Hi everyone,

 

There have been lots of private emails flying around asking questions about individual projects, and requesting reviews of applications! I’m mostly responding to those off-list so you’ll understand if you don’t see them all.


This email is to summarise some of the information I’ve been giving out for everyone else who’s watching.

 

1)      How can I make my application better?
Some of the applications I’ve reviewed so far are a bit lacking when it comes to showing that the student has spent some time using LimeSurvey (either version). If your application is competing against someone who has shown us that they have actually used LimeSurvey, and know how it works then your application will be less interesting to us.

- This means, for example, that if you do a mock-up of changes to LimeSurvey 1 and your mockup doesn’t take into account the existing screen layouts, and gui methodology, we will know that you haven’t really looked very hard at the existing app. We don’t want new features that don’t fit in with our existing application.

Read this hint as an exhortation to get in and play around with the version of LimeSurvey you are applying to help with so you are familiar with the GUI layout and methodologies. It will help your application immensely.

- Likewise, delve into the databases that are created when you set LimeSurvey up. You’ll find also sorts of clues as to how LimeSurvey saves information just by looking at the database schema. And if you have an understanding of how we’ve done things so far, you can use that understanding when writing your application, and your application will rise in our estimation.

- Have a good think about how you would want things to work if you were running a survey using LimeSurvey. After all, that’s what we develop the software for – the survey administrators!

Do keep asking questions about anything you understand, and feel free to ask those questions either here, directly to a mentor, or on IRC.

2)      Why doesn’t anyone answer me on IRC?
LimeSurvey developers live all over the place and have all kinds of other work – like the work that feeds their family and pays for their home. So we aren’t always online, and we tend to be online at different times. I’m in Australia – for example – and strangely it appears that the rest of the world is asleep or something whenever I’m awake. Crazy lot, you all are! But to be serious, my point here is to wait! Many of us log in for long periods of time, but don’t keep staring at our IRC logins all day. I check mine every half hour or so, and so it can be frustrating to see someone login, ask a question, wait 10 minutes, and then logout again. If you want an answer, wait online. J And if it’s not forthcoming, swap the answer to an email!

3)      How many student slots will LimeSurvey get?
We don’t know yet. We’ve asked for 6 slots, but ultimately its up to Google to decide which projects get slots and how many each get. We have our fingers crossed for more than last year.

4)      Will [abcdefg] project be successful?
While the DB Storage Engine project is really high priority, and the facebook project is really low priority, we can’t tell you ultimately which projects will be successful. It depends on a combination of what we think of as important, and the quality of the student applications made. We can summarise our priorities as being core-functionality improvements for LimeSurvey 2. But that’s as far as we can go.

5)      Should I make my online application now, or wait until the last minute? Does it make any difference which way I go?
Last year you were able to modify applications after posting them, and I believe it is the same this year. So I would suggest you develop your first application version and post it to ensure that your application exists and is in the system. And that you then refine it using the time available before closing. We won’t rank your project higher or lower based on when you submit it to google, but if you post early you might benefit from suggestions from us (because we can see them when they are there).

Other tips you may find useful:

1)      We’ll have a lot of student applications. The application template is important to us because it ensures that student applications follow a similar format and we can compare them more easily. If you don’t follow the application template, we will be much less interested in your application. Visit here for a preview of the template:
http://docs.limesurvey.org/GSoC_Student_Application_Template/

2)      If you need to post additional information, pictures, that kind of thing that doesn’t fit into the google application form, then create a small webpage and post your details there. (No, don’t use our WIKI for that – you’ll have to find your own webspace)

3)      Do come along and chat with each other, and with any mentors that are hanging around on IRC... we are interested in community minded people who work well with others, and are interested in the wider LimeSurvey community. That’s your opportunity to show us your skills in these areas. A student who is a complete stranger, who’s never said hi to anyone on IRC, never asked any questions and generally not been involved will be very disadvantaged in their application!

 

 

Jason Cleeland

LimeSurvey GSoC Administrator