UMass Students Work on Foreman/Katello for Capstone Project

Jun 1, 2020 | Greater Boston, News, UMass Lowell

Mentorship is a great opportunity for professionals to share their experiences and impart their knowledge to others. In Ian Ballou’s case, mentorship offered a great opportunity to pay forward the great experience he had as a mentee during his internship at Red Hat. This led Ian to a group of four computer science students at UMass Lowell who chose to work on Foreman and Katello with Red Hat during their senior year.  This project gives computer science students at UMass Lowell a chance to put their learning into practice on a major project as they prepare to enter the professional world.

The main goal of the year-long project was to create a content view browser that would be used to interact with the Foreman API via an interactive display. During the first half of the year, the students learned about agile processes, software project management, and associated skills as part of an associated UMass Lowell class.  The latter part of the academic year was spent on development, integration, testing and release for the open-source project.The project was mainly implemented using the Javascript library, React, and Patternfly which is a UI/UX framework. The outcome was a perfectly usable browser for users who wanted an alternative to the Content View UI provided in Katello. The GitHub repository can be