The Wiki Education Dashboard got 20 improvements over the last two months from five young coders participating in Google Code-In, a contest that gets pre-university students involved in open source software development. Their work ranged from new features, to accessibility and performance improvements, to bug fixes, to new automated code tests, to expanded documentation on how to set up the development environment, to “code quality” work that makes the system easier for others to understand and change later. And all of these are live on dashboard.wikiedu.org now!
As a mentor participating in the Code-In alongside others in the Wikimedia tech community, I spent some time in November identifying a few coding tasks that were beginner-friendly. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Dashboard uses a very different set of technologies from most Wikimedia projects, and in the past, just getting a development environment up and running has been a stumbling block for both newbies and veteran developers. I had recently put some effort into streamlining the setup instructions, but for the Code-In I expected to put a lot of time into simply helping people get set up. But after the first week, I realized that these students were more than capable of getting the system up and running — and that I’d need to find more — and more challenging — tasks for them. I enjoyed seeing young minds exploring Ruby — the programming language I’ve become quite fond of through my work on the Dashboard.
The student contributions didn’t go unnoticed among my Wiki Education colleagues, either. Jami thanked me the other day for the “LIFE CHANGING” addition of some extra data about not-yet-submitted courses on the Dashboard. I had to tell her she should be thanking two of the Code-In students, who had done that work.
So thanks again to all the students who helped improve the Wiki Education Dashboard, and thanks as well to the Wikimedia Developer Relations team for facilitating it!
The Wiki Education Dashboard is free software, which anyone may use, study, modify and share. We develop it in the open, and we welcome anyone with the skills to help us improve it. Our code powers not only Wiki Education’s dashboard.wikiedu.org, but also the global Wikimedia Programs & Events Dashboard that supports Wikipedia editing projects anywhere, in any language. If you’re looking for an impactful, socially relevant software project to contribute to, give me a ping at email@example.com.
Google Code-in and the Google Code-in logo are trademarks of Google Inc.