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GSoC/2014/Ideas

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This page is based on the ideas page of 2013.

Contents

General Information

phpBB is applying to participate as a mentor organisation in Google Summer of Code 2014. If you are a student please read GSoC/2014/Instructions for application instructions. On this page you can find ideas for projects which might inspire your application. Keep in mind that you may also suggest your own project if you have a great idea for improving phpBB.

If you are a mentor, please add yourself to the list of available mentors of ideas that you think you could mentor. Feel free to add further ideas, preferably based on already discussed RFCs from Area51

Ideas

phpBB Core

Social Sharing Features

Summary: Create an extensible system supporting via an object oriented plugin system any number of 3rd party services to share content to. There may be different options, sharing a link to a topic or a particular post or maybe even a forum, or sharing complete posts or extracts of posts.

Expected results: User interface changes for sharing buttons/dialogs/etc. as well as an administration control panel page with options on configuring the various services which might require API keys to work. A extensible interface that allows extensions to supply further sharing backends.

Knowledge Prerequisite: Object-oriented PHP and Javascript required, familiarity with social sharing APIs (Facebook/Twitter) useful but not mandatory.

Available Mentors: Nils Adermann

Improved E-mail Options

Summary: The current emailing options in phpBB are somewhat lacking. Mass-emails can only be sent to specific users or a single specified group (not multiple groups and users). Administrators cannot choose specific or all forums to trigger notifications for all users. Subscriptions are currently limited to specific forums; there is no way to subscribe to all forums with one click). This is a very commonly requested feature for small community forums where users do not regularly check for updates.

Expected results: Merge the gap between forums and something like Google Groups. Improve the email notifications system for users as well as the mass-emailing system for administrators. Maintain "good practices" philosophy and the ability for users to opt not to receive notifications even if the administrator sets the feature enabled by default.

Knowledge Prerequisite: PHP, familiarity with "good email practices"

Available Mentors: Nils Adermann, Andreas Fischer

Extending Custom Profile Fields

Summary: Currently phpBB has a number of hardcoded profile fields (mostly IM like: ICQ, WLM, Yahoo, AOL) as well as a system for custom profile fields (CPF), which can be specified by the board administrator. The hardcoded profile fields should be converted to CPFs. To ensure that we have the same functionality afterwards, it should be possible to sort and search user lists by CPF (configurable) in various places. When this is done, we should disable out dated profile fields for new installations and add newer services like Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These new fields as well as converting the hardcoded once might also require adding new profile field types (Allowing email address and verifying them, and similar stuff)

Knowledge Prerequisite: PHP, HTML

Further Information: RFC for conversion on Area51, RFC for modernizing on Area51, RFC for more types on Area51, Idea on phpBB.com

Available Mentors: Joas Schilling

Command Line Interface

Summary: A number of maintenance tasks, such as updating a forum could be made more accessible to system administrators by making them run on a console. Some tasks, for example phpBB's cron can already be run on the console and it would be great to unify these into a single phpBB CLI utility. Further functionality could include installing and updating phpBB, the management of extensions or modifying phpBB configuration settings. The command line interface should be built using the Symfony Console component. Please keep in mind that you should not duplicate code. So when building a command line interface for something that already has a web interface you will be expected to refactor the web interface into a backend that can be shared by the web frontend and the command line utility. When planning command line features you need to consider how much time this step will consume.

Expected results: A phpBB command line utility making a number of administrative and maintenance available without a web browser. Clear separation of functionality into reusable APIs shared by web based and command line based tools, and a command line frontend.

Knowledge Prerequisite: Object-oriented PHP required, familiarity with command line utilities useful but not mandatory.

Further Information: RFC on Area51

Available Mentors: Nils Adermann, Andreas Fischer

Website

Area51/Development Micro-Site

Brief Explanation: Area51 is a micro-site for phpBB.com for development of phpBB. It contains the Continuous Integration, Development Discussion Board, API Documentation, Development Wiki, Bug Tracker and more. We would like this revamped in either a frontend way (new design that can have a header shared by all the web applications and design for the main informational pages) or new pages/features or both. Some suggested changes are below but you are not just limited to these and can suggest others in your proposal:

  • A New Getting Involved Page
  • More Statistics using data from Bamboo (CI), JIRA (Bug Tracker), Github and the development board
  • Intergration with JIRA, Bamboo and Github
  • Moving to phpDocumenter2 for API Documentation
  • New Area51 Style
  • Creating a parser for events docblocks and a UI to present the documentation in (Could be made a plugin for phpDocumenter2 if you choose)


Expected Results: We expect all proposed features/improvements/changes completed. It should be able to be broken down into smaller manageable phases/chunks (one per feature or bug fix) and your timeline should detail these phases.

Existing Code: https://github.com/phpbb/area51

Knowledge Prerequisites: PHP (Essential), Web Design & Usability (Essential), HTML/CSS (Essential), Symfony (Preferred), Git (Preferred), Javascript (Useful).

