Google Code-in 2014 wrap up with Drupal

Friday, April 10, 2015

Drupal, one of the Google Code-in 2014 mentoring organizations, has been working toward the release of a new major version. Grand prize winner Getulio Valentin Sanchez contributed to the upcoming release during the contest and shared his story with us.

I was 13 years old the first time I got access to a computer. I had no idea how to connect it to the internet, but that didn’t stop me from experimenting. When I was 14, I saw a documentary about Google and discovered that “programming” and “coding” were completely different things than I’d thought. In that same documentary, I saw Google’s offices and I resolved to myself that I would try to visit them in person by the time I turned 18.

After participating in an OMAPA Computer Olympics event here in Paraguay, a Google Code-in (GCI) mentor from Sugar Labs contacted me to ask if I could help spread the word about GCI in my local community. During that conversation, the mentor encouraged me to enter GCI myself. He pointed out that Drupal was one of the mentoring organizations and they use a lot of PHP, the language I’m most familiar with.

Before GCI, I had never worked with an open source project, nor did I know how to create a patch or anything like that. But since it was a possible opportunity to achieve the dream I’d set for myself, I thought “why not learn something new?”

When the contest began, I got to work on my first task: porting the simple but useful Scroll To Top module to Drupal 8. It was astonishing to me when my patch was approved and committed. With that astonishment came an amazing sensation in knowing that somewhere in the world, someone will be using something that I made. Tasks like these were a little challenging, but I quickly fell in love with this type of work and created a series of blog posts and a video about the process.

I continued porting modules to Drupal 8 throughout the GCI contest. I think the most difficult task I faced was porting the Administer Users by Role module. This wasn’t because it’s a large module, but rather because I had to learn about access checking which I’d never heard about before. Although this wasn’t impossible, it took me about a week to get an initial version ready for the community’s consideration.

The seven weeks I spent participating in GCI taught me a lot. I learned about following coding standards, programming concepts like dependency injection and the Hollywood principle, some of the more powerful features of Git, and features of PHP that I hadn’t even known existed!

People say every end is a new beginning, and that’s been true for me. The end of GCI 2014 was also the beginning of my experience as a regular contributor to Drupal. I now spend my weekends working with this amazing platform and collaborating with the Drupal community. And soon, I’ll be beginning my journey to see Google’s offices in person like I’d dreamed of before -- I began with a humble “Hello World” and eventually became one of the GCI 2014 Grand Prize Winners.

by Getulio Valentin Sanchez, GCI grand prize winner