For those that don’t know, Google has been doing something called the Summer of Code since 2005. Google picks open source projects to fund development for. Then they accept applications from college students and then choose about 1000 winners in conjunction with the project mentors. Project mentors are experienced developers that are familiar with the project in question. Each student is paired with a mentor, who will help by giving direction and advise throughout the process. Google pays the students $4,500 each to complete their project over the summer, as part of their contribution to the open source community. The main requirements are that you have to be 18 years old or older and enrolled as a full or part time student as of April 20, 2009.
The process goes something like this. On May 23rd the students begin coding, and receive their first payment of $500. On July 13th they have “Mid Term Evaluations” where the mentor evaluates the student, and the student evaluates both the mentor and the project. At this point, if the student isn’t performing, they will be dismissed, but the vast majority of students will continue and receive their second payment of $2000. On August 17th the students stop coding. On August 26th there is a final evaluation which works just like the mid term evaluations worked. The student now receives their final $2000. On September 3rd, the code must be submitted to Google.
WordPress has participated for the last three years, and recently the Summer of Code students were announced, along with their projects and mentors:
Justin Shreve, Extended WordPress Search Engine. Justin will be mentored by Andy Skelton. One of the complaints I hear over and over again is about the search engine, so this could have great benefit to WordPress core.
Rudolf Cheuk Sang Lai, Adding Photo Grouping by Album Functionality. This project will wind up being a piece of a larger media redux project for 2.9/3.0. Mark Jaquith is mentoring, and Noel Jackson will be a backup mentor.
Daryl Koopersmith, WYSIWYG theme editor/generator. This will allow users to create and edit themes without touching any code. Beau Lebens is the mentor on this project.
Michael Benedict Arul will be working on a similar project. Michael will be mentored by Andrew Ozz, since this project will be using jQuery. It’s our hope that having two students working on this idea separately will foster competition and allow us to compare approaches.
Daniel Larkin, Modified Preorder Tree Traversal (MPTT). Lead Developer Ryan Boren will be his mentor. This is Daniel’s second GSoC working on WordPress.
Diego Caro, a student from Chile, will also work on an MPTT project. Diego will be mentored by Thorsten Ott.
César Rodas, social and text processing algorithms for BuddyPress and MU as related to recommendation engines. Alex Shiels and Andy Peatling will co-mentor this project.
Anthony Cole, Event management with WordPress. Co-organizer of WordCamp Australia and New Zealand, Anthony will be working on a suite of plugins (or maybe just one or two out of a planned set, scope TBD) for event management/attendee networking that will be built on BuddyPress/MU/bbPress. We’ll use wordcamp.org as a test case, and release the final product to the community. Jake Spurlock will be mentoring, with Andy Peatling as backup.
That’s eight students, which means Google is investing $36,000 into WordPress this summer! This year we should see some great benefits from this process, including improved search functionality, implementation of the modified preorder tree traversal algorithm (which should help simplify some of the queries WordPress makes), and even some improvements to BuddyPress.