GSoC 2012 and you

The Evergreen Project has been accepted by the Google Summer of Code 2012 program.  This is the second year we’ve been accepted, and we look forward to working with GSoC students to build some cool new stuff into Evergreen.

If you’re a student looking for a GSoC project to apply to, why choose Evergreen?  There are many reasons, both technical and community.  Evergreen qua software is a resource discovery and sharing system for libraries.  It can be used to run a library’s catalog, including checking out and checking in books and other materials, managing library patrons’ requests for materials, and helping the library acquire new stuff.  But it’s not just a specialized inventory tool; Evergreen is designed to handle very large groups of libraries that share both their materials and metadata about those items, while at the same time giving library patrons a way to find the books they want, even if sometimes a patron may not have a clear idea of what they want until they find it in the catalog.

Evergreen is a large, multi-layer application.  Are you a budding PostgresSQL DBA and developer?  There are lots of things you could do to enhance Evergreen.  Is your personal motto TMTOWTDI?  Ditto.  Are you a JavaScript guru?  Ditto.  Are you a C programmer who likes making fast network protocols even faster but couldn’t care less about the middle layer?  Ditto.  Are you focused on making interfaces more usable?  Ditto.  Do you like to break things, then figure out how to fix them?  Ditto.

But Evergreen is about more than just the code.  Our community is very active, and it’s not just made up of developers — both librarians who run Evergreen systems and patrons who use them are also to be found on the IRC channel (#evergreen on FreeNode) and mailing lists.  Some of the librarians are also coders, and some of the coders are also librarians.  If you ask a question about some odd thing that Evergreen does, you’ll find out not just how, but why.

So let’s say you’re ready to apply to be a GSoC student for the Evergreen project.  You’ve first got a bit of reading ahead of you:

  • Register an account at the GSoC 2012 home page, then read carefully, particularly the timeline and FAQ.
  • All done?  Great.  Please read the FAQ again.  If you have questions about the mechanics of applying, please feel free to email the GSoC org admins for the Evergreen project (Galen Charlton and Dan Scott) at <gsoc at>, but please respect our time by checking the FAQ first.
  • Next, check out our ideas page, which has suggestions for some projects as well as our expectations of students during the application and coding processes.
  • Next, please read our (very brief) getting started with Evergreen development, our (longer) procedures for contributing, and our page about how we use Git.

“That’s a lot of reading!”, you might say… and you’d be right.  On the other hand, Evergreen is used by libraries, after all.

Ready to move on to the next step?  Get to know us a bit: join the general and development mailing lists and the IRC channel, hang out, listen, and ask good questions.  While you’re doing that, also keep in mind one of our application requirements:

As part of their application for the Google Summer of Code, we expect any student applicants to submit a patch or point to a branch that addresses some problem or adds some small enhancement. Bite-size bugs and new unit tests are good candidates to tackle. To help you get started, the community has put together a quick-start introduction and virtual image.

Please take that requirement seriously — Evergreen is not a trivial project; if you start trying to put a patch together an hour before the application deadline… you’re almost certainly too late to submit a good application.

So after you’ve read a bit, talked with us a bit, and patched Evergreen a bit… go ahead and fill out the GSoC application form and hit submit.

We look forward to working with you!