A Summer to Mentor

This summer I am mentoring Justin Potts – a university intern working on improving Mozilla’s add-ons related test automation, and Ana Ribeiro – an Outreachy participant working on enhancing the pytest-html plugin.

It’s not my first time working with Justin, who has been a regular team contributor for a few years now, and last summer helped me to get the pytest-selenium plugin released. It certainly helped to have previous experience working with Justin when deciding to take on the official role as mentor for his first internship. Unfortunately, his project is rather difficult to define, as he’s been working on a number of things, though mostly they are related to Firefox add-ons and running automated tests. There’s no shortage of challenging tasks for Justin to work on, and he’s taking them on with the enthusiasm that I expected he would. You can read more about Justin’s internship on his blog.

Ana’s project grew out of a security exploit discovered in Jenkins, which led to the introduction of the Content-Security-Policy  header for static files being served. This meant that the fancy HTML reports generated by pytest-html were broken due to the use of JavaScript, inline CSS, and inline images. Along with a few other enhancements, providing a CSP friendly from the plugin became a perfect candidate project for Outreachy. As part of her application, Ana contributed a patch for pytest-variables, and I was impressed with her level of communication over the patch. To get Ana familiar with the plugin, her initial contributions were not related to the CSP issue, but she’s now making good progress on this. You can read more about Ana’s Outreachy project on her dedicated blog.

So far I have mostly enjoyed the experience of being a mentor – it especially feels great to see the results that Justin and Ana are producing. Probably the most challenging aspect for me is being remote – Justin is based in Mountain View, California, and Ana is based in Brazil. It’s hard to feel a connection when you’re dependent on instant messages and video conferencing, though I suspect it’s probably harder for them than it is for me. Fortunately, I did get to work with them a little in London during the all hands, and then some more with Ana in Freiburg during the pytest sprint.

There are still a few weeks left for their projects, and I’m hoping they’ll both be able to conclude them to their satisfaction!