Google Code-in/2014

Google Code-In is a contest to introduce pre-university students (ages 13-17) to the many kinds of contributions that make free and open source software (FOSS) development possible. Students must complete tasks, one at a time. It is sponsored and run by Google. The Wikimedia Foundation has participated since 2013.

Weekly summary of tasks.
Google Code-in 2014 group photo.
Google Code-in 2014 prizegiving.

The Google Code-in 2014 contest ran from December 01, 2014 to January 19, 2015 (see the full timeline and winners)).

Instructions for GCI students edit

These instructions are common to all the GCI tasks. Each category of tasks has further instructions. There is also general information available by Google.

Suggested reading edit

If you choose to work on a task that requires writing or changing code, you might want to at least skim these pages first to avoid unnecessary setbacks during the review process:

  • The code of MediaWiki, its extensions, and Wikimedia's server configuration is located in Git repositories. You are expected to provide your work (patches etc.) in both Google Melange and Wikimedia Gerrit for review. See Developer access and Gerrit tutorial for information about how to download our code, test it and start submitting patches. Only if you have problems with Gerrit, providing your work in the corresponding task in Wikimedia Phabricator is an acceptable workaround.
  • Coding conventions and any subpages relevant to your task (PHP, JavaScript, Python, …)
  • Following the Commit message guidelines, especially the Example section at the bottom, will automatically add a notification about your patch to the corresponding task in Phabricator. Hence there is no need anymore to add a "Please review" comment in the report.
  • Amending a change. Don't create a new Gerrit changeset to fix your previous one!
  • Getting code reviews. Find and add people as potential reviewers of your patch.

Feedback, questions and support edit

Each GCI task specifies a public community channel for related questions and comments that might be more efficient than Google Melange. Identifying yourself as a GCI student may help you getting more/faster help from other contributors in addition to your mentor(s).

  • Sometimes the channel is a bug report. See Phabricator (except for Kiwix tasks which use Sourceforge instead). In the upper right corner of a bug report you can see the product and component that the problem is located in. This provides you a hint about the Git repository that the code is located in, and about the development team which you could contact if you want to discuss it in a "broader" way (as comments in bug reports should refer to the specific problem described in the report only).
  • Sometimes the channel is a wiki discussion page. See Help:Talk pages.
  • You are expected to do some basic research yourself first: Look at the code, try to get some understanding what it is supposed to do, and try to find the probable place(s) where you need to make changes in order to fix the bug.
  • If you have general questions about infrastructure, the software architecture or workflows which are not tied to the specific bug that you want to work on, use generic channels like IRC, mailing lists, or wiki discussion pages. For example, if you have a problem with Gerrit, the Gerrit discussion page could be a good place to ask.
  • If you have a specific question about the bug itself, comment in the corresponding Phabricator report. "What do I have to do to fix this bug?" is not a good question to start with: The more specific your questions are, the more likely somebody can answer them quickly. If you have no idea at all how to fix the bug, maybe that bug is not (yet) for you - please consider finding an easier one first.
  • When asking, elaborate what you have tried and found out already, so others can help at the right level. Try to be specific - for example, copy and paste your commands and their output (if not too long) instead of paraphrasing in your own words. This avoids misunderstandings.
  • Avoid private email or support requests in our social media channels.
  • Please be patient when seeking input and comments. On IRC, don't ask to ask, just ask: most questions can be answered by other community members too if you ask on an IRC channel. If nobody answers, please ask on the bug report or wiki page related to the problem; don't just drop the question.
  • Learn more at Communication.

Communicate soon and often edit

If your task has a related bug report in Phabricator (or a link to Bugzilla which was replaced by Phabricator; you will automatically get redirected), comment on the report that you have started the work and request to have it assigned to you.

If your task requires the creation of wiki pages, create them to draft your text from scratch, and communicate in the Google Melange task the URL of the new page.

By communicating early you will get more attention, feedback and help, not only from your mentor(s) but perhaps from other community members as well.

Once you have started, feel free sharing your progress (or lack of it) as you accomplish little milestones or you get stuck in a problem. As long as you communicate through bug reports or discussion wiki pages you don't have to worry about spamming people: those who follow these bug reports and wiki pages are interested in your work.

By communicating early you will get more attention, feedback and help from community members.

Contacting Wikimedia mentors edit

  • Please be patient when seeking actions from mentors. Mentors are humans who eventually leave their laptops to sleep, work, study... Also they might be in different timezones than you. It could take your mentor(s) up to 36 hours to receive a review of the work that you have submitted. You should be reasonably patient and should not ask for a review of your work after only a few hours of waiting. Google Code-In is about the quality of your contributions and learning how FOSS development works, not about the number of tasks that you have worked on.
  • On IRC, don't ask to ask, just ask: most questions can be answered by other community members too if you ask on a channel. If you can't find your mentors NOW and nobody answers, please ask on the bug report or wiki page related to your task, don't just drop the question. Org admins might be also able to help.
Name IRC nick IRC channel Timezone
Andre Klapper (org admin) andre__ #wikimedia-dev connect CET / UTC +1
Federico Leva (org admin) Nemo_bis #mediawiki-i18n connect CET / UTC +1
Quim Gil (org admin) qgil #wikimedia-dev connect CET / UTC +1
Marielle Volz Mvolz #mediawiki-visualeditor connect GMT / UTC +0
Kartik Mistry kart_ #mediawiki-i18n connect IST / UTC +530
Tony Thomas tonythomas #wikimedia-dev connect IST / UTC +530
Petr Bena petan #mediawiki connect CET / UTC +1
Nuria Ruiz #wikimedia-analytics connect
Legoktm legoktm #wikimedia-dev connect PST / UTC -8
wctaiwan wctaiwan #wikimedia-dev connect PST / UTC -8
Bartosz Dziewoński MatmaRex #wikimedia-dev connect CET / UTC +1
Theopolisme Theopolisme #wikipedia-en connect CST / UTC -6
Runa Bhattacharjee arrbee #mediawiki-i18n connect IST / UTC +530
Jared Zimmermann #wikimedia-design connect PST / UTC -8
Jarek Tuszynski CET / UTC +1 (?)
John Vandenberg jayvdb #pywikibot connect
Fabian Neundorf xzise #pywikibot connect CET / UTC +1
Aude aude #wikidata connect CET / UTC +1
Amanpreet Singh apsdehal #mediawiki connect IST / UTC +530
Mark A. Hershberger hexmode #mediawiki connect CST / UTC -6 (?)
Kunal Grover kunalg #mediawiki connect IST / UTC +530
Rachel Farrand rfarrand #wikimedia-dev connect PST / UTC -8
Matthew Flaschen superm401 #wikimedia-dev connect EST / UTC -5
Emmanuel Engelhart Kelson #kiwix connect CET / UTC +1
Gergő Tisza tgr #wikimedia-multimedia connect PST / UTC -8

Mentors' corner edit

The following section is only interesting for mentors of GCI tasks.

First things first:

  1. Before starting creating tasks, please contribute to the common boilerplate text below under "Common instructions for tasks".
  2. Watch this page for more instructions, or ask for them.
  3. After November 12th, register as an official mentor in Google's Melange.
  4. Create your proposed tasks in Google Melange.
  5. Get them accepted by an org admin.
  6. When a student claims a task, assign it to them.

Become a Wikimedia GCI mentor edit

Register as mentor in Google Melange quickly after November 12th, and then request a connection with Wikimedia through "My Dashboard". Andre, Nemo and Quim will receive a notification and will accept you. From that point you will be able to create further tasks, add yourself to tasks, add other mentors to your tasks in Melange.

Mentors can add tasks at any time, also after GCI has started. Usually this is what happens when students are finishing tasks, they have already learned about a specific area, and they want more tasks related to it.

Requirements of a task edit

If there is common text that should be included in any of your tasks, add it to the basic boilerplate section "Common instructions for tasks" below!

  • Tasks are supposed to take 2-3 hours to an experienced contributor. It is fine if the first task takes even 2-3 days to a student because they must understand many concepts and setup their environment first. And it is also ok if students specialize in a type of task, so every new task takes less time to complete until they are also able to complete them in a couple of hours.
  • "Beginner tasks" are supposed to take less than 30 minutes to an experienced contributor. They are supposed to be "less technical in nature".
  • Tasks are self-contained. Students must be able to complete it without much knowledge of the context, or the background.
  • Tasks should preferably have two mentors. Mentors are supposed to reply and review student contributions within 36 hours (keep in mind weekends and christmas holidays). Org admins are happy to help out but if you know that you will not be available in a certain timeframe, please reach out to co-workers if they could help review.

Phabricator tasks which are GCI tasks should have "Google-Code-in-2014" added to their projects to make it easy to track them. You can add the URL to the task definition in Google Melange in a comment.

How to propose tasks edit

Please add new tasks directly in Google Melange after registering, instead of using this wikipage.

Template for tasks edit

When adding new task proposals in Google Melange, you will have to provide the following information:

  • Task title. You might want to mention your project name in the title.
  • Detailed task description with full URL link to a corresponding bug report and links to any information that could be helpful and to important resources. Mention skills that could be helpful or even required for students - this helps both sides to avoid misunderstandings and wrong expectations. Note that #Common_instructions_for_tasks should always be added to tasks. Also clarify expectations - if you expect a patch in Gerrit from the student, it does not hurt to say so.
  • Hours (integer) until the task must be completed. Keep in mind students' real life and be generous.
  • One or two mentor(s) available for this task. The mentor(s) must have agreed on mentoring and also be registered in Melange.
  • Tags: Any arbitrary keywords related to the task which can be searched for, e.g. the programming language.
  • Beginner task? Yes or No.

Workflow edit

You can see all tasks that you mentor by going to the list of Wikimedia tasks and entering your name under the "Mentors" column. You also might want to make sure that you are subscribed to the tasks that you mentor. :)

When a student claims a task ("Task Claimed" comment), click the "Assign" button in the upper corner. When a student submits a task for review ("Ready for review" comment), click "Needs more work" if you find the work is not sufficient yet. Then you can get back to the student with details to finish the task at Gerrit / Phabricator / wherever you have agreed. The first time you do this in the task you should also comment in Melange where your feedback is located, just in case. When the student's work is sufficient, please click "Mark task as complete" instead.

Proposed tasks edit

Please add new tasks directly in Google Melange after registering, instead of using this wikipage! For discussing task ideas or mentorship please use Talk:Google_Code-in.

Common instructions for tasks edit

We want to use common texts in tasks wherever it makes sense to simplify the process of creating good task descriptions. Let's draft different levels of common texts: generic for all, specific to a category, specific to a type of task. When creating a task, use the levels that make sense. Let's link to on-wiki instructions and background as much as possible. This gives us freedom to improve content without having to edit multiple tasks.

For all tasks edit

The last sentence of each task description in Google Melange must always be:

Students are required to read 
<a href="">Wikimedia's general instructions</a> first.

Citoid edit

citoid is a Node.js application (written in Javascript) that retrieves information about a webpage, book, journal article, etc. given a URL to the webpage or some other identifier, like DOI (digital object identifier). It uses another open source project, Zotero's translation-server, also written in Javascript, to do a lot of the work. Doing this work may involve reading both citoid and translation-server code. In order to get citoid working on your computer, you'll need to download both Node version 10.0 (for citoid) and xpcshell version 29.0 (for Zotero) to get both of them working. Citoid is a very new project so the code is rough around the edges and may change a lot- but that means there's lots of code to write! There are installation instructions and more information available at

Huggle edit

Screenshot of huggle (kde)

Huggle is a fast diff browser application intended for dealing with vandalism on Wikimedia projects, written in C++ (C++11 with Qt framework). More information: and

Source code is available at and can be compiled on Linux, Windows and MacOS.

JavaScript gadgets edit

Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects use gadgets written in JavaScript. See for more information and potential task ideas.

Kiwix for Android edit

On a boat, in the middle of nowhere or in Jail, Kiwix gives you access to the whole human knowledge, offline, on your mobile device!

Kiwix is a Wikipedia offline reader. The Google Code-in tasks are related to the Android app. They require knowledge of the Java programming language and you also need a GNU/Linux distribution and basic knowledges about git.

To step in, follow these instructions:

  1. Install a GNU/Linux distribution, ideally Ubuntu (in a virtual machine like Virtualbox)
  2. Install development tools like git, autoconf, etc.
  3. Go to Sourceforge and create an account
  4. Click on the "Fork" button available here (you need to be logged)
  5. Clone your project using git clone on your local machine
  6. Follow the compilation instructions for Android

One time you think your code works and is good enough to be reviewed, do like following:

  1. Commit and push your code from the command line using git

Lua templates edit

MediaWiki templates are wiki pages to be included in other pages. Templates can take arguments, allowing editors to create special types of content like infoboxes, banners, and more. Originally, templates were written wikitext with parser functions, mimicking the functionality of a very basic programming language (but requiring advanced skills to get smart results out of them).

This problem has been solved allowing templates to rely in modules written with Lua, a proper programming language: Now we have many wikitext templates waiting to be rewritten in Lua. Take one and rewrite it! See also: and .


  1. Create a template at
  2. Create a module at
  3. Report your progress soon and often at where not only GCI mentors but also other community contributors can follow the progress and help.

Pywikibot edit

Pywikibot is a Python-based framework to write bots for MediaWiki. See for more information. Patches can be submitted via Gerrit (you need a account). More documentation on Gerrit can be found at After you have successfully claimed this task in Google Melange please do use the task in Phabricator for communication instead of Google Melange. This allows more PWB developers to be reached! General development questions can be asked on the Pywikibot mailing list at and the #pywikibot IRC channel (see

User Interface: SVG Graphics edit

Using bitmap images creates two problems: They have a bad quality in high resolution displays and they are difficult to edit. Join the community goal of converting all logos to SVG! Your task is:

  1. Create exact SVG replicas of these bitmap files (add link here to bitmap file(s)).
  2. Upload the logos to, using this name fomat: (add here).svg. After publishing each image, edit the description following this example: (add example)
  3. Notify the completion of your task: In addition to marking the task ready for review here in Google Melange, you must notify it also in the bug report (link?) tracking the progress of this community project. Just add a comment there with the links to your SVG file(s) in Commons.

This task requires existing graphics skills working with a Vector graphics application (e.g. Inkscape). Links to SVG file(s) that you have created are welcome. Basic knowledge of CSS might also be helpful for integration.

Video tutorials and screencasts edit

See /Phabricator_screencasts.

VisualEditor edit

VisualEditor is MediaWiki's rich-text editor (see for general information). You can find out more about it at

Wrap-up blog posts edit

[dead link]

(January 2015), post by GCI student Evan_M

See also edit