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Sun, 31 Aug 2008

Google Summer of Code Mentor Recap


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Eric Wilhelm asked the mentors of the Google Summer of Code projects 2008 to share their thoughts on the program and their project, so here is my blah.

I mentored Adrian Kreher's project Flesh Out the Perl 6 Test Suite, and overall I'm very pleased.

After being talked into becoming a mentor by Jerry "particle" Gay I was a a little nervous and not really sure if I was up to the task. So I did what my student would be doing later on: write new tests, review old ones, move them to the "official" part of the test suite, and adapt them so that Rakudo can run them (which basically means selectively disabling tests).

On The perl soc mentor's list I found a few links to guides on how to be a good mentor, which I read and which boil down to "communicate with your student, run his code and give him some feedback".

So we (my student and I) made contact, scheduled regular meetings on IRC, I answered a few questions of his, and thus the project began.

Adrian's work was very good in terms of quality, and after a few minor corrections and nits from my part I made myself mostly superfluous, he worked on his own. I continued to monitor his commits, filled out the mid term and end of term surveys, and thusly passed the project for me.

Assessing the work on the test suite is a bit harder than with other project, because most projects had rather clear goals, whereas in this project the goal was "clean up the test suite as much as possible". It was clear from the beginning that Adrian wouldn't be able to make it through the whole test suite (roughly 900 files, 20k+ tests), so the quantitative goal was to create and mofify 1000 tests, which was met, as far as measurable.

As stated before I am very pleased both with Adrian's work (which actually helped the Rakudo developers a lot), and with the whole infrastructure; there was very little administrative work to do and everybody I dealt with was friendly and helpful.

So if all works well (enough free time, and proposals which fit my abilities) I'll surely offer to mentor again.

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