GSoC SupportFlow v0.3 is released!

We are happy to announce SupportFlow v0.3 is released. Some of its new features are:

  • Recently created tickets with no reply widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. in dashboard
  • Ticket assigned to current agent widget in dashboard
  • Customer recent ticket widget in view ticket page showing recent tickets created by customers
  • Allow agents to add their signatures to the tickets
  • Allow respondents to allow basic HTMLHTML HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a markup language that is used in the development of web pages and websites. tags in reply
  • Autosaving ticket data after regular interval
  • Easy creation of web based support forms using [[supportflow_submissionform]] shortcodeShortcode A shortcode is a placeholder used within a WordPress post, page, or widget to insert a form or function generated by a plugin in a specific location on your site.
  • Allow filtering tickets with now owner
  • Several minor UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing. changes
  • Preventing race conditions in cron jobs
  • Save attachment more securely by adding random characters to it
  • Added grunt to minify resources automatically
  • Serving minified resources in production environment
  • Some refactoring of existing source code

Request for Feedback :

You can test its online demo (with username/password: admin/admin)  or download it from here. To give feedback either comment on this post or create an issue here

#gsoc, #gsoc-2014

SupportFlow v0.2 released

We have released version 0.2 of the SupportFlow which can be downloaded from WordPress pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party directory.

Current release includes:

  • A statistics page
  • Ability to E-Mail whole conversation to anyone
  • Apart from this there are dozens of minor UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing., UXUX UX is an acronym for User Experience - the way the user uses the UI. Think ‘what they are doing’ and less about how they do it. changes along with bug fixes

Request for Feedback :

Again you can test its online demo (with username/password: admin/admin) . To give feedback either comment on this post or create an issue here

#gsoc, #gsoc-2014, #supportflow

GSoC SupportFlow online demo

This is a follow to my last blog post. I have launched an online demo of SupportFlow which anyone can access. To work with SupportFlow you need to add atleast one E-Mail account. I have also created a demo E-Mail account for you to test it. You can also send E-Mails to this E-Mail ID and they will be shown in SupportFlow admin panel. Note: E-Mails can take upto 15 minutes to show up here.


Here are WP login details:

URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.orghttp://

Username: admin

Password: admin


Sample E-Mail account

IMAP Host:

IMAP Port: 993

IMAP SSLSSL Secure Socket Layer - Encryption from the server to the browser and back. Prevents prying eyes from seeing what you are sending between your browser and the server.: True

SMTP Host:

SMTP Port: 465



Password: cqweovuplkcqnthd


How to give feedback

  • Comment in this post
  • E-Mail it to Varun(dt)VarunAgw(dt)com
  • Create an issue here

#gsoc, #gsoc-2014

GSoC primary mentors have been reminded that midterm…

GSoC primary mentors have been reminded that midterm evaluations for their students are due this week.

#gsoc, #gsoc-2014

GSoC Students Accepted

I’m very pleased to announce this year’s cohort of Google Summer of Code students. We’ll be working with 5 students for the summer, spanning several areas of the project. Please join me in congratulating the following students on their acceptance into the program:

  • Arian Allenson M. Valdez (secretmapper) — Working on GlotPress UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing. and profiles with Yoav Farhi and Marko Heijnen as mentors
  • Gautam Gupta (gautamgupta) — Working on bbPressbbPress Free, open source software built on top of WordPress for easily creating forums on sites. improvements with John James Jacoby and Stephen Edgar as mentors
  • Janneke Van Dorpe (avryl) — Working on front-end editing/content blocks with Gregory Cornelius and Aaron Jorbin as mentors
  • Nick Halsey (celloexpressions) — Working on adding custom menus to the customizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings. with Erick Hitter and Konstantin Obenland as mentors
  • Varun Agrawal (VarunAgw) — Working on SupportPress as a pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party with Ian Dunn, Aaron Campbell, and Alex Mills as mentors

Once we’ve had a meeting with each of the students and their mentoring teams, a revised scope will be published so the community can check out the proposed projects. Each student will post weekly updates to an appropriate team blog to keep everyone up to date and to get feedback:

  • Janneke and Nick will post their updates on /coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress.
  • Varun will post updates here on /community
  • Secretmapper will post updates to
  • Gautam will post updates to

We’ll set up some livestreamed prototype demos at midterm so everyone can see the projects in action. In the meantime, congratulations to all the students!

