Recap of Compiler Research Organization’s participation in Google’s Season of Docs 2023

How we got started

An audit of the existing documentation was done to identify gaps and potential areas of improvement. Our main areas of focus were (these evolved over time, based on documentation audit):

  • Automatic Differentiation applications (using Clad, e.g. in RooFit and Floating-Point Error Estimation), and

  • Python-C++ Interoperability (Clang-Repl (LLVM), CppInterOp, cppyy, Numba, etc.).

We also wanted to capture the Student Success Stories, including milestones achieved by student developers under the banner of Compiler Research Organization’s guidance and mentorship programs.

What we accomplished

Following are the major documentation areas that we worked on.

These were concluded based on expected timeline. A detailed report with relevant PRs can be found in the GSoD 2023 Case Study.

Our overall experience

We would consider the project successful, on account of the major documentation contributions in upstream LLVM, ROOT, and other repositories, where our developers had previously contributed code.

Going into this project, we had a vision of what we wanted to achieve, but over several brainstorming sessions, we identified several areas that we thought needed improvement. Due to the limited time frame that we were working with, we prioritised the tasks based on what was urgent and what was important.

GSoD contributor’s experience

“I came into this project without much experience with compiler-related technologies. I had technical writing experience, but in a different domain. So, I had to shift gears and come in with a student’s mentality, while bringing along the discipline of a seasoned writer.

My mentors (David Lange and Vassil Vassilev) were kind and patient as I learned the ropes and started landing upstream documentation for large communities such as ROOT, LLVM, etc. Despite having years of experience before this, it was a major confidence boost for me since I wasn’t functioning in a sterilised corporate environment anymore and was finally part of the open source community at large.

My takeaway from this project is that the open source community is not as walled-off as it seems to an outsider. There are people who are willing to help you, as long as they see the value in your work and that you’re willing to make an effort. This project has set me off on a trajectory of self-improvement and learning, helping me identify how large, distributed communities work and what skills I need to acquire to advance in my career.” – @QuillPusher (Saqib)