Psi Plugins Soc 2006
The aim of this project is to provide both a plugin system and, as a plugin, a Python scripting interface.
The original proposal
Plugin and scripting support for rapid protocol prototyping in Psi
Psi is a featureful, cross-platform Jabber client written in C++ using the Qt toolkit. Psi's traditional development cycle has focused on producing a stable, responsive client, and many users choose it for this reason. This thorough approach, however, coupled with the compiled nature of C++/Qt makes it difficult for users to customise their client. A C++/Qt plugin interface would allow users to share modifications and customisations without a need to either patch their builds, or to submit to the patch review process. Previous investigation has resulted in the beginnings of a plugin loader, but no plugin interface. The first section of this project proposal is to merge the previous plugin work into the current mainline and to write an abstraction interface, such that plugins need not access Psi's internals. It is expected that the first half of the project time would be spent on this, with priority on protocol abstraction in the interface rather than gui modification. If this work were to be completed early, there is the possibility to work on a configuration interface using Jabber data forms.
The second half of the project time would be spent on the development of a Python plugin, and the associated scripting interface. A scripting interface using a popular, high-level, easy to read/write language such as Python provides two very useful features. The first and potentially most obvious of these is that it allows users to add features to the client with use of nothing more than a text editor. The less obvious advantage is that it allows the Psi developers and JEP authors to rapidly prototype new features. The final days of the project would be spent, depending upon the time constraints, developing example scripts.
Plugin and scripting support are very frequently requested features for Psi so this would be a project benefitting many users and coupled with the ability to prototype protocol extensions easily would be a valuable contribution to the Jabber community in general, where multiple protocol implementations are important.
I'm a 24 year old PhD Student studying Multi-objective optimisation techniques using simulated annealing algorithms in the Computer Science department of Exeter University (UK). I hold a BSc(Hons) degree in Computer Science from the University of Exeter, with first class honours. I received 'best results' awards in both my first and second years of my degree, and a first class grade my final-year project, which studied parallel implementations of multi-objective genetic algorithms with the focus on increased autonomy of nodes (allowing each machine to optimise a subset of the search space), written in C++. Degree modules relevant to a Summer of Code placement include a study of HCI, object-oriented programming in Java, GUI design, compiler creation, other languages such as LISP and assembly, system design, formal modelling and logic.
I have previously been a developer for two OSS projects, a psuedo-AI chatbot script (http://bmotion.sf.net) and the Psi Jabber client (http://psi-im.org). I've been contributing to Psi for approximately four years and have more recently been managing the project; as such I have a reasonable understanding of the issues involved in this project (and the Psi codebase) and am confident a solution can be produced in the timeframe. I am currently at the write-up stage of my thesis, aiming to be splitting my time between that and SoC for the start of June and thereafter dedicating it to SoC. This is the only SoC project I have applied for and I've not previously participated in the program.