#gsoc, #gsoc2014

GSoC Update — De-duplication Period

We are now in the de-duplication period of the GSoC application process. This means we’ve submitted to Google our choices for which students we’d like to work with over the summer, as have the other 189 mentoring organizations, and now we’re in the process of figuring out which students should work where, in cases where a student was accepted by more than one project. We are not allowed to say anything about whom we’ve chosen until Google announces the accepted students, as the de-duprication period often shakes up those lists.

As each organization contacts other organizations and the students in question and choices are made, organizations that “lose” a student get to choose another to fill the slot. This can lead to a new duplication, which is why nothing gets announced until there are no remaining duplications. This process will last until Friday, April 18th, when the final de-duplication meeting will happen in IRC at #gsoc at 19:00 UTC.

Based on the outcome of that meeting, the official student list will be announced by Google on Monday, April 21, and at that point the community bonding period begins. If we don’t have any duplication issues, we’ll be accepting six GSoC students this year, but the final number won’t be set until that last de-duplication. When Google announces, we’ll announce our student/mentor matchups on our own team blogs as well.


WordCamp Mobile App We put it on the…

WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. Mobile App!

We put it on the GSoC Ideas list, and there are some students interested. I want to give them all the same feature set to respond to (most wrote proposals basically just porting the WC sites to mobile). Without going too crazy, and remembering this is a summer job for one college student, what would make sense to include?

  • All the info that’s on the WC site in standardized format (location/map, schedule, etc)
  • Ability to rate sessions/speakers
  • Follow Twitter mentions and official tweets in one stream (@wchogwarts + #WCHOG), and/or full tagregator stream
  • Push notifications (opt-in) based on organizer posts to [blog? a cpt? something else?] to notify of day-of time-sensitive things like lunch being served, closing remarks starting, lost laptop, etc.
  • Take the follow up survey once event is over
  • Check in/out of event?
  • Form to contact on-site organizers (emergency, safety, code of conduct, lost and found, etc)

What would like to do from your phone at a WordCamp?

#gsoc, #mobile, #wordcamps

FYI we were accepted as a mentoring organization…

FYI, we were accepted as a mentoring organization for GSoC!

#gsoc, #gsoc2014

GSoC 2014 Application

Our application for GSoC 2014 has been submitted. Ever wonder what kind of questions I have to answer in our application? In the interest of transparency, here’s how I answered the application questions.

Why is your organization applying to participate in Google Summer of Code 2014? What do you hope to gain by participating?

We are applying because we have had a good experience in the past, and each time we participate in GSoC we make our program better. It’s a good opportunity to reach students who might not otherwise have considered contributing to WordPress, and even if they don’t stick around as frequent contributors, it helps us to evaluate how we ramp up and communicate with new contributors.

How many potential mentors do you have for this year’s program? What criteria did you use to select them?
We have more than 20 potential mentors, selected from our trusted core contributorsCore Contributors Core contributors are those who have worked on a release of WordPress, by creating the functions or finding and patching bugs. These contributions are done through Trac., not random project users. Most of our potential mentors have previously mentored either a GSoC project or a new contributor to the project, while those who have not will be given mentor training if we are selected as a participating organization. The mentor pool includes lead developers, component owners, and contributors with commit access, to help ensure that projects won’t lag waiting for that level of attention.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?
We have a good system worked out based on past years that involves requiring weekly blog posts and check-ins, with an escalating warning system if they miss deadlines resulting in a failing grade if they just don’t show up. We also hope to minimize this as in the past by really getting to know our applicants in IRC before making selections.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?
All projects are assigned 2 mentors, so that risk is minimal, along with the fact that most of our mentor pool includes folks who have high levels of responsibility in the project and are omnipresent in IRC, so disappearance is really only a risk in case of illness. In that case, the 2nd mentor takes a larger role, and one of our backup/floater mentors would step in as a 2nd (we have about a dozen folks who will be backup/floater mentors in addition to the 20+ available to take point with a specific student).

