Summer of Code program director Carol Smith explains the program in a Google+ hangout

Students Contribute to Joomla through Google Summer of Code Program

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Open source content management system Joomla! announced on Tuesday that it will participate in the Google Summer of Code program. Through the program, eight students will work on individual projects that may eventually be used by Joomla.

Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers post-secondary student developers $5000 stipends to write code for various open source software projects, according to its website. Joomla has participated in the program in the past, from 2005 to 2009, respectively.

This news comes a month after Joomla announced that its open source CMS has been downloaded more than 30 million times.

There are many web hosts that offer Joomla hosting, and even more hosting providers that offer Joomla as a one-click setup through app stores. If the code the students create in the program is accepted, new features may be added to the Joomla CMS. As technology companies look to keep relevant and attract new, young talent, programs that involve students can help achieve this.

Joomla says the projects will include creating Facebook, Google services and MediaWiki APIS, and multi-language options for installation.

There are 1,212 total students in the program from 69 countries. The students contributing to the Joomla projects are from Brazil, France, Romania, Sri Lanka and the United States.

According to the Google blog, the coding period begins on Monday, May 21, and runs until August 24. Over the next few weeks students will be learning how to work with the development infrastructure and studying the Joomla APIS and design patterns, according to the Joomla blog. The students have already been fixing bugs and developing mailing lists.

“We’re excited to see what kind of code these students come up with, but we’re equally as excited to have these students join the Joomla community,” Elin Waring of the Joomla Production Working Group who is co-administering the Google Summer of Code projects said in a statement. “The end goal with Joomla developers is all about creating code that millions of people use, but it is the interaction and sharing of ideas in our community that makes Joomla tick.”

In an email to the WHIR, Waring gives some examples of code that has eventually been incorporated into Joomla including Sam Moffatt’s Joomla update system from 2005 which eventually became the basis for the one click update system released in Joomla 1.6, she says.

“Another example is Andrea Tarr’s Hathor template from 2009. Hathor provides full accessibility for the Joomla administrator which means that people with all kind of disabilities, for example those using devices such as screen readers and tracker balls, can manage Joomla websites independently,” Waring says.

According to Joomla, the community can get involved in helping the students by joining the mailing list, giving feedback on development mailing lists, and following the work in github repositories. While the students will take direction from mentors, advice from the community at large will be helpful, Joomla says.

The code developed by the students won’t be committed to the Joomla CMS core at the end of the summer, Joomla says, but it will continue to be developed for the core and may be used by extensions developers.

The participating students will work present their projects to the Joomla community in mid-August and will find out if their code is acceptable on August 24.

In its eighth year, Google Summer of Code 2012 accepted a record number of applications this year, according to its blog post. There were 4258 students from 98 countries that applied to work with 180 selected mentoring organizations including Joomla, Debian, jRuby, phpAdmin, openSUSE, the Fedora Project, FreeBSD, Mozilla, and Kernel.org.

Google says the program sent another record this year in terms of the number of women accepted. 8.3 percent of the applicants were female compared to 7.1 percent last year.

Talk back: How do you involve students in your organization? Do you offer Joomla hosting? Let us know in a comment.

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