Available Mentors: Yuriy Rusko, Michael Cullum

Extensions

In 3.1, we would like to encourage the creation of extensions, rather than MODs, for 3rd party contributions. The major difference between the two is that MODs require a core code modification of some kind, whereas extensions are designed to be self-contained plugins that modify behaviour through responding to events triggered in core code, rather than modification of the code.

The difference between the two is rather drastic so we would like to provide a few real-world examples. MOD authors can then familiarise themselves with the new extension system by looking at these. While we do not necessarily want all GSoC students to focus on creating extensions, as opposed to improving the core project itself, we would appreciate one or two extensions to act as fully-functional examples. As a student, you will not be required to support or maintain the extension beyond the timeframe of GSoC, unless you wish to do so. And we certainly hope you'll stick around!

It is a good idea to become familiar with the basic aspects of the extensions system prior to the start of GSoC. However, the extension you create is going to be one of the first extensions ever built, so the examples available to you are very limited. You are of course welcome to ask any questions you might have on IRC.

Karma

Summary: The idea behind this extension is to add a way for users to publicly give positive or negative feedback about a user based on their contributions to the community (i.e. posts and topics, but should have a way for other extensions to add items that can receive Karma). Parts of this extension were already created in GSoC 2013: GSoC 2013 Karma Extension. You will finish this extension by completing not fully finished features like the MCP implementation, updating it to incoporate any recent changes to phpBB 3.1 and the extension system, and possibly improving any already existing code.

Expected results: Creation of a fully functional extension that adds a Karma system.

Knowledge prerequisites: PHP, HTML, Javascript/jQuery

Available Mentors: Joas Schilling, Marc Alexander

Extension Pre-Validator

Summary: The phpBB.com currently provides MOD authors with a MOD Pre-Validator that checks a Modifcation for any common mistakes, misused functions, and similar issues that might cause major flaws and prevent MODs from being approved to the phpBB.com customisation database. The Extension Pre-Validator would be the counterpart for Extensions. It will check against the phpBB 3.1 coding guidelines, packaging rules for Extensions, deprecated uses of functions and classes in phpBB 3.1, and similar issues. As it will mainly be used for the customisation database and on websites, it should be possible to call the EPV like a common script on a website or from the customisation database (implementation in the customisation database is however not part of the task). All tests the EPV runs should be covered by unit tests.

Expected results: A fully functional testing suite for Extensions that checks for common issues

Knowledge prerequisites: PHP, HTML, Git (Preferred), Symfony (Preferred)

Available Mentors: Joas Schilling, Marc Alexander

Your Own

You do not have to use one of the ideas listed here. For non-website ideas, RFCs on Area51 are a good source of ideas as they represent what our users already told us they want. However, if you propose an original idea it will have a higher chance of being accepted if it satisfies the following two criteria:

  1. Checkpointable - it should be possible to break down your project into pieces that are by themselves meaningful. In practical terms, this means you should be sending a pull request every 1-2 weeks reflecting your work during that period, and the pull request should be individually mergeable. Avoid proposing a project that cannot be split into 1-2 week chunks.
  2. Likely to be completed - this involves several factors, but at the end of the day the goal is for your work to be finished within the GSoC timeframe. You should start by detailing components of your project to sufficient extent that they can be estimated. Then, honestly estimate how long you think it will take you. Then double that estimate. If you exceed 3 months, your proposal is probably too ambitious and you should reduce its scope.

Contacts

These are all the people affiliated with phpBB who are assisting with the program as (backup) mentors or (backup) org admins. Their IRC Nicks are listed and you can find them on freenode in #phpbb-dev. They can help you with anything related to the ideas they are mentoring or general GSoC queries.

Org Admins:

  • Main: Yuriy Rusko - IRC: Marshalrusty OR YuriyRusko // Email: operations@phpbb.com // Timezone: UTC -5
  • Backup: Patrick Webster - IRC: Noxwizard // Timezone: UTC -6


Mentors:

  • Nils Adermann - IRC: naderman // Email: naderman@phpbb.com // Timezone: UTC +1 // Focus: Core Ideas
  • Andreas Fischer - IRC: bantu // Email: bantu@phpbb.com // Timezone: UTC +1 // Focus: Core Ideas
  • Joas Schilling - IRC: nickvergessen // Timezone: UTC +1 // Focus: Core Ideas & Extension Ideas
  • Yuriy Rusko - IRC: Marshalrusty OR YuriyRusko // Email: operations@phpbb.com // Timezone: UTC -5 // Focus: Website Ideas
  • Michael Cullum - IRC: MichaelC // Email: michael@phpbb.com // Timezone: UTC // Focus: Website Ideas
  • Marc Alexander - IRC: Marc // Timezone: UTC +1 // Focus: Extension Ideas