In a comical typical dialog between a son, desperately trying to explain web technology and terminology to a father, thrilled his son might get paid for what he’s long considered was “time wasting computer stuff,” Jane Wells of Automattic spells out some of the basics of this year’s WordPress Summer of Code 2009.
Dad: Don’t be lame! You said yourself you’re awesome. And that you could learn from the kings. And that you could earn over FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS. Life is full of rejection, kid. Best way to get over that is to make yourself so awesome that no one wants to reject you. And know that even if they do reject you, there’s always next time.
Billy: I dunno, Dad.
Dad: Tell you what, if you apply, I’ll give you $500 toward that car you’ve been wanting, whether you’re accepted into the program or not. And if you get in and complete it successfully, I’ll match that $4500. I’d be so proud of you. And the bragging rights at work! My kid, a Google engineer!
Billy: I wouldn’t actually be a Google engineer, Dad.
Dad: Oh be quiet. Do you think Harold in shipping knows the difference?
The Google Summer of Code is a chance for college students to work closely with the top software engineers, developers, and experts from around the world. It’s a chance to hack up WordPress. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to create code that will change the way we use WordPress. It’s a chance to show off your stuff. And you could get paid to bury your head in the coding sands. Who wouldn’t want that?
This year, Google has 150 free and open source software projects which include WordPress. Students apply for acceptance and those chosen will receive a stipend of USD $4,500 to participate in the program. The deadline for student applications is April 3, 2009 at 19:00 UTC, so you don’t have much time to get your application in.
Past WordPress Summer of Code Projects
WordPress is looking for students to apply for the Google Summer of Code and help WordPress improve. The past few years has seen a lot of improvement in WordPress, from the creation of the amazing WordPress Plugin installation and update feature from within the Administration Panels to streamlining and speeding up the engine under the hood. Other highlights from past Summer of Codes for WordPress included:
- Creation of a testing suite to measure performance issues and caching.
- XML-RPC functionality improvement and automated testing.
- New import standards and tools for importing and exporting from WordPress.
- bbPress forum development and new features.
- Improvement of the underlying code running the WordPress interface.
- Hierarchical Page management.
- JQuery inclusion and development within WordPress.
- Internationalization and localization of WordPress.
- Improvements in WordPress Plugins, hooks, and functions.
- Improvements to the WordPress native search functions.
- Improvements for multimedia support within the user interface.
- Code and visual improvements to WordPress comment management system.
Some great WordPress Plugins and Theme development projects have come out of the Google Summer of Code with WordPress.
2009 WordPress Summer of Code Goals
This year’s list of WordPress code projects is one of the most far-reaching and challenging ever. The list includes:
- BuddyPress-related projects.
- Multimedia, gallery, slide shows, and improvements for media files.
- Developing and enhancing the WordPress Video Solution Framework with features such as related videos, screenshot capture on preview, ad overlays, and more options.
- WordPress import and export functionality.
- User roles and capabilities for improved management and security.
- Template versioning to preserve changes to the WordPress Theme files within the built-in Theme Editor.
- Theme Frameworks for Plugins that modify Themes or add “packages” to Themes for event planning, CMS, education, media-based sites, etc.
- Modified Pre-order Tree Transversal (MPTT) for displaying Pages and categories in a better and faster hierarchical method for scalability.
- Improving the native search function to allow advanced search with multiple metadata sections.
- WordPressMU feature improvements and new features and functionality.
One of the fascinating highlights on the list is a BuddyPress/WordPressMU/bbPress integration to build a community organizing platform. Using the new WordCamp site as a base, WordPress mentors want to create a “one stop shop” for WordCamp events and organizers using WordPress and Automattic tools. They want the community platform to focus on event coordination and promotion with registration, calendars, extended profiles, special user permissions, discussion and messaging, special pages and areas for vendors, sponsors, and participants, social coordination of transportation and planning meetings, media handling, and more. With almost all WordCamps live streaming and offering videos of the event, I see great possibilities for video and multimedia improvements that will benefit the three products individually as well as together.
The Google Summer of Code project with WordPress has some amazing mentors lined up to work with the students. In the past, over a hundred students have applied from all over the world, bringing their expertise and advanced studies knowledge in science, computers, technology, web security, social media, multimedia, and blogging.
This isn’t just about the students, staff, and volunteer experts within the WordPress Community. Your feedback is also essential. WordPress wants to know what you think is most important to work on and improve in WordPress. The WordPress Ideas forums are a great way to tell WordPress want you want, and to vote on the suggestions of others. Lloyd Budd will be coordinating the WordPress project with the timeline starting after the student finalists have been announced in May and ending in August.