Conclusion of my GSoC project 🍕

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GSoC python django inkscape

About My Project

My GSoC Project was to upgrade the Django-based Inkscape website to Django version 2.x (and ultimately to 3.x). The website used version 1.11 which had its End of extended support as Django calls it in 2020. Using this old version was a security risk and it would make the maintenance of the website much harder going forward.

Here is the link to the official GSoC page for my project:

https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/projects/#6584906785751040

An overview of what I did

The way I tackled this problem was that I didn't go head-on first with the upgrade but instead I started writing tests for the individual Django apps. I started with the forums app, then went on to the releases app.

Here are the Merge Requests for those tests:

Tests for Forums https://gitlab.com/inkscape/inkscape-web/-/merge_requests/88
Tests for Releases https://gitlab.com/inkscape/inkscape-web/-/merge_requests/89

The reason I wrote tests first is simple - to provide a safety net while upgrading. When I had completed the tests for the previously mentioned apps, I went on to write more tests 🙂 for the resources app but by then I had exhausted my testing creativity (what might someday be known as a Tester's Block.)

So, I instead starting working on the upgrade. Django has a really nice guide [1] on upgrading Django versions in its official docs. It gave a good overview of what needed to be done for an upgrade.

What is left

I have successfully upgraded the website from Django version 1.11 to 2.0.

As of writing this post, I am currently in the process of upgrading the website to Django 2.2. I also intend to finish writing tests for the remaining apps. This is going to take a while but I am happy that at least the upgrade will be complete within a week or so.

Here is the MR for the upgrade:

https://gitlab.com/inkscape/inkscape-web/-/merge_requests/90

What I learned

There are many things that I learned while doing the project. I wasn't familiar with web development in any way. I got to know about the backend side of things. I also gained a better understanding of how the web works in general - the request-response cycle, HTTP headers, and many such things.

I also have become more proficient in using vim. Particularly, I am at a level where I can write macros to do things quickly and I don't have to think while pressing dd to delete a line. I still feel though that there is much to learn in this marvelous editor that is vim.

I've gained an intermediate understanding of the Django framework. I can now think where I should use a Middleware or which Generic View would make sense in a particular situation. The part of Dango with which I became the most familiar is the testing framework. I also came to a realisation that writing unit tests within a framework is difficult! - because of so many moving parts. There is so much that Django does, sometimes it's difficult to just test that piece of code. Writing tests is hard in general I think 🤷

I advanced my Python knowledge too. I wrote a context manager to clear the cache which I am very much proud of. It's not the most functional piece of code, but just increases the quality-of-life. Like most other things, there is much much more to learn within Python. I haven't touched the ML side of things yet, just Django. GUI stuff interests me too, so I might try that... Who knows where Python will take me next 🚀

Finally, I've become a part of the Inkscape community, which is a very helpful and great community of contributors from various parts of the world, very different professions even. I am proud to have been able to contribute to such a great project that I myself use. (The favicon for my blog was designed by me in Inkscape 😉)

I would also like to thank my mentor Martin and the general Inkscape community for selecting me for the project. This was a very new experience for me, my first real contributions to FOSS, in many ways my magnum opus.

That's all I have to say for now, adieu...

Beginnings always hide themselves in ends
- Move On, Mike Posner

Footnotes

[1]https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/3.2/howto/upgrade-version/