OS Academy a big success for Koha

Over the last 2 weeks Catalyst has been running a pilot of an ‘Academy’ for high school age students. I was very happy to be a part of what, in my opinion, turned out to be a very well run and most worthwhile exercise. During the first week the students were treated to tutorial sessions, including installing ubuntu on their laptops, using git, perl, php, postgresql, configuring a server, copyright, licenses, freedom, community, graphics (inkscape & the gimp), html css and javascript. Quite a list now I see it all written down.

The second week the students split up into teams to work on some existing free software projects. I had the great fortune to have 4 most able students to work with me on Koha. I asked if they were happy with me to use their names in my blog post and they were ok with that, so in order to give credit where credit is due they are:

  • John Copeland
  • Claudia Forsman
  • Zach Sims
  • Stephanie Hogan

So, what do you do with 4 students, mostly new to linux and all new to perl? I decided to throw them in the deep and tackle unit testing. To my great pleasure and their credit, none of them sunk, they all managed to swim and in the first day of project work, they all wrote one unit test and got a commit to their name. I then decided that this was too easy, so set them a challenge, at the start of the week we had 46.8% subroutine coverage by unit tests 1209 out of 2583. I said if we can get to 50% I’d buy them desert on friday (after their pizza lunch). Now that’s a pretty big ask but by Friday lunch time, they had hit 50.1% with 1293 subroutines now covered, thats tests for 84 subroutines in 4 days (two days were half days), how’s that for your first week of perl.

Meanwhile, after the first day, Claudia and Stephanie began work on some new icons for itemtypes or collection codes in Koha. Claudia took an existing set that had big icons, resized them all to a consistent size and gave them all transparent backgrounds, these have now been committed to Koha, and will be in the 3.4.0 release (the unit tests will be in the forthcoming 3.2.3 release). Stephanie began drawing a whole new set, which I’m hoping will be finished for 3.4.0. On Thursday and Friday, Zach and Claudia worked on a KohaKids logo as well as experimenting with changing the css on the opac. John kept on working on unit tests, in fact he only stopped on Friday when the network got reconfigured for Tokemon. Zach ended the week with 8 commits, John 6, Claudia 2 and Stephanie 1, not that git commits are a measure of anything other than git commits, but it’s a fun little statistic anyway.

I was hugely impressed by their work ethic, skill and desire to learn, and I extend my thanks to them, all the other students, the other people who presented or mentored during project work, and of course the facilitator, Ian, who did a magnificent job.

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