What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project’s community before and during the program?
Before: We ask them to submit a patch to a tracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub. ticket so that we can make sure they are familiar with the codebase, and that creates some community interaction. We host pre-application IRC chats in our #wordpress-gsoc channel at posted times with specific mentors, which have been the most helpful in the past. We also have applicants send their proposal to the wp-hackers list for feedback, but the IRC chats and the trac tickets are far more helpful in terms of creating connection.

During: Each student posts their weekly updates right to the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. team’s blog so the full core community is able to follow along and comment/give suggestions and feedback. We also set up IRC chats around midterm and at the end of the GSoC cycle for students to talk about and/or show off their projects and take questions from the community.

What will you do to encourage your accepted students to stick with the project after Google Summer of Code concludes?
This is the toughest thing. We just did a survey of all past GSoC students with WordPress to get some feedback on their experience looking back, and this year we’re going to try some scheduled post-GSoC communications from mentors and the program admin to try to recapture lost interest, and include them in an opt-in contributor mailing list so that if they’re not contributing right after GSoC because they’re busy with school, they can at least be reminded that we’re here, and that cool stuff is going on they might want to get involved in. We have traditionally retained a couple of students each year as long-term contributors, while the others tend to move on and just do a casual contribution now and then based on their personal needs.

Are you a new organization who has a Googler or other organization to vouch for you? If so, please list their name(s) here.

Are you an established or larger organization who would like to vouch for a new organization applying this year? If so, please list their name(s) here.
We are a veteran organization, though it’s probably worth mentioning that if we’re accepted, the smaller BuddyPress, bbPressbbPress Free, open source software built on top of WordPress for easily creating forums on sites., and GlotPress sister projects would be included in our organization’s project ideas rather than each project applying independently. This is because while there are great mentors in each sister project, they don’t really have the time/people to handle administration as they are all-volunteer rather than having some people paid to work on the projects full-time as WordPress has.

If you chose “veteran” in the organization profile dropdown, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation. Please also list your pass/fail rate for each year.
We’ve been a mentoring organization 6 times. We’ve had a number of successes with GSoC students becoming important contributors. For example:

  • Dion Hulse, GSoC 2007 & 2008, now a core committer and has been a GSoC mentor
  • Daryl Koopersmith, GSoC 2009 & 2010, was a core committer and worked full-time on core until last year when he went to work for Medium, but still consults with the core team when we need his help, and has been a GSoC mentor
  • Justin Shreve, GSoC 2009 & 2010, hired by Automattic and has been a GSoC mentor
  • Andrew Nacin, GSoC 2010, now a lead developer and has been a GSoC mentor

There are more success stories of people who became regular core contributors, but you get the picture. It’s worth noting that even we’ve also had cases where even if a specific GSoC project failed, the student still wound up being a success story in terms of the overall project by organizing events, getting involved with a WordPress-based business, writing plugins or themes for the free directories, etc.

The main challenge is usually choosing the right students so that our mentoring time is put to the best use. Someone failing because we misjudged their abilities doesn’t really happen anymore; if someone fails it’s usually because they wind up with too many summer commitments and they decide GSoC is the one to go, and they talk it out with their mentors rather than just disappearing. We’ve gotten pretty good at not over-extending ourselves by taking on too many students, and have donated spots back to the pool each year rather than take on more students if we’re not 100% confident about their chances of success and/or our ability to provide them with proper guidance.

Year: # of students, pass/fail, pass rate
2007: 10 students*
2008: 6 students*
2009: 8 students, 6/2, 75%
2010: 15 students,13/2, 87%
2011: 12 students, 10/2, 83%
2013: 6 students, 5/1, 83%

*The administrator for 2007/2008 didn’t keep records that we can find re pass/fail rates, but he says he thinks they didn’t fail anyone.

