With the mentor summit and the project retrospectives finished in October, now we can call Google Summer of Code 2020 officially over in the Jenkins community. On behalf of the Jenkins org team, we would like to thank all participants: students, mentors, applicants, and dozens of other contributors who participated in the project this year. Google Summer of Code would not be successful without the active participation of the Jenkins community.
If you follow the Jenkins blog, you may have already seen many GSoC 2020 articles created by the project teams. Here I would like to focus on the key highlights from the project.
In 2020 we had seven students working in the Jenkins mentoring organization. We had 6 projects focused on Jenkins and one project focused on Jenkins X. As usual, in GSoC we focused on problems important to the Jenkins users and community members. The projects delivered highly anticipated new features and key architecture changes needed for long-term evolution of Jenkins.
Here are the projects we had this year:
Please refer to the project pages for more information, links to the blog posts, and project demos. Let’s focus on the results instead. This is the first ever time in Jenkins when all GSoC students have reached the final evaluation and successfully passed it. It was an incredible effort by all the project members and, most importantly, by the students. Thanks a lot to them!
Thanks a lot to all mentors who were guiding students during their projects: Zhao Xiaojie, Kristin Whetstone, Parichay Barpanda, Martin d’Anjou, Oleg Nenashev, Andrey Falko, Mike Cirioli, Mark Waite, Francisco Fernandez, Justin Harringa, Omkar Deshpande, Ulli Hafner, Tim Jacomb, Kara de la Marck, James Strachan, Neha Gupta, Oscar Medina, Nikhil Da Rocha, Sahil Kalra, Bruno P. Kinoshita, Ioannis Moutsatsos, Marky Jackson, Shivay Lamba, and Next Turn.
Thanks to the GSoC organization stipend from Google and other donations, the Jenkins project usually provides travel grants to successful students so that they can visit a major community event, meet their mentors and community members in person, and present their work there. Here are some notes about the GSoC 2019 travel. Unfortunately this year it was not possible, and GSoC went completely virtual this year.
- Online meetups
In August we organized Jenkins Online Meetups where students have presented their projects (part 1, part 2). You can find recordings of these presentations in this playlist on the Jenkins YouTube channel.
- DevOps World
This year CloudBees, one of the Jenkins corporate sponsors, invited all students to participate in the DevOps World virtual conference on September 23-25. GSoC students did lighting talks about their projects, attended other conference talks, and joined the Continuous Delivery Foundation booth which represented the project at the conference. You can find recordings of the talks and all materials here. Although the conference was in September, the talks were pre-recorded in early August. Please refer to the Jenkins online meetup recordings for the recent versions.
- GSoC Mentor summit
This is a regular gathering for Google Summer of Code mentors and org admins where they share their experiences about GSoC, outreach programs, community management, and tools. Usually it is organized as a multi-day unconference after the end of GSoC, with 2-3 representatives from each project. It has been a great learning experience to participate in it. This year it was a single-day virtual event, and all mentors were able to attend. Shivay Lamba, one of the GSoC 2020 mentors, also did a lightning talk about the GSoC projects he was working on in Jenkins and CNCF (slides).
All Google Summer of Code students and mentors get swag from Google. This year, Contrinuos Delivery Foundation (CDF) has sponsored swag for 50 most active GSoC participants: all students, mentors, and many other contributors who participated and helped the projects to succeed. This is the third year when the Jenkins organization sends extra GSoC swag, In the previous years the swag logistics was one of the most challenging tasks for org admins during the entire project. and we highly appreciate help from CDF with this part. As DevOps World presenters, the students have also received special edition speaker swag from CloudBees.
After completion of the coding phases, org admins have reached out to all GSoC 2020 participants to gather their feedback and suggestions. We also recommended that project teams hold their own retrospective meetings. Such information is instrumental to continuously improving GSoC in the Jenkins community. We thank all contributors who shared their feedback!
The organization-wide retrospective was organized as a survey and a series of retrospective meetings. You can find aggregated results in this Google Doc. Overall, we received very positive feedback from students and mentors. The GSoC framework in Jenkins has matured significantly during the previous years. The effort we invested to create guidelines and recommendations for all parties helped a lot because all the expectations were known in advance. As usual, there is much to improve, especially with regards to the community bonding phases and cross-project communications. We are processing the feedback, and we will expand our documentation and the contributor onboarding plans next year.
I have been involved in leading and coordinating Google Summer of Code in open source projects since 2016. This year I visited the GSoC stand at FOSDEM and met a few organizers and former students. A few days after, I proposed participating in GSoC at the Jenkins contributor summit in Brussels, and several contributors supported this idea. We spent several hours to create the first Jenkins GSoC page and brainstorm on project ideas. We submitted our application and were accepted. Thanks a lot to the Google team that gave us a chance!
It is great to work with the students and see how they explore the open source community and grow professionally as engineers. It is also awesome to see how some of them stay in the project and keep contributing, including becoming plugin maintainers and GSoC mentors. But, for me, Google Summer of Code is not just about mentoring. It also helps a lot with the community bonding… for the existing community like Jenkins which has a lot of isolated sub-communities in plugins. Many maintainers work alone, and it can be quite lonely working to maintain a plugin without feedback, developer ideas, and user interactions. When plugin contributors become project mentors, they join the wider community effort and work in teams. In many cases they start contributing to the organization-wide activities and goals, and it grows the "backbone" of the Jenkins community. Like other community-driven projects, we need such backbone to scale the community and onboard more contributors to the countless Jenkins components. So far it works really well and GSoC excels among outreach programs in this regard.
I would like to thank the Google Open Source team, students and all Jenkins community members for the great Google Summer of Code this year. We also thank the Continuous Delivery Foundation for their help to recognize contributors and allow organization administrators to focus on projects. Last but not least, I would like to thank the Jenkins org admin team: Martin d’Anjou, Marky Jackson, and Kara de la Marck. This was a crazy year for everyone. Regardless of that, the org admins stepped up and took responsibility for students and mentors involved in the project, with a serious time commitment. Not all work by the organizers is publicly visible (applications, project selection, resolving conflicts), but this work is essential to the project’s success. Thanks a lot to org admins and mentors who helped with the administrative tasks this year!
Yes, we plan to participate in Google Summer of Code 2021. The application period for organizations will start in a few months, but we have already started preparing for the next GSoC session. We are looking for mentors, org admins and project ideas. Please contact us if you are interested!
We invite potential students to start exploring the project and the available project ideas. Original ideas are always welcome in the project, and starting early is a great opportunity to get introduced to the Jenkins community, collect more information about the problem areas, and to create a good proposal. "Start early" is the most popular recommendation from GSoC 2020 participants to future GSoC students, and we encourage you to follow this advice!