Monday, April 23, 2012

GSoC 2012, this summer with OpenMRS!

WoW after all the hard effort I got selected into Google Summer of Code 2012 to work with OpenMRS today. OpenMRS was the only organization i tried in this summer GSoC as i was so interested in the project as well as the support got from the community during the time of GSoC was awesome.

It was a bit struggling experience at the beginning as i had never worked with OpenMRS before so i was trying very hard in getting familiar with the project and catch up the speed. There were sometimes where i really felt to give up and pack off when i started fixing the first  ticket of the project. But anyway i never stopped trying and with a few days of killing myself (and also with great guidance got from community experts through IRC), i finally managed to understand the code a bit and could work in some introductory bugs. Life was much easier after that and it became more and more fun with the time going :) 

When going through the list my first interest was project HTML Form Entry Module Enhancements (to which i got selected at last, Yeppi :)). I felt a natural interest for that as i had formally worked with HTml,JSP etc. during my internship at WSO2 so immediately decided to begin OpenMRS with it :D. After contacting my mentor i could get some more information about the project and Mark, my mentor gave me some good  advice on how to begin and getting familiar with code. I first worked on an intro ticket with his guidance and when it was done moved onto other etc. It is really appreciated the guidance and support i got from my mentor Mark Goodrich, as he was very helpful towards me since from the beginning.

I applied for two projects in OpenMRS this summer "HTML Form Entry Module Enhancements" and "Personal Health Record Module Enhancements". I was looking forward to work in any of the two if i get selected but was extremely happy to know that i got my first choice project to work. 

"OpenMRS is a software platform and a reference application which enables design of a customized medical records system with no programming knowledge (although medical and systems analysis knowledge is required). It is a common platform upon which medical informatics efforts in developing countries can be built. The system is based on a conceptual database structure which is not dependent on the actual types of medical information required to be collected or on particular data collection forms and so can be customized for different uses." 

The HTML Form Entry module in OpenMRS allows one to create forms to enter and edit patient data within the system. The approach is very simple since user needs to know a little HTML and also about the basics of OpenMRS system. It allow users to write forms using standard HTML tags combined with a set of special tags that reference different aspects of the OpenMRS data model. The module has been improved a lot throughout the past, and my project is also to enhance the performance and feature support for the HTML Form Entry module.

Some tips for the future GSoCers  of OpenMRS from me.

  • It is never too late to start if you can commit hard and make a change. The main thing is trying your maximum and get something done, which will show the community that you are talented and committed too.
  • Join into mailing lists and IRC and discuss if you have trouble in proceeding with some point. From my experience i could solve in many issues after discussing it in IRC. Don't be hesitate to call for help :)
  • Read the documentation lot, it has almost everything regarding system and modules.
  • Try to fix at least few introductory bugs, it is the best way to get to know the code.
  • Contact your mentor, other community experts etc. in the need of a help.

That's all for now. But looking for more excitement to come in the next few days.

Happy GSoC to all my fellow OpenMRS interns as well as to others too!

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