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Google Summer of Code 2014 Ideas
================================

Welcome, potential Google Summer of Code students!  This project is
currently called "The NPO Accounting Project", for lack of a better name.

The project is coordinated by
[Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc.](https://sfconservancy.org/) which is a
501(c)(3) charitable not-for-profit organization in the USA.  We run all our
operations solely and completely on Free Software.

One area that we've had great difficulty is regarding non-profit accounting
software.  We've launch this project to improve the state of accounting Open
Source and Free Software for non-profits.  Since this NPO Accounting project
is just getting started, there are only the three potential projects below
for a GSoC 2014 student.  Assuming Google picks us for GSoC 2014, we'll be
selecting just one student, but we've provided three project choices.  We
need all of these items below done anyway, and we want to find the best
possible student/project match.  Please pick the project that fits your
skills and background best when submitting your application.

## Possible GSoC 2014 Projects

1. Add all necessary the tag types found
   [the tutorial on the Ledger-CLI setup for fiscal sponsor 501(c)3 organizations](https://gitorious.org/ledger/npo-ledger-cli/)
   into the
   [REST API for basic double-entry accounting](http://npoacct.sfconservancy.org/accounting-api/),
   and then write some reports using that new API.
 
   This will require the student to get familiar (or already be familiar)
   with how Ledger-CLI works, how REST APIs work, and learn some basics of
   double entry accounting.

    A successful student should be able to complete that work about
    three-quarters the way through the summer, and then be able to focus on
    actually writing a few specialized NPO-style report using the API.  A
    great acid test will be to use the API to implement the
    [IRS required charity public support test](http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Annual-Reporting-Requirements-Form-990,-Schedules-A-and-B:-Public-Charity-Support-Test).

* * *

2. Convert  [Ledger-CLI](http://www.ledger-cli.org/) to use fixed-point
   arithmetic.

   Currently Ledger-CLI uses floating point arithmetic, which is definitely a
   mistake for an accounting system.  This causes
   [off-by-one bugs](http://bugs.ledger-cli.org/show_bug.cgi?id=992) on some
   types of transactions.  This should be fixed.

   A successful student on this task will:
      * Write various test cases for Ledger-CLI that will clearly show the
        floating point issue.
      * Rework the codebase to use fixed-point arithmetic so those bugs are
        closed.
      * Shepherd the patch upstream.
      * Time permitting: verify that other Ledger implementations don't
        face the same problem.

* * *

3. Build a better test suite for [Ledger-CLI](http://www.ledger-cli.org/).

   Since this project relies so heavily on Ledger-CLI, we'd really like there
   to be a full test coverage for Ledger-CLI.  To do that, a student will
   need to be already somewhat familiar C++ and willing to learn about how to
   set up test suites for C++ programs, and likes writing tests.  The student
   could easily spend the whole summer just writing tests and not finish.

    Ledger-CLI does have a basic test suite, but it might turn out that using
    a more "full featured" test harness is useful.  The student will
    investigate and discuss this possibility with the mentor.  It would also
    be nice if lcov or other test-coverage tool could generate reports
    automatically.
    
    While this project is of primary interest to this project, it will
    require careful coordination with Ledger-CLI as an upstream, and we'll
    help mentor the student in that.
    
* * *

4. Build a better Python interface to Ledger-CLI for use by our API.

   Right now, Ledger-CLI has a rather incomplete Python interface, based on
   [Boost.Python](http://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_55_0/libs/python/doc/).
   However, the right approach is probably to use
   [SWIG](http://www.swig.org/) or some other similar mechanism to build a
   proper Python API.  Perhaps Ledger-CLI could stick with Boost.Python, but
   what's there clearly needs an overhaul.  The upside of using SWIG will be
   that we can get APIs for other languages too. 

   While this project is of primary interest to this project, it will require
   careful coordination with Ledger-CLI as an upstream, and we'll help mentor
   the student in that.