Outreachy: welcoming new contributors to open source

For the first time, Wagtail is joining Outreachy’s open source internships program

Outreachy - Internships supporting diversity in Free and Open Source Software

As an experienced open source contributor, onboarding newcomers into the world of open source is amongst the most rewarding tasks. After a successful participation to this year’s Google Summer of Code, we’re back at it already with Outreachy, joining their December 2022 cohort.

What is Outreachy

Outreachy provides internships in open source and open science. The program provides internships to people subject to systemic bias and impacted by under-representation in the technical industry where they are living. Internships are fully remote, over 3 months, with interns receiving a fair stipend to support their work.

For Wagtail, this type of program is one of the best ways to work with more diverse contributors. We’re elated to have been selected, and hope we’ll get to work with between one and three new contributors this year.

The project ideas

Compared to Google Summer of Code, Outreachy only allows mentors to propose project ideas, rather than candidates. We’ve earmarked three project ideas.

A built-in accessibility checker for Wagtail

This project is fundamental to meeting our accessibility commitments. The primary goal is to integrate an existing accessibility test suite within the CMS in a way that takes advantage of the tool’s capabilities and Wagtail’s UI specificities. We envision this being part of Wagtail’s content previews: as the page content changes, authors see what the published page would look like, and get feedback on accessibility issues.

Here is a sneak peak at our first prototype:

Screenshot of a prototype accessibility checker built into Wagtail's live preview

For more information about this project, to ask questions and provide feedback, follow discussion #9262 Built-in Accessibility Checker on GitHub.

Improving Wagtail’s editor guide

This project follows through Hitansh Shah’s GSoC project, where he created a new site for the Editor Guide documentation, with support from the project mentors. The new site looks fabulous:

Editor Guide landing page before-after

Now the next step is simply to revamp the content! This wasn’t part of Hitansh’s project, and is the perfect follow-up. We’re also very happy to propose a project idea where there is no need for contributors to know how to code.

For more information about this project, to ask questions and provide feedback, follow discussion #116 Outreachy: Improve user guide documentation for Wagtail.

Stimulus for interactive widgets in Wagtail

Following the leadership of our contributor LB, our UI team has been carefully considering how to bring Wagtail’s JavaScript interactivity to modern standards. This project is the natural follow-up to LB’s excellent RFC #78 for us to adopt Stimulus: rolling it out across large swaths of the user interface.

The RFC is still going through the last stages of validation, so is the best way to follow up or comment on this project!

How to participate

For aspiring newcomers already accepted in the December 2022 Outreachy cohort, head over to our Outreachy 2022 wiki page for more information about Wagtail, good resources, and a list of initial tasks.

For everyone else, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the project ideas, and are also actively looking for additional support so we can confidently take on all three projects. Join us in #outreachy on Wagtail’s Slack workspace.

What’s next

We hope to hear from a lot of newcomers through the initial contribution period, where candidates get to know different communities and apply to projects. We’ll make sure to share more information about projects that are going ahead and their respective contributors once details are confirmed, towards the end of November.