Summer of Code/Acceptance

Revision as of 15:49, 12 March 2014 by Sean (talk | contribs) (Make a patch)

This page is intended to lay out the basic "rules and requirements" that our organization requires of all Summer of Code (whether GSoC or SOCIS) participants whose project proposals are accepted. Unless otherwise arranged with the organization administrator (contact 'brlcad' via IRC on, it will be expected that all students will comply with the requirements outlined below.

Application Recommendations

Make a patch

While this is optional, it greatly increase your chances of being selected. Basically, a patch is some change to the software (submitted wither as a patch file or a pull request). If working with us is your top priority, a patch will help us see how well you are at dealing with other people's code. Don't worry, though. It doesn't need to be more than a few lines. It can be a bug fix or implement some minor feature. It's more important that it applies without hassle and provides some improvement. This is one of several opportunities to impress, so be creative. Link to any patches in your application.

Come talk to us

You really should be talking to developers long before you submit an application. Discuss your ideas via IRC and e-mail (mailing list). Communication is a huge part of our evaluation criteria.

Maintain a dev log

It's strongly recommended that you maintain a public development log that is updated every day you work. Most students don't have a habit of discussing their work adequately and this intrinsically documents progress. Communication ftw. Dev logs are also a great way to let people in the community follow your project and provides a place to showcase cool highlights!

Participation Requirements

License appropriately

Participation requires that any work performed will be provided in good faith and consistent with contributor requirements. Unless approved in advance in writing, all rights (copyright) will be assigned to the organization. If your country does not allow assignment of copyright, non-exclusive rights to use the code in perpetuity will be required. You will be credited for your work regardless.

Report activity daily

In addition to your ongoing discussions, it is required to regularly submit a progress report of daily activity. These reports usually won't need to be more than a sentence or two but they should provide clear concise information on what you did, things you discovered, tasks completed, difficulties encountered, milestones reached, days off, and other similar details. If you did nothing, that's okay! We want to know when you're concentrating on code, at the beach, and everything in between.

List your milestones

Everyone is required to submit a minimum of three and a maximum of ten project milestones. These are not deliverables but, rather, are overall tasks that should be completed throughout the duration of your work. These should be necessary implementation steps and not include any research or familiarity phases. In the end, there is code that must be produced and your milestones should be a (very) rough breakdown for estimating your progress. These milestones should be published in your first progress report, that is, at the beginning of coding.

Be communicative

All students will be expected to be reachable via IRC and e-mail while they are working. Participants must be responsive, actively engaged in discussions, and available for questions, comments, and suggestions from other developers. See here if you are new to IRC and need help.

Coding Requirements

Compile and run

Being able to compile and run on your own hardware is a very basic task that is considered essential. We're more than happy to help you get started the first time if you run into a problem, but you are expected to put forth duly diligent effort. Additionally, understanding the existing user community is very important for most developers to have at least a basic familiarity. In the end, your changes will (hopefully) be pushed out to the community and you should be cognizant of what that will mean.

Be familiar with revision control

You will be expected to abide by the same coding requirements of other developers. You must know the basics for how to work with the project's revision control system including checking out/in changes, resolving conflicts, and creating patches. Whether you work on a branch or on the mainline trunk will depend on the project.

Evaluate performance

Performance is something we always strive to keep in mind. Quantitatively evaluate your performance and the impact your modifications will make. Don't prematurely optimize and don't over-architect, but also don't make guesses or assumptions either. Use a performance profiler, test your code, add debug timers, and/or have a peer review your work.

Write maintainable code

This requirement cannot be stressed enough. How maintainable is your end result. This is not only maintainability from the stand-point of source code longevity, but involves other higher-level aspects. Does your implementation use interfaces, languages, tools, or techniques that introduce some new development requirement? If so, that choice needs to be discussed and justified or otherwise mitigated. Any new external dependencies need to be approved by the core developers. Is your code comprehensive and comprehensible? Well-documented? Organized? You are required to follow existing dev guidelines, code style, and established conventions.

Write portable code

We appreciate code being as portable as possible with effort continually taken to make sure code works on a variety of environments. While each developer's perception of what is reasonable certainly fluctuates over the years and from developer to developer, the general intention is that code written should function the same on most moderately popular operating system environments. It is each dev's responsibility to either make sure their code isn't platform-specific or that equivalent functionality is implemented for other maintained platforms. You are expected to interact with other devs when portability issues are raised and to promptly resolve any problems. Portability of any dependencies being used must similarly be taken into account and relates to the aforementioned maintainability requirement.

Write complete code

Perhaps treat each week like it is your last. You should be able to hand over functional code over just about any time during development (within a day or so) to another developer. Focus on completing tasks, completing code features, and working on keeping your code functional at all stages of development. That way, no matter how far you get on your milestones or deliverable(s), other developers will be able to review, test, and readily integrate your code. Plan your development approach accordingly. You should generally not "stub" code functionality (though comments are good), but instead focus on coding "deep" instead of "wide". It's generally preferred to have 2 features that work fully, than 5 features that half-work or even 20 features that are all 90% complete.