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What I Learned Through Participating in Google Summer of Code 2013

By Olga Maciaszek-Sharma (Poland)

This summer, I have had the opportunity to participate in the great program that is Google Summer Of Code. I came to know about it via the Systers mailing list and have taken a very spontaneous decision to participate. It was a good decision, as both the program and collaborating with all the systers-dev team have been an unforgettable experience that has allowed me to learn a lot.

As I wasn’t able to spend too much time working on my proposal, I was both surprised and very happy when my project was selected.

I have worked on building a framework for automated tests of Systers Mailman Project that contains selenium-based and smtplib/imaplib- based checkups for all the main Systers modifications in the mailman code, together with a series of functions that allow to verify modifications from the database level. The tests are arranged in a comprehensive suite which also includes a set up and clean up phase, so that everything can be run with only one command from the console, and there is no need for any manual preparation before running the test suite. I have managed to complete all the planned work, and the information about my project, together with links to the source code can be found on the Systers wiki: http://systers.org/systers-dev/doku.php/olga_maciaszek-sharma:gsoc2013. I have also found and reported a few bugs in the Systers-mailman project.

As a part of my project I had to build a Linux-based selenium testing environment, including Postfix and Apache. This has been quite a challenging part of the project for me, as I had no previous working experience with Linux. Now, I feel quite confident about it. During the program, I have also learnt a lot about Python, which was completely new to me (previously, I have programmed mostly in Java and a little in C++), came to know more about how the open-source development works and how big projects that many different people are working on are being developed (I had actually never done a group project at school before and only worked on my own applications, which is considerably different), and –least but not last- have met many great people. The experience has also helped me with my carrier, as now I am working on projects where I can utilize the skills that I have gained throughout the program.

The end of this years’ Google Summer Of Code program is definitely not the end of my work with the Systers-mailman project. Soon I am planning to set up a copy of my selenium test environment on the server so it will be available for all the Systers developers.