My Journey to GSoC 2022

Published: 06/29/2022

About Me

Hi! I'm Shivam, currently pursuing my bachelor's (expected 2024) in Production and Industrial engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee.

I was introduced to the C programming language through the Introduction to programming course in my first year of college. I always liked computers, and I was overwhelmed by printing "hello world" in the terminal. The course continued to teach us data structures and algorithms. It was a lot of fun competing with friends over a programming question. I learned python on my own and did a lot of projects. After learning basic programming, I participated in many hackathons and won some, but lost a lot. Coding was enjoyable, and I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. In my second semester, I learned about open-source, git, and GitHub. I came across some computer graphics enthusiasts in my college; they told me that they created a 2D game engine on their own using OpenGL. This gave me enough motivation to learn OpenGL and basic computer graphics.

Intro to Open-Source and GSoC

In October 2021, I participated in Hactoberfest and completed it successfully. I learned a lot about Free and Open Source Software during this time. I heard about GSoC around this time from one of my seniors and asked him about the program.

I went through the previous year's accepted organizations list and shortlisted 2-3 organizations. I started contributing to a few projects based on android and Kotlin, but I lost interest after some time. It was about December, and I hadn't chosen any organization yet.

I heard about FURY from one of my seniors. I started looking at its docs. Picked up some books from the library to brush up on my concepts of computer graphics. The documentation of FURY is remarkable. I created my first pull request by improving one of the tutorials, and It got merged in a few days.

I started looking at the source code of FURY and tried to understand it again. I read the API reference part of FURY docs this time along with the documentation of VTK. I also tried to solve some of the open issues. I created a few pull requests for the same. My first contribution was in the fury primitive class, I created a sphere primitive (inspired by the sphere in Blender).

I started looking at bugs and improvements that can be made to the source code and created PRs for the same. During this time I was also learning how computer graphics work from the UCSC lectures & OpenGL by Victor Gordon.

After the accepted organizations were announced, I was so happy that FURY got selected this year for GSoC and went straight to the Ideas list. The first project idea was glTF Integration. I heard about the glTF file format before but didn't know how it works. So I went straight through the reference materials provided on the wiki. I read a lot of documentation by the Khronos group. I also tried to implement a basic glTF loader during this time using VTK's built-in glTFReader.

I also liked the Improve UI drawing project idea (I had a basic understanding of line drawing algorithms and rasterizations at that time) and thought I'll make a proposal for that too. After completing my proposal for glTF integration I started my research on this one too.

I started writing the proposal early so that I could get my proposal reviewed at least once with the project mentors. I almost forgot the fact that I had my end-term examinations at hand (Somehow I managed to pass all of my courses), I kept contributing to the project till the end of April 2022.

Code contributions:

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The Day

May 18: I was a bit anxious since on May 18th the GSoC website was showing my proposal for glTF integration had been rejected. (p.s. maybe it was a bug of some sort that they fixed later on).

May 20: I woke up very early in the morning and started checking the contributor's profile. I kept checking for new emails but didn't receive any emails that day. "The result will be announced at 11:30 PM, isn't it? " My dad said, It was 8:00 AM IST. I called my friends in the night to join me on discord, I was talking to them and refreshing the GSoC site at the same time. One of my friends shouted that he got selected in NumFocus. I refreshed the page again, my proposal for glTF Integration was accepted. I can't express what I felt at that moment. I told my friends and my parents, they were happy for me and I got a lot of blessings :). I received an official email the next day.