Saturday, May 26, 2012

Documents GSoC Week One

I started off week one of GSoC with a bad flu :( so I spent Monday coding and sleeping and trying to design and sleeping. By Wednesday I was pretty much better and got some good feedback on the design stuff from Allan Day and Jon McCann. I was behind on coding, so I spent the last few days trying to play catch-up, so I haven't touched the designs yet. I've been focusing on trying to add some basic functionality -- showing sharing information from Google docs in the listview, adding a properties button to the multi-select toolbar, popping up a basic menu. My code and designs (such as they are) are on Github . This is the first time I've pushed work to a remote branch, so that was another exciting thing I learned this week:) Next week I plan to make some changes to the designs, and, hopefully helped by my lack of flu and week of actual coding experience, to...well, hopefully I'll get a lot of work done :)

Wednesday I got to give a lightning talk on my project at Google's Chicago office. The audience was made up of student members of the ACM. When I first arrived I thought that there were quite a lot of students accepted to GSoC in Chicago (there were around 100 students in attendance). The talk was a lot of fun to give, and I got a lot of enthusiastic questions about Documents, GNOME 3, and Womens Outreach.

Last weekend Jim Campbell and I were asked by Chris Webber of Creative Commons to represent GNOME at a FLOSS activists dinner here in Chicago. Because the OSI board was in town for their annual meeting, they also joined in. Chicago's FLOSS community seems pretty small (although I am new and haven't met everyone yet, -- there were around twenty of us at the dinner and maybe half were from out of town), so it was great to meet up and discuss Free and Open Source software and culture in person. I'm really pleased to be getting more involved in the community here at home.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

GSoC 2012!

This summer I am going to be working on GNOME's awesome application, Documents, as a GSoC student. Cosimo Cecchi is mentoring me. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to work on GNOME again, to create something cool, and to learn from an amazing mentor :)

I spent a good amount of time over the school year working with Design Team members on icons for the 3.4 release of the High Contrast themes. Cosimo wrote the code for that project -- in fact, while I was busy with my GSoC application and finals at school, Cosimo and Jakub Steiner continued to work on the themes. You can see Jakub's mockups for the newly restyled High Contrast widget sets in  here (well, if you have Inkscape you can :). I'm really looking forward to seeing these in 3.6! This summer, though, I am going to be changing gears and working on a coding project. The objective is to produce two user interfaces viewing and editing file metadata in Documents.The idea for the project came from this bug.

So, to prepare for my GSoC, I began by building Documents with JHBuild. This turned out to be a fairly long process, but it is quite nice to be able to quickly test the changes that I make to the software. It's also great to hang out on the bleeding edge of GNOME and see code changes as they happen.

I spent last week reading the documentation on RDF, SPARQL, Tracker, Eloquent Javascript, and the GJS Styleguide :) This week I am reading through the source code and looking up unfamiliar parts in DevHelp. I started my reading with the query object, since the code is comparatively straightforward, and I got to use my new SPARQL and RDF knowledge :) Now that I'm starting to wrap my head around the concepts, the code is less "impossible" and more "wow, this is complex!"

Next Tuesday or so I plan to talk with the Design Team about what we want information we want to expose for our users (Cosimo and I were talking about the "shared with" feature in Google Docs, for example) and then start on the mockups. Allan Day has offered to give me some feedback, and I hope that Jon McCann will also have some cool ideas for me. After that I will be ready to dive into coding!