Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes- My GSoC 2018 Journey

Project: Attentive Migration of wiki activity pages to git

organisation: Sugar Labs

program: Google Summer of Code

author: Rudra Sadhu

status: Accepted

This post is a honest personal recollection of the events which lead to the above.

It all starts with a small belief, and a big desire.

- random impromptu quote to sound cool :D

May 2017:

I was at a friend’s place, casually wasting time; as we often did. Scrolling through his facebook timeline, we came across a post:

A common friend of ours had just got his proposal accepted for Google Summer of Code 2017.

As I read the congratulatory messages below the post, I couldn’t stop but imagine how fruitful a summer this guy would be having.

He had the opportunity to work on what he loved, from the comfort of his home, and earn a great stipend for the same. Plus all the extra learning, fun and new friendships.

That night on the way back home, I decided to at least for once; try and find out if I can also get myself such a summer.

June - August 2017:

Over the next few months; I dug up resources from the world wide web, read various blogs, watched YouTube videos to learn more about the program.

Most of the people suggested to look at previously accepted organisations, and determine if the work they did interested me. Then, read its documentation and learn how to get started contributing.

I followed:

Looked for some easy to understand and interesting projects. The results were:

  • Teammates:
    • I read the documentation, but couldn’t even set up the development environment locally.
    • No development environment = No Playing around.
  • Oppia:
    • I was able to set this project up;
    • The process was very simple and just required running one or two scripts.

Next step which everyone suggested; was to look for open issues which the organisations needed help with and check if I could solve the problem.

I followed again:

Found this issue;

Looked up the codebase for parts of the project, which seemed to be impacted by the issue. And searched for solutions to the problem. After a week of hard work, I was finally able to send in my first Pull Request.

September - October 2017:

Learned more about different processes and continued contributing to Oppia for a month or two more. Completed the Hacktoberfest challenge interim.

November - December 2017:

As I started to seriously consider Oppia to be the organisation I wanted to work for GSoC 2018, a few things happened with life:

  1. I started learning web development extensively; but soon realised I was not enjoying the process.
  2. My laptop developed some strange hardware faults, sometimes it would shut down abruptly without any warning: This reduced the time I spent with the machine.
  3. Resorted more to theoretical learning: Exams were coming up.
  4. Went for ACM ICPC 2017 Indian Regionals (Secured rank 98; up from the previous best of 315)
January 2018:
  1. Got a new laptop
  2. Started learning Data Science, Machine Learning stuff and simultaneously kept an eye on appropriate GSoC projects (aimacode, shogunml were among the organisations working in similar domain)
February 12 2018:
  1. GSoC 2018 Organisations announced: started looking for projects which met my skill set.
  2. Looked at the project ideas of all the 212 organisations: Yeah, I was desperate!
February 15 2018:

Finalized on the Sugar Labs project: ‘Migration of wiki activity pages to git’.

The project mainly required skills in Python, Git, some basic understanding of how APIs worked, also, an ability to research and visualize the big picture.

Mid Feb - Early March:
  1. Learned whatever I could and felt was necessary to get the job done.
  2. Read mailing list archives, lurked around in #sugar.
  3. Dug out similar projects from GitHub, tried to read and understand them.
March 12 2018:

GSoC 2018 Student Applications opened.

March 14 - March 26 2018:
  1. Sent my first message to the Sugar Labs community; with a draft proposal.
    • as a result, Received a lot of early helpful feedbacks.
  2. Developed a deeper understanding of what the community expects, and directed my efforts accordingly.

  3. and finally sent in some sample work.

With less than a week remaining on the deadline to submit the final proposal, I researched more and asked for help from the community, whenever needed. Everyone gladly responded.

A few of the days, I even worked till 3am in the morning. (The best part being; it never really felt like long working hours. Time went by quicker than I would’ve wanted it to.)

March 27 2018:

Submitted the final proposal in .pdf format.

Fun fact: I edited my proposal till the last 6 minutes from deadline.

March 28 - April 22 2018:
  1. Continued working. Migrated more pages, as promised in my proposal.
  2. Attended meetings, reviewed work of other community members.
April 23 2018:

Prayed :D

  • 21:30 IST: Accepted projects announced.

  • 21:47 IST: Received this email from summerofcode-noreply@google.com:

acceptance-email


I consider myself lucky, blessed and privileged to be given this opportunity to live the summer I once dreamt of.

I will soon put up another blog post discussing my project in detail. Stay tuned!


  • Find the Project Proposal here.
  • Feel free to comment below, if you want to know about something more.
  • This is my first blog post ever! Let me know what you think of it. :)

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