Meet the Google Summer of Code Students, Learn About Their Projects, Support the Volunteer Mentor Teams

2014-05-01 14:06
Written by
kreynen - member of the CiviCRM community - view blog guidelines

Last week offically started the "community bounding" period of the 2014 Google Summer of Code Program.  This is the first year CiviCRM has been involved as a mentoring orgnaization.  It has been a fair amount of work to get from project ideas to funded projects.  Thanks to Xavier Dutoit (Tech to the People) for helping with the all organization administration work.  CiviCRM is now one of 190 open source projects with volunteers who identified project ideas over the last 6 months and worked with potential students on proposals to implement to implement those ideas in ways that both challenges the student and benefits the project.

Google received 6,313 proposals from 4,420 students. 1,307 students accepted.  In total, Google will fund more than $8 million in open source development this summer.

Google is funding 6 CiviCRM related projects. The students will receive $33,000 from Google for roughly 2,500 hours of development and CiviCRM LLC will receive $3000 if all 6 projects are completed successfully.  While vetran organizations can have as many as 20 projects funded by Google, getting 6 projects with outstanding students and great mentor teams funded by Google is outstanding for a first year organization.

The process Google forces mentoring organizations to use to vet potential students and projects requires starting with more project ideas and potential mentors than Google ends up funding.  While it can be frustrating putting time into posting an idea that doesn't get funded, it is an important part of the process. Thanks again to everyone who put time into posting project ideas and everyone who would have been willing to mentor.  Without so many great ideas and potential mentors, CiviCRM may have never been approved as a mentoring organization.  I started the CiviCRM Summer of Code Wiki - 2015 with all of the project ideas that didn't get funded this year.  It's never too early to add an idea or your name as a potential mentor to that wiki. That will only save time next year.

Other than a free t-shirt from Google each year, mentors (or their employers) are volunteering their time. Please thank them every chance you get!  After much debate, these are the development mentors and co-mentoring organizations who ended up with a funded project: 

Development Mentors: Nina Reyes (Palante Technology Cooperative), Emily Frazier (First Turn Media), Kurund Jalmi (Web Access), Xavier Dutoit (Tech to the People), Tim Otten (CiviCRM LLC), Eileen McNaughton (Fuzion), and Joe Murray (JMA Consulting)

Organization Co-mentors: Owen Bowden (Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research) and Max Hunter (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Experts from "off the island": Leo Burd (MIT Media Labs) and Gordon Woodhull (AT&T Labs)

Students will officially be working on their projects from May 19 to August 18, but several have already started the process of getting feedback from the community.  You will be seeing more IRC, forum, and blog posts about each of these projects in the months to come, but here's an overview of the student, projects, and mentor teams for the 6 projects:

Bootstrap - User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) over the years have defined the user’s interaction with the application. With multiple mobile centric devices and evolving web standards, concepts like responsive design, mobile-first approach have come to dominate the design landscape. Joomla!, WordPress & Drupal, the CMSes that CiviCRM integrates have implemented responsive interfaces and modern design principles. In this context, CiviCRM would greatly benefit from a standardized, scalable user interface.

Student: Teja Amilineni (teja-amil)
Mentors: Nina Reyes (Palante Technology Cooperative), Emily Frazier (First Turn Media)



CiviCRM Phone Integration - CiviCRM Phone Integration will be set of extensions for Civicrm which will integrate various VOIP services into CiviCRM. It will expose a common API so that anybody can make plugins for VOIP services or service providers such as Asterisk, Twilio, Plivo and Cisco. The first priority is to provide click-to-call on phone numbers exposed in the UI, which will significantly enhance CiviSurvey for phone canvassing. Voice broadcasts, aka robo-calls, will be the next priority. An interface similar to bulk emailing will allow organizations to let people know about upcoming events or whatever else is in a recorded message. A third area on the wish list is to support incoming calls with popup screen showing the caller's history of interactions and recording details about the current call in an Activity record. 

Student: Md. “Rain” Eftakhairul Islam (eftakhairul)
Mentors: Joe Murray (JMA Consulting), Leo Burd (MIT Media Labs)


Data Visualization Framework - CiviCRM has a lot of information about its constituents as well as their activities and contribution to the organisation. Even after this much of information and tracking, one very big problem a lot of organisation face is the lack of decision making abilities. This is mainly because there is no clear overview provided by this data. I believe that visualization of big data actually helps in clarifying the inferences out of it and at the same time gives a better and more useful overview.

Student: Siddharth Gupta (s0014)
Mentors: Xavier Dutoit (Tech to the People), Max Hunter (Electronic Frontier Foundation), Gordon Woodhull (AT&T Labs)



Drupal 8 Integration - Integrate the upcoming Drupal 8 into CiviCRM, including exposing Civicrm objects as native Drupal entities. CiviCRM is embedded into a number of content management systems (CMS) including Wordpress and Joomla, but by far Drupal is the most popular CMS that it is used alongside. It will be important that CiviCRM supports Drupal 8 early in its release cycle. This project will use the latest PHP and general programming techniques that Drupal 8 brings, such as dependency injection, loose coupling of components through the clever design of interfaces and easier unit testing, and much cleaner entity system of Drupal 8 to integrate in CiviCRM in as clean and idiomatic fashion as possible.

Student: Torrance Hodgson (torrance)
Mentors: Eileen McNaughton (Fuzion), Tim Otten (CiviCRM LLC)


Mail Blast UI -Browser based applications are becoming the de facto web standard. CiviMail is an important component that has a high impact. Current workflow in CiviCRM is lengthy and multi-step process. It would be easily converted into simple javascript application, using modern framework such as AngularJS. CiviMail also is less complex compare to other components which makes it a good fit for usability improvements.

Student: Siddhant Rajagopalan (rajgo94)
Mentors: Kurund Jalmi (Web Access), Owen Bowden (Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research)



Visualization for Mailing Stats and A/B Testing - Civimail is an extremely important component of CiviCRM. A/B testing is a relatively recent, highly effective, cost-efficient strategy for improving the conversion rate, and since CiviCRM is specifically designed for the needs of NGO and advocacy groups, and serves as an association management system it is also a must for it. CiviCRM lacks this feature and it is essential for any mail blasting application.Also it is a commonly requested feature on the community.

Student: Aditya Nambiar (aditya.nambiar)
Mentors: Kurund Jalmi (Web Access), Owen Bowden (Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research)


As I've said in previous posts about GSoC, Drupal co-maintainer Angela Byron (webchick) got her start in Drupal developement during a 2005 GSoC project to improve the Quiz module.  Janez Urevc (a student I mentored in 2011) is now driving Media integration in Drupal 8.  While all of these projects could result in much needed improvements to the CiviCRM code, I'm personally more excited about the potential that one or more of these students will continue contributing to the project and participating in the community long after their GSoC project ends.  

Please help me in welcoming all of our GSoC students into the CiviCRM community!

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We are really looking forward to these great projects. Congratulations to all the candidates! We also had some great applicants who were not accepted.

This is going to really be a summer to look back on and it's really great to see that CiviCRM got 6 GSoC projects approved. That's amazing! Best of luck to the students and mentors.


Thank you so much Kreynan. I am really looking forward to work with civiCRM community and to learn as much as possible during the period of gsoc and after that as well.