systers the opportunity to learn more about our open source software, Mailman, to learn coding and software development practices and to collaborate on a large scale with technical communities.  Our students did an amazing job this summer, completing their projects and continuing to build on their projects/features after Google Summer of Code 2013 ended.


Julia Proft worked on enhancing the new membership form for potential Systers. She designed a new User Interface that clearly differentiates the required essay fields thus eliminating much of the additional follow up administrators previously had to do for incomplete essays.

Ioana Croitoru's assignment this summer was to add scripting for easier reporting. The original assignment was to add scripts to capture very specific statistics, information that Mailman already provides.  During code review, Ioana was asked if she could add options in the administrative screen so that administrators would be able to see this statistical information without Her Systers’ Keeper (community manager for Systers) generating this data from back-end scripts. The last admin feature is really a testing framework.

Olga Maciaszek-Sharma worked on a Selenium Testing framework for Python.  She worked with Julia and Ioana on specific test cases for their assignments and integrated these cases into Selenium Tests.  Olga also provided the team with a demo of the Selenium Testing framework by running through some of Julia and Ioana’s test cases; a great example of team collaboration.

Since Systers is running an older version of Mailman, 2.12, we didn’t have the new features of RSS feeds from Mailman 3.0.  Joanna Skrzeszewska extensively researched Mailman 3.0 and created a RSS feed for the new Mailman 3.0 as well as making it possible for individual list owners to enable and disable a set of archivers they want to use.

Shanu Salunke also submitted a proposed project with her application about improving our current user interface for Systers Mailman 2.12.  Her assignment allowed her to work with Django and the latest Mailman 3.0 web interface.  Shanu was very detailed in documenting her work and her design and test cases.

And our final Syster, Sneha Priscilla, worked on adding global user preferences. Her code is checked into Mailman 3.0 Postorious and is currently being reviewed.  The Systers community is eager to upgrade to the latest Mailman 3.0 and experience the new user interface. Sneha was a student last year working with Systers Mailman 2.12 and the additional knowledge she gained from this summer is going to be truly invaluable when we upgrade.

Our Google Summer of Code would never be successful without our dedicated mentors. They donate their time and talent for an incredible opportunity to help provide development guidance to the next generation of coders.

After Google Summer of Code was complete and all of our students successfully passed, they quickly became mentors.  How?  Every year, Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing holds an Open Source Day where attendees come to Code-a-thon for Humanity.  All of our Google Summer of Code students were available on IRC to answer any questions the participants had during some of the initial environment setup, thus the students immediately stepped into the role of mentor.  Fantastic!

We are planning to port students’ work into our current version and hopefully their work will also be accepted in the Mailman 3.0 main branch.  Students have agreed to continue with the work and now we have an incredible pool of volunteers to help us maintain our Mailman software.  What an experience! We are already planning our next projects to submit our application for Google Summer of Code 2014.

By Rose Robinson, Systers Organization Administrator and Her Systers Keeper