7 April 2010
Today I am pleased to interview Jeremy Subtil, Gephi student at Google Summer of Code 2009.
Jeremy is a French postgraduate student in Computer Science at Compiègne University of Technology. Fond of FLOSS, he took part to the 2009 Google Summer of Code on a Gephi project.
Sebastien Heymann: Hi Jérémy Subtil, you took part in Gephi with the Google Summer of Code 2009 (GSoC), by handling the vectorial preview module and implementing the SVG export. Could you explain why you chose this project, in particular why getting involved in Gephi although there are such great other organizations like Debian, WordPress or Mozilla?
Jérémy Subtil: I heard about Gephi in one of the courses I chose in February last year. From web crawling inputs, we visualized links between websites and we identified the emerging clusters, in order to approach a part of the world wide web’s shape. I discovered that Gephi was driven by a small but very active team, so I though it was a very nice opportunity to integrate a FLOSS community. In addition, I was very interested in doing some graphic work with the vectorial preview, as well as I wanted to know more about the SVG format.
Sebastien Heymann: Could you briefly describe your work to our readers, and the way you interacted with the Gephi core team?
Jérémy Subtil: My work consisted in creating a vectorial preview module for Gephi, which takes a workspace graph as an input and then renders it in 2D, for a vectorial export purpose. The preview rendering had to be highly configurable through a property list. Next, I implemented an SVG export, of which the output had to be identical to the one of the preview. I first coded into an independent Java application -because the Gephi APIs were not stable yet at this time, and because compiling was quicker- and then I integrated my work into Gephi as a set of Netbeans Platform plugins.
At the beginning of my GSOC, I visited my mentor Mathieu in Paris to clarify the project goals. Then we communicated mainly via e-mail or instant messaging.
Sebastien Heymann: You’re currently doing a third year of MSc in Computer Science at Compiègne University of Technology, France. How did you benefit from doing such an experience? What did you learn?
Jérémy Subtil: My GSoC allowed me to experiment the object-oriented paradigm further than I ever did before, both because the Netbeans Platform framework encourage us to do so, and because design quality is important in Gephi. Of course, I still have a lot to learn in this topic, but such an experience let my skills go one (big) step further.
Sebastien Heymann: Which advices would you give to the 2010 session students?
Jérémy Subtil: I would advise them to communicate a lot with their mentor, as this is a key to have a successful GSoC and to create the most powerful feature. I hope they’ll enjoy their GSoC experience, so that they could keep going to contribute to FLOSS communities.
Sebastien Heymann: What would you say to convince them applying for Gephi proposals?
Jérémy Subtil: The power of the Gephi proposals is that they cover various topics, such as network sciences, visualization, algorithms or software design. As I said before, doing a GSoC on a Gephi project is a good opportunity to get involved in a dynamic community, in which you’ll easily be able to keep contributing. Indeed, as this is still a young project, so there are still a lot of things to do, and their creativity won’t be limited by some historical constraints.
Sebastien Heymann: You’re now a regular contributor to Gephi project. Thanks! But why do you stay? What are you currently working on?
Jérémy Subtil: Until recently, I’ve been working on the new Gephi PDF export, which is related to my last year’s GSoC. Unfortunately, I had to stop and to pass it on, because I’m now quite busy with my studies. Nevertheless, I’ve chosen to work on a Gephi-related project in one of my courses. It consists in developing an SVG editor specific to graph pictures exported from Gephi: the aim is to provide a fast and easy way to create nice network cartographies. If the obtained prototype will be promising, a good plan could be to refactor it as a Gephi plugin.
Sebastien Heymann: What’s your plans in the future?
Jérémy Subtil: First of all, I’ve got one uni year left to finish my MSc. Then I don’t know the kind of job I’ll apply for after my studies yet, but a dream would be to work around FLOSS.