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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: Google Summer of Code project
Date Sat, 24 Mar 2007 22:01:41 GMT
Oshani Seneviratne wrote:
> Hi Devs,
> I am interested in doing the SoC project on 'Creating plugins for
> embedding/producing RDF/XML and microformats in Forrest content
> objects'. My proposal is available at [1] and I would love to hear any
> of your comments on that.
> [1]

Thanks for your project outline, and more importantly, thanks for 
seeking community feedback before the deadline passes. For ASF projects 
involvement with the community is critical, we don't want to bring in 
people who will work in isolation. The fact you are here now, and the 
fact that your project plan actually allows for community feedback is great.

So, onto the feedback about your application.

You have scheduled a whole week for "Design for plugins". Can you expand 
on exactly what you think this design will contain.

The reason I ask is that there is already a DOAP plugin in the 
whiteboard which is reasonably functional (and a little buggy). It works 
with both the skins and the dispatcher and may serve to act as a 
template for how your plugins will look. Then again, you may decide it's 
not quite right.

I like the idea of focussing on a FOAF plugin and using that to gather 
community feedback. I note that you have assigned a considerable amount 
of time to this, but provide very little information about what we can 
expect this plugin to do. For example, is it simply going to transform a 
FOAF file to XDoc or will it also include a number of indexes generated 
from the available FOAF files?

I'm particularly interested in producing JSON output to enable the FOAF 
data to be viewed with Exhibit (from Simile at MIT). I've started to do 
this in the DOAP plugin, but it is incomplete as other things have got 
in the way. Would you be interested in adding this kind of functionality 
(or finishing it in the DOAP plugin)?

Are you familiar with Forrest already? If not, do you think you can 
grasp what you need to in the time allocated to the first plugin 
deliverable? What approach will you use for getting up to speed with 
Forrest? (don't worry, we are not necessarily looking for people with 
existing Forrest skills)

How did you come across Forrest and why what interests you about this 
GSoC project?

I *love* that you are planning on creating test code for the plugins. 
This is something we do not do enough of in Forrest. There are a number 
of problems with doing tests for Forrest outputs, you may find some 
useful info in a dev archives. Can you provide an outline of how you see 
these tests working.

It is also worth pointing out that plugins are expected to be documented 
in such a way that the plugin docs themselves are a test case. That is 
they test all functionality.

For my personal use case I need the plugins to be implemented using the 
Dispatcher, but for Forrest 0.8 release we need the code to be 
compatible with skins. Fortunately it's easy to do this (see the DOAP 
plugin for an example). It is not a requirement of the project to create 
Dispatcher code, in fact, I would be tempted to say that it may be 
better to leave that for the community, thus reducing your learning 
curve. However, if you are already confident with dispatcher or want to 
learn it that would also be fine. Can you please make a note in your 
application indicating what you preference will be (this is for 
evaluation purposes later in the project).

Finally, with respect to evaluating your success or failure on the 
program we need to know just how many plugins you intend to implement. 
"Currently it says FOAF + Plugins for DOAP, DOAC, RDF Calendar, 
Microformats, and etc., along with the associated examples", I suggest 
it would be better for you to indicate exactly which plugins you plan to 
implement. Success or failure is not tied to implementing everything, 
just using your time realistically.

I note that you say:

     * I successfully completed a GSoC project last year. So I know how 
the competition works and how best to manage a GSoC project.

     * I am an Apache Committer already. So I have a very good 
understanding about how the community works.

One of the goals of GSoC is to introduce new people to the ASF and how 
it works. It appears you do not need this introduction. Can you tell me 
why you feel you should be selected again? What do you feel a second 
year in GSoC will give you? (it is well worth putting this into your app 
as they are rated by the ASF community as a whole, not just the Forrest 

* My final exams will be over by June 2007, and I would be starting at 
MIT in September 2007. So, I have lots of free time in-between, which 
luckily coincides with the GSoC timeline :-).

How do you propose managing your commitments to GSoC and your work on 
your final exams?


I look forward to reading your final proposal and rating it after the 
deadline passes. In case you haven't heard through other channels, 
Google have just extended the deadline to Monday, March 26th at 5:00 PM 
Pacific time (12:00 AM UTC March 27, 2007).

Good luck...


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