Google Summer of Code Interview: Scribu

The application process is open for Google’s Summer of Code and I thought it’d be cool to bring you a few interviews from the WordPress people involved. Scribu (a.k.a. Cristi) took part as a student last year and this year he’s graduated to the position of mentor. I asked him a few questions about what he got out of the process and what he expected as a mentor.

Scribu wearing his Summer of Code t-shirtTell us a bit about your background.

I started tinkering with WordPress in highschool. I set up a personal blog and began releasing simple plugins, just for fun. Eventually, I ended up contributing patches to Core and generally being active on trac etc.

How did you first get involved in the Google Summer of Code?

I was a sophomore and I had heard about a couple of fellow students from my university participating in the previous year. Then I saw the official announcement on wordpress.org and thought “Why not?“.

What did you work on as a student?

The original plan was bringing ajax goodness to all the list screens in the WordPress admin area. It turned out the code was very poorly organized, so I spent most of my time tidying it up.

What was the learning curve like? Was it difficult? Easy?

It wasn’t overwhelmingly difficult, since I was already pretty familiar with how WP works. But it wasn’t a walk in the park either; there was a lot of code to comb through.

How much contact did you have with your mentor?

We talked through a private P2 blog. He would mostly set general guidelines and make suggestions from time to time. I would say we had an appropriate amount of discussion.

What did you feel that you got from it?

I got to be a guest commiter for the subsequent release (3.1), which was awesome! The cash and t-shirt weren’t bad, either.

Why did you decide to get involved as a mentor?

I figured that I would be of more help in this role, plus I wanted to know what it’s like.

How does it feel to have graduated from student to mentor?

It’s kind of strange. I don’t know how I will be able to stay away from the code. :)

What do you expect from your students?

I expect them to learn a lot about WordPress, both the codebase and the underlying values, and generally get hooked for life. :)

What do you think you will get out of being a mentor?

At a minimum, I will polish my communication skills and get a new perspective. Optimally, I will have helped a student make an amazing contribution to the WordPress project.

Anyone else been involved with the Summer of Code as a student or a mentor? Let us know – we’d love to hear about your experiences too.