If you are a new organization, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?

Is there anything else we should know or you’d like to tell us that doesn’t fit anywhere else on the application?
We are also beginning a college outreach program, so if accepted to GSoC this year, we’ll include that in our outreach activities.

How likely are we to be accepted? The more good, fleshed-out ideas with possible mentors attached, the better our chances. Not having enough of those is what left us out in the cold in 2012. For some overall GSoC perspective:

  • In 2013, 177 of 417 mentoring orgs were accepted; 4144 students submitted 5999 proposals, of which 1192 were accepted.
  • In 2012, 180 of 406 orgs and 1212 of 6685 proposals (by 4258 students) were accepted.
  • In 2011, 175 of 417 orgs and 1116 of 5474 proposals (by 3731 students) were accepted.
  • In 2010, 151 of 367 orgs and 1026 of 5539 proposals (by 3464 students) were accepted.

We’ll find out on February 24 if we are being accepted as a mentoring organization.

#gsoc, #gsoc2014

Mentorship Wednesday I’ll be writing up posts today…

Mentorship Wednesday! I’ll be writing up posts today for all the contributor teams about mentorship programs:

  • A one-month beginning contributor ramp-up mentorship
  • A three-month project mentorship
  • Specific third-party programs like GSoC and OPW

I’ll be starting the GSoC application process this week (deadline to apply is Feb 14). I would like to have a backup administrator for the GSoC program that isn’t someone heavily involved in development of coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress., but someone with some free time and good project management skills. Responsibilities would be helping wrangle potential mentors to write up project descriptions and bios in the next week or so, and then if we’re accepted, helping to oversee the selection of students/mentor pairings (including running a couple of irc chats), and once it starts, helping with weekly check-ins. If anyone is interested in helping out with this, hands up in the comments. Note: because this program is important to us, this would not be something I’d feel comfortable handing over to someone brand new to the community. Familiarity with the WordPress project and involvement in some way (core, forums, docs, WordCamps, etc) would be desired, so that there’s some level of trust already established.

Last year we had 2 OPW interns, one in core and one in support. Unlike GSoC, for OPW we have to raise the 5k per intern ourselves (in 2013, Automattic provided the funding). I’ll be reaching out to a couple of hosting companies and such this week to see if they’d want to sponsor an intern, but in the meantime we would need to be better organized. We have the GSoC program down pretty well, but we need similar structures in place for the other groups (OPW is available for any contributor area, not just code). If we de decide to participate, will need a backup admin for this as well.

One-Month Program, Three-Month Program
Time to try a pilot for our own official mentorship program. After discussing it with a bunch of different people who’ve asked about having such a program and a bunch who’d be in the position of mentoring, here’s what I came up with that I’d like to try as a pilot this spring (before the GSoC coding period).

  • One-Month Program. For each group, devise a 4 week introduction to contributing with that group that focuses on hands-on practice. A mentor will connect with mentee(s) once per week officially, and may be in contact as needed throughout. Each week will have a goal or set of goals as well as homework for practice (example: in the week of learning how to work with svn, homework might be to create 5 patches and upload them to a ticket we use for training purposes). The most common thing I hear from people is that they learn how at a dev day or meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on will help you find options in your area., but forget the steps and don’t want to sound dumb if they ask again, so focusing on repetition is the key idea with this.
  • Three-Month Program. Basically just like GSoC/OPW, but we run it ourselves, people don’t get paid, and we do it each season.

For the one-month beginner version, in keeping with the pilot aspect I’d like to run them in two varieties.
1. One-on-one mentor-mentee pairings.
2. Small cohorts. One mentor (plus backup mentor) for a group of 3-10 new contributors.
The idea behind trying both is to see if we get different results with one-on-one vs small classes where the mentees can also bond with each other and help each other as they go along. If it does work better, that would be awesome in terms of scalability. We can also record the weekly mentor chats/lessons for people to follow along on their own even if they’re not in the program.

#gsoc, #opw