Tips for SoC ’07 Students

As noted on the mailing lists and other places, Dojo is once again an excited and grateful participant in Google’s Summer of Code program.

A bit wiser from our experience from last summer, this year’s Dojo SoC is under the capable direction of Robert Coup and Neil Roberts. I’m volunteering to mentor again this year, although there will be fewer slots available for students. Last year, we attempted to take on 7(!) projects and as a result we got some great projects done but a very high cost to the project’s coherence and overall sanity. Our wa was in real trouble by the end of the summer and given our ambitious project schedule for 0.9 and 1.0, we’re being even more selective about the students and projects we take on.

Here’s a few tips for students who are serious about getting accepted to Dojo’s SoC program this summer:

  • Get involved now. Get that CLA filed. Start showing up to the weekly IRC meetings. Subscribe to the mailing lists and start asking and answering questions. File patches and start talking with contributors about the technical aspects of your project idea. Anything you can do to convince us that you are diligent, dedicated, and “get” Open Source and Dojo will be strong marks in your favor
  • Got a great project idea? Ask us to get it listed on the projects page.
  • Remember that the Dojo Foundation supports projects other than Dojo! You’re likely to win some extra whuffie for proposing a strong enhancement to Cometd or Open Record.
  • Honestly assess your familiarity with the web. If you abhor javascript, think it’s a toy language, and feel like browsers are a joke of platform, you might want to apply to a different project. If you’re an excellent C++ or PHP hacker who just assumes that you can walk into a JavaScript environment and kick butt, you’re in for a long slog of it should we accept your project. We’ve had successful participants who fit this description in the past so don’t let a lack of deep JS skills throw you off, but know that the constraints of the browser are very very different than other environments. Things take time that you won’t expect, and code size is tremendously important. The web is where your CS training runs headlong into a wall of pragmatism. It’s a rewarding climb, and we’ll help you over, but if you don’t already know what it looks like, expect to be spending some time learning how to climb.
  • Think hard about whether or not Dojo is where you’d like to do your SoC. Summer employment in college is always a difficult thing to balance, and we know it, but we’re expecting you to show up to SoC with a vengeance and start running as soon as it starts. If you know that you’re the kind of person who needs strong oversight and direction, an office environment, or suspect that external factors such as family or other commitments may make you unable to treat SoC as a full-time job, it would be in your own best interests to give your SoC application more thought. The first rule about any job is that in order to succeed, you have to show up. We’ll be expecting you to show up, file weekly status reports that everyone can see and document your progress in a blog. In return, your mentors will answer questions, support you in whatever way we can, and help you navigate the deep and murky waters of an Open Source community. We’ve had previous students become full-fledged Dojo committers and even gain employment based on their SoC work. If those sound like “best case scenario” to you too, then get that application polished! We can’t wait to work with you.

    2 Comments

    1. Posted March 19, 2007 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      As a quick update, Neil and Robert posted their hints and tips for perspective Dojo SoC-ers here.

    2. Rob
      Posted March 19, 2007 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      That’s the first post of the Dojo Summer of Code blog – there are a couple more posts there now where Neil discusses some of the project ideas.

    2 Trackbacks

    1. By Ajax Girl on March 23, 2007 at 2:01 pm

      […] Alex Russell has put up great advice for students and the list of project ideas looks compelling. How about being the person to write an activeX CANVAS tag? or working on Dojo Offline? or the JS Linker? or gfx 3d? or Mobile Dojo? The list goes on and on… and don’t just consider this list, what would you like to work on at Dojo. […]

    2. […] Alex Russell from the Dojo Project has also posted some great advice for students. […]