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Subject: Re: [boost] Summer of Code 2010
From: Andrew Sutton (andrew.n.sutton_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-03-08 08:10:26

> The number of slots allocated to Boost has been declining each year. From
> > 2006 to 2009 we had 9, 9, 8, and 7 slots to fund students. This is not a
> > particularly good trend, but that number seems to depend on the number
> and
> > quality of ideas and the availability of mentors.
> >
> ... add to that the success rate of previous years?

Every year, I think we have 2 projects drop out.

> Accurate observation. The SoC is not very long at all and if it takes a
> student a week or two to get up to speed with Boost.Test, SVN and
> Boost.Build, that is a big chunk of time lost right at the start of the
> project. Students also tend to do crazy things like go away on holiday or
> have relatives come to stay, so the projects really need to be tight if
> they
> are going to succeed.
> I think it would help if there was a rule about having to commit something
> to svn each week. Students may be tentative about publicly displaying
> incomplete code but it's almost impossible to gauge how things are going
> otherwise.

I think that's a minimum requirement... If a student isn't committing then
its a lot harder to measure progress. Besides, building these libraries
isn't a one-time process. I think we can all agree on that ;)

Other organizations also require their students to blog about their
activities on a weekly basis. Having them update a changelog, rationale, or
design notes as part of their documentary requirements might be a good idea
for students leery of blogging.

> If students were encouraged to write tests at the start of the SoC with
> their mentor, they would have a specific set of goals to work to. Mentors
> should be well placed to help the students define the precise requirements
> of the project. The path to acceptance from there is: get all the tests
> passing and document how the library does it. Even if this doesn't happen
> by
> the end of the SoC, there is still a definite goal.

I was thinking along the same lines. Although as Jake points out, that's not
always easy.

> Just chiming in with a brief status update of the CGI library: it is in
> working order and the interface is largely stable now.

I wish there was a more stable place document this work. I think there are a
lot of interesting projects in the SOC repo and in the sandbox in general.
Maybe we need a new site: Boost Labs (like Qt Labs) or something similar.

On a side note, I wrote a small math-based webapp using the CGI library a
year or two ago. It's a nice piece of work. Does it have anything a student
could work on?

Andrew Sutton

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