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Applicant Guide

GSoC 2024 will not have Mathesar

Mathesar will not be participating in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2024 due to lack of maintainer capacity. We hope to resume participation in 2025.

This guide was for GSoC 2023.

Getting Started

If you’re interested in applying to be a GSoC Contributor for the Mathesar project, please follow this guide. Thank you in advance for your interest, time, and any contributions you make!

Step 0: Figure out if Mathesar is the right organization for you

Some things you should know about Mathesar:

  • Mathesar is a fairly new project and we don’t have documentation aimed at helping new contributors understand our codebase.
  • The Mathesar maintainer team doesn’t have time to help each individual contributor understand our codebase or how to solve a particular issue during the GSoC application process. We get a lot of applicants, and it would be infeasible to answer everyone’s questions in detail.

Successful applicants will read all available information about Mathesar, be able to understand our codebase without much help, and ask good questions when they do need help. If this doesn’t sound like you, Mathesar may not be the right organization for you.

Step 1: Read the Program Guide

The Google Summer of Code contributor guide is a great introduction to what goes into being a GSoC Contributor. The rest of this document assumes you’re familiar with its contents.

Step 2: Learn about Mathesar

You’ll need to understand Mathesar well in order to submit a successful application.

Mathesar is a new project and we’re still working towards releasing our first version. The best ways to learn about us is to:

Step 3: Join Matrix and the developer mailing list

Join the “Mentoring Programs” Matrix channel or the developer mailing list as early as possible to introduce yourself and get feedback on your ideas.

Feel free to ask questions about project ideas, Mathesar, or anything else! Post questions in the main channel - do not contact mentors individually.

Step 4: Contribute to Open Issues

You need to make at least one contribution to Mathesar as part of the application process. Your contribution will give us more information about your work/skills and help us evaluate your application. It will also help you learn more about Mathesar and have more information to pick a project idea.

Please see our Contribution Guidelines to learn more about how to contribute.

The Application Process

Once you’re comfortable with Mathesar and the community, it’s time to start the application process.

Step 1: Pick a project idea

You’ll need to pick a project that you’re interested in working on. Please see our Project Ideas page for a list of ideas we’ve come up with.

Once you pick a project, make sure you understand what the work entails so that you can plan the work out ahead of time and submit a strong application. The mentors are here to help you. We expect you to have a lot of questions and we’re happy to answer them.

Step 2: Write a draft proposal

You’ll now need to write a draft proposal for the idea you’ve chosen to work on. You’ll need to use our Project Proposal Template for this.

We expect you to do a significant amount of work on creating your proposal. You’ll need to demonstrate that you understand exactly how to make the changes you’re proposing to the codebase and that you can split the project into smaller deliverables that keep you on track.

This is not something you should be working on in isolation. We expect you to have a lot of questions for the mentors along the way as you try and understand the project, come up with ideas, evaluate feasibility, etc. Please ask these in Matrix or the mailing list. Do not contact mentors individually.

We suggest reading some articles on writing good Google Summer of Code proposals. Here are some examples:

Step 3: Get feedback from mentors

  1. Create a draft proposal in Google Docs.
  2. Make sure that mentors have permission to add comments to the document.
  3. Submit it via this form for feedback:

Do not wait until the last minute to work on your application. You should ideally get at least two rounds of feedback from the mentors before you submit your final application and each round of feedback could take a week or so.

Re-submitting after feedback

Once you’ve received feedback from mentors and made changes to your proposal, you may want to re-submit it for another round of review. You can do that via the same form:

Step 4: Submit your final application

Once you’ve received feedback from your mentors and you’re happy with your proposal, submit your final proposal via the Google Summer of Code website.

Communication Tips

  • Ask good questions. Here’s a good guide on Getting Answers.
  • Provide as much information as possible when asking questions. People come from a variety of experiences and backgrounds and the things you may be confused about may be totally different than the things that someone else has questions about. Please give us as much information as possible, the more you tell us, the better we can help you.
  • Communicate in public channels – GitHub, the mailing list, or public channels on Matrix. Our mentors don’t have the bandwidth to respond to private communication.
  • Help other applicants. Mathesar participates in GSoC to help build our community. We’d like community members to help each other. Your GSoC application will only be helped if you answer questions and support others in the community.
  • Wait a couple of days before following up. Remember that the mentors are busy – we’ve got full-time jobs.

Selection Criteria

Here are a few things we consider when selecting which applications to accept:

  • Quality of the proposal: This is the most important thing. A good proposal includes attention to detail, externally measurable milestones, consideration for future maintainability and community involvement, and a demonstration of your skills.
  • Community involvement: One of our major goals is to build an active development community and attract long-term contributors. We see engaging in the community, whether it’s asking questions, helping other contributors, contributing code, filing bugs, or whatever else, as a sign that you’re genuinely interested in our work.
  • Contributions: We appreciate seeing your contributions, they help us gauge your ability to orient yourself to a new codebase, or the quality of your writing. Contribution quality is instrumental in giving us the confidence that you have the skills necessary to implement your proposal.
  • Communication skills and initiative: These are essential to completing a successful project. Things we look for (among others): asking specific and detailed questions, following up on conversations, making sure to read available resources before asking questions, being patient and responding to critical feedback well.

Number of Applications Accepted

Please note that we will not be able to select a mentee for every project idea that we have listed. Our organization will be allocated a limited number of project slots by GSoC and we can only accept the number of mentees that we have slots for.