ownCloud and Google Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code is a program which enables students to spend their summer holiday working on an open source project, getting paid by Google. Unofficially, ownCloud has participated a few times in the GSOC program through other organizations including KDE and openSUSE. For the first time, this year we’re participating on our own and we’ve been given place for three students. One will work on the Mail app, one will work on the Gallery app and one will work on demo.owncloud.org. In this blog, we’ll share some more details on these projects from the students who will work on them!


Tahaa: ownCloud Mail

Hi, I am Tahaa, I am from Delhi. I am currently doing computer science major at MIT, Pune. I love to code and I am interested in automation, virtualization, web development, algorithm optimization and problem solving.

I stumbled onto ownCloud a few years back and found it to be the best solution out there for hosting your own infrastructure. Back then I never imagined that I would contribute to this project. The thing that appeals to me to work for ownCloud as my GSoC project is the fact that it is open source, free and provides an unparalleled data protection, but my strongest motivation to work with ownCloud comes from its great and helpful community.

The mail app is critical and it completes ownCloud in becoming the ultimate self hosted infrastructure. The app is in beta, but pull requests are coming in fast and a stable version will very soon be out. I would be working on adding accessibility and enhancement to the mail application like giving users option to add email id aliases, Automatically add signatures to the mail, and a simple way for controlling and managing the settings. These would help the user to take more control of their emails and improve the user experience.

Jalpreet: ownCloud Gallery

I am Jalpreet Singh Nanda, a 3rd Year undergraduate student at International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad. I have been living in Hyderabad for the past 3 years, though my hometown is Chandigarh. At IIIT Hyderabad, I have been studying Computer Science and Engineering for the past 3 Years.

I had been waiting for the GSoC orgs list to come out. The day the list was out, I had started to read about different organizations. Then, I came across ownCloud, I read about it. I liked it because it’s main advantage over other similar applications is that it is “free” and “open source”. I started to use ownCloud, came across the Gallery App and started to contribute.

While I was going through the App, I came up with an idea of different views in the Gallery, namely, PhotoCalendar and Locations View. I communicated my idea to the maintainer, Olivier, and he pointed me to what would be required for this to be possible. This is the project I am doing now: create an ownCloud app which provides CRUD access to the metadata stored in images; followed by the introduction of Photo Calendar.

Images can contain extra information embedded in the header (#550). The goal is to extract that information at upload time and to store it in the database so that it can be used later. The aim of this project is to use the extracted information for implementing Sorting by different attributes(such as date taken, color, size, person) and also for creating multiple views in Gallery. The different views that I have thought of are:

  • Photo Calendar (Multiple views: Year, Month, Day)
  • Location View (Based on the location)

There are a couple of reasons I chose this project and they are as follows:

Important for ownCloud: Yes, one of the reasons I chose this project is because I think it is important. Not only will it help the Gallery app, it will also be useful for other apps. The information extracted from the images can be used for a number of features. For example:

  • Sorting based on more attributes, such as date modified, color, person-in-picture.
  • My own idea: Virtual Views such as Photo Calendar, Location View.

My Interest in this Project: The second reason why I chose this project is because of my own Interest. After working with the Gallery App for about 2-3 weeks, I realized that the app would look much better if we could add a few more virtual views like the ones I mentioned above. This is possible only if we extract the metaData from the images.

ownCloud Demo

Last but not least, we get to the ownCloud Demo. This GSOC project is done by a known ownCloud contributor: Michael Grosser. We can even point to some videos from his talks at previous ownCloud Contributor Conferences like this one about ownCloud Demo:

Michael is 24 years old, studied economics and is doing psychology now. He’s very active in open source, from Gitlab and Kubernetes to ownCloud. He does most of his hacking in Go, Python and a bit of PHP.

Why did you decide to apply for a GSOC?

Since I was contributing my time to the open source ownCloud project since 2011, especially running the demo.owncloud.org service, the idea to be able to push this involvement to another level was always tempting. With GSoC 2016 this idea became reality and I am able to improve upon my work from the last 5+ years. This will enable to push the quality of the demo up even further.

So what exactly will you do?

The main concept is to move to a single user demo, which allows for a better, faster and more secure user experience. To enable this move a backend infrastructure based on kubernetes is planned to be leveraged. With this change the operational burden should be lightened and maintenance windows can be reduced even further. Various optional improvements are considered and will be added as time permits.

An important benefit of this work is that the existing scripts and tools will end up cleaner and standardized in our github repository, allowing others like service providers, to set up their own ownCloud demo!

GSOC progress

Over the coming weeks, the students will get to know the project, their mentors and the code. Next month or the month after (depending on university assignments and such), coding will start in earnest. We at ownCloud are looking forward to the work of the students, their input and contributions–also beyond code! And, of course, we wish them and the many others who contribute to ownCloud’s success, a good, fun, educational and rewarding experience.


One Response to “ownCloud and Google Summer of Code”

  1. OwnClouder

    Awesome with the enthusiasm and work. If someone can point Tahaa to MailInABox & its developer Josh that would be fantastic to merge the work of these two. He already uses OwnCloud for part of it & it works well.

Comments are closed.