Calling all student developers! Loomio is applying to Google Summer of Code

Update: Unfortunately Loomio was not accepted to the programme this year. Maybe next round! Good luck to all the participating projects and students.

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Loomio is excited to apply as a participating organisation in Google Summer of Code, which pairs university students from around the world with mentors at open source projects.

Google Summer of Code Logo

Students gain exposure to real-world software development while earning a stipend for their work and an opportunity to explore areas related to their academic pursuits. In return, mentoring organizations have the opportunity to identify and attract new developers to their projects. – Google Open Source Blog

In the past, Loomio has been happy to support several classes of interns, from Enspiral and Victoria University, Wellington. Thanks to Loomio’s cooperative structure and our enthusiastic global user community, we’ve been able to support open source contributors to meaningfully improve the Loomio product, and participate in our decision-making process – in fact, doing that well is what Loomio is all about!

The Loomio beta prototype is currently being used by thousands of people in dozens of countries around the world. It’s been translated into 15 languages. We are currently gearing up for a major redesign of the whole product. Loomio 1.0 will turn our current prototype into a truly delightful, intuitive, mobile, accessible, safe, and scalable tool – it’s an exciting time to be on the team!

Github Activity Over Time

Loomio has been going strong since 2011 – check out our GitHub

We’re an Agile team with a focus on self-improving processes through a balance of autonomy and cooperation (read about our journey to learning how to do this well). Our core technologies include Ruby on Rails, AngularJS, HTML5, CSS, and git.

We are looking for developers familiar with application design in Ruby on Rails (e.g. using typical Rails design patterns like service objects, concerns, etc.) – preferably having a couple years of university-level computer science education as well as a preference for test-driven software development. The next version of Loomio depends heavily on AngularJS, so experience in that framework would be really valuable.

Ideas List

In keeping with our collaborative values, when we started thinking about what features we might want to suggest students take on, of course we took the question directly to the user community. Here’s what the community, and our product development team, is most excited about.

You can also check out our Pivotal Tracker to see a live list of what’re we’re working on (user stories with specs) and what’s in the backlog.

Features that are specced and ready to build:

  • Moderation to allow participation from users without prior admin approval

  • Pseudonymous participation to protect identities

  • Full email integration, so Loomio can function as a mailing list for those that prefer an email interface (e.g. people with low connectivity)

  • Group wiki, so they can synthesise an archive of organisational knowledge from their decision-making history

  • Export/import facility for Loomio groups to move between instances

Other ideas and requests from the community:

  • Accessibility audit and development to WCAG 2.0 standard

  • Visualizations of decisions made, membership numbers, engagement rates etc, on a timeline so you can see who is participating at what levels over time

  • WebRTC plugin so you can move a text discussion to video call

  • Simple server installation for new Loomio instances (e.g. Docker)

  • Improved invitation workflow, e.g. ability to add people to sub groups before they accept their invite

  • Forking proposals/discussions (e.g. the way that Branch does)

  • Mobile app (HTML5 in development)

  • Plugin API so people can build their own decision-making plugins (e.g. polls, temperature checks, ‘Ideas’)

  • Decision-making widget to embed on other sites

  • Grouping, sorting and reviewing lapsed proposals to build up a documentation of a groups ‘policy and governance’ rules

  • Improved search (e.g. search by comments, proposals, date, author, etc.)

  • Discover public content (i.e. categorise groups and discussions and suggest content to users)

  • WYSIWG editor (e.g. the way that Medium does it)

Whew, that’s quite a list! But we’re sure that bright, enthusiastic students will come up with their own great ideas, too. The first question we’ll be asking them (after “What’s your name?”) is “What are you excited about working on?”

We are stoked about the opportunity to participate in this great initiative from Google, and we can’t wait to meet some amazing students as part of the process. If you are a student developer who would like to be financially supported to work on Loomio, or one of hundreds of other amazing open source projects, be sure to apply to Google Summer of Code – student applications open Feb 14, and the programme starts in time for northern hemisphere Summer.

PS: If you’re not a student, but this list has got you excited, join the Loomio Community and become an open source contributor!

Author: Alanna

Co-founder of Loomio and a director of Enspiral. Developing cultural and digital technology for collaboration.

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