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Summer memories to come

Spring is almost halfway over now, which of course means that it’s almost time… for the Google Summer of Code. For those who don’t know, it’s a program in which Google, out of the goodness of their hearts, sponsors hundreds of projects for various open-source software organizations, with high school and college students doing the actual work, each one paired with a mentor from that organization.

I had been excited about this year’s GSoC for a while. I mentored a project last year, with Jeroen De Dauw as the student, in which he created the extensions Maps and Semantic Maps. It turned out to be a bit of a “game-changer” for Semantic MediaWiki: it greatly improved the mapping capabilities of SMW, and mapping is probably the single most important visualization tool for wiki data. There’s also a rather good chance that at least the Maps extension will end up on Wikipedia itself within a year. Although I’m completely biased, I’d say it could end up being the single most successful Wikimedia GSoC project until now.

The list of accepted projects for the upcoming summer was announced today, and six projects were accepted this year for the Wikimedia Foundation. Of them, there are three that I’m particularly excited about. I’ll be mentoring another project, this one with Sanyam Goyal, from Mumbai, as a student; he’ll be improving the Javascript in SMW and some of the related extensions to use everybody’s new favorite Javascript library, jQuery. Jeroen is also doing another project, this one with Brion Vibber as the mentor. It’s a project that has a lot of people buzzing: setting up a framework so that extensions can be downloaded and installed via the web interface, in the same way that WordPress does it. Finally, there’s a project to add RDF-importing capability to SMW, which should be quite helpful, mentored by Denny Vrandecic and done by Samuel Lampa.

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