Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2015 Community Service Award goes to Berker Peksağ

Last month I posted about the wonderful work of Terri Oda, who was recognized with a Community Service Award. Today’s post is about another 2015 Fourth Quarter CSA recipient, Berker Peksağ, who will be receiving a Community Service Award  … for his consistent volunteer efforts with pydotorg in 2015 (see Resolutions).
As many of you know, pydotorg has been undergoing renovation for a long time now. It has been, and continues to be, a labor of love involving many people (the Python infrastructure team, Marc-André Lemburg, and Benjamin Peterson, to name just a few). Still, the work done by Berker over the past year has been remarkable, resulting in significant improvement to the site and to users' experience. 
His contributions in 2015 include:
  • Helping get the second redesign working on the staging website
  • Working on the new job board with Marc-André Lemburg
  • Helping fix bugs on (e.g., corrections to URLS for Python downloads; scrolling issues on landing pages and PEPs)
  • Making sure the site uses an up-to-date version of Django
  • Committing code to improve the user experience (e.g., adding a feature for updating board minutes on the site; making a change so broken images would not appear; updating the members' section to allow members to edit their profiles, and non-members to sign up; updating membership using django-admin so staff can download member files; updating the PEP RSS feed; updating Open Graph protocol on the website
  • Updating contributor documentation describing how to install the GitHub repo and how to contribute to the site
  • Improving the contributor experience (e.g., by switching from Chef configuration to Ansible)
  • Reviewing and merging community pull requests
  • Cleaning-up code
Wondering how Berker came to make so many awesome contributions, I asked him about himself and learned the following:
Berker is a software developer, living in Istanbul, Turkey, who first started learning Python in 2010. At the time he had been engaged in web development for over five years, but within a year of learning Python he built his first non-trivial Python project with a friend. 
Desiring to become more active in Python, Berker discovered in late 2011. This discovery gave him the courage and support to contribute to CPython. As he tells it: 
"I still don’t know what I was thinking since I [didn’t] even know enough Python at that moment :). I don’t remember all the names, but Antoine Pitrou, Brett Cannon, Éric Araujo and R. David Murray were really helpful. Brett also merged my first patch to CPython in early 2012."
Berker's enthusiasm and skills increased, and by 2014, he had become a core developer. Today he works as a Python consultant in Istanbul.
I  asked Berker what more needs to be done on pydotorg, and he replied 
"Our stack is little bit outdated (Python 3.3 and Django 1.7), and we have a few blockers before switching to the latest releases of Python and Django. We also need to improve community contributions. I have a few ideas, but I couldn’t find enough time to work on them."
So here’s an opportunity for those of you who would like to help!  And for everyone, please join me in congratulating Berker on his well-deserved award and in thanking him for his contributions to our community.
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