Note: Post from my old blog.
Somehow most of the fun and interesting things that have happened and are happening with me have happened because of OSSCamp at JIIT NOIDA, India. That last meeting during OSSCamp has changed everything about me as to what I was before I attended OSSCamp. That meeting was for discussing the short term and long term goals of JIIT Open Source Developers Club and everyone was engaged in serious discussions. The meeting ended and the organizers distributed goodies amongst everyone. When every student who attended that meeting was fishing for every single goody after the meeting ended, I was satisfied with the only Firefox sticker I got. There were other stickers there as well… one of them was of Google Summer of Code (GSoC). I chose not to take it – not because I didn’t want it, but because I wanted to take it only when I deserved to have it. As soon as I thought so, Ankur Saxena mentioned Google Summer of Code as a short term goal – that exact thing that I was wanting to hear about. I wanted to do this.
I soon started preparing for my application for Google Summer of Code, hunting for an organization to suit my interest and skill set. Drupal qualified for it. And so I started preparing. Google Summer of Code was the only thing that was on mind. In all honesty, initially I was attached to Drupal only for GSoC. I started using Drupal for the smallest of things I would do (it started with replication of my existing blog that was made using WordPress), attended Drupal 7 Release Party in New Delhi, started participating in providing solutions to everything that I could in the Drupal support forums and IRC channels. I, also, started working on a project of my own called Khaata - a free web service for college students to log their expenses, borrowings and lending. Its incomplete. But, I do intend to complete it. I started looking for projects and ideas. Not to forget, I bought two books to speed-up my learning and development capabilities. But even way before I did anything or made even a small contribution to Drupal, I started feeling an attachment or should I say love for Drupal. Every time I would learn something new, I would be amazed. This is when I decided that even if I don’t get selected for GSoC I will contribute to Drupal.
I believed in open source. I just didn’t know how to contribute. In fact, I didn’t want to contribute as much as I wanted to since I had GSoC in mind. During this period of finding ideas, learning about different open source projects, I really started believing in open source in the true sense and I started appreciating what thousands of contributors do everyday to make this world a better place. I wanted to be one of them. And I am thankful to GSoC for teaching me this – not that GSoC was directly involved in teaching me this but this is what I noticed and realized while I was preparing. As a result, I am now involved with Drupal, Firefox, Gnome, Fedora and a couple of other open source projects in some way or the other (like helping people in support forums and IRC, evangelism, etc.). In fact, I have already written an extension for Firefox and I am about to complete my second.
Back to the point, I did quite a lot of work to find an ideal project. I found one, yes! I decided I was going to enhance the integration of Google Apps in Drupal and therefore, decided to propose my project idea of extending the existing project DrupalGapps and writing application modules for it. I submitted my idea to the community. GSoC for students is a very good start to get exposed to real world developers environment where developers are actively participating in discussions on community hang outs, support forums, mailing lists, IRC channels, etc. Not that I was new to all this, I was new to the kind of people I communicated with for my project. We have an IRC channel, a mailing list and some other web spaces for our small community of open source lovers in college but the experience of discussing your project idea and all other cool stuff that you are passionate about with the best of people out there is a great experience. Just interaction with such people teaches you a lot. And so I learned a lot from them! The community helps you so much that what comes out as a result is a highly refined form of what is initially proposed. Something similar happened with my proposal as well. By the end of application period, my application was majorly modified on the basis of suggestions given by many contributors. Stella Power (one of the contributors to DrupalGapps and one of those contributors who really helped me refine my application) suggested me to also setup a demo site for the project. It can be viewed at this link.
When one applies for GSoC, the most one can do is give a great proposal and communicate his/her idea to the community properly and keep discussing with more and more people to refine the idea so much that it becomes awesome! That’s what even I tried to do and I got a lot of responses. And I salute to the spirit of the communities related to open source projects and the people involved as they help you without any personal interest behind this (except good work and progress of course). When the application period is over, then there is not much one can do as far as refining of the projects are concerned. All one can do is wait for that night to come when it would be officially announced (I am in India and according to IST, the scheduled time was 12:30 AM ). They inform you by an email. As the time nears, it just becomes very difficult to wait. I had to… had no option . From OSSCamp to the day of getting the results, I had worked hard to get this and I was restless. GSoC has been the only thing on my mind for a very long time. I got the mail. The subject said “Congratulations”. Yes, it happened. I got selected! The feeling was amazing. I had worked really hard for it, meeting people and bunking classes to get things right. I had to wait for a long time for the results but the wait was well worth it. The next couple of days were full of unexpected random things that I can’t share here – celebrations!
For a couple of days, it was difficult to believe that it happened. I was filled with joy but also, I had many other things to understand – clearing GSoC is an achievement but it is also a responsibility. The Drupal community has accepted me not to just write code for them but to be a regular contributor and to help the community grow. I have to honour that and therefore, I shall not forget Drupal after completing my project. I have been accepted with my project idea, but that’s not it. I am supposed to complete it and I have to adhere to the all the associated guidelines. It is quite a shame to not complete what I had decided to…especially when I have come this far. I should also be loyal to my project, maintain it and improve it.
Now that when I look back to how it all happened, I did put in a lot of hard work to get it. But, I don’t think it would have been easy had Ankur Saxena (flyankur) not been there to guide me through this. Ankur Saxena – the original creator of DrupalGapps – has been my mentor (in life and not GSoC though he is a co-mentor ) and he has selflessly helped me a lot. He has, in many ways, helped me with a lot of things. I shall always be indebted to him for everything – for his support and help. As he has helped, so should I help others with not only GSoC but with everything possible. So people, I am always there to help.
Finally, I am happy and lucky to have Kaustubh Shrikanth (houndbee) as my mentor and Stella Power (stella), Daniel Wehner (dereine) and Ankur Saxena (flyankur) as my co-mentors for GSoC. I am looking forward to great experiences as I work with them on this project.
This summer is going to be awesome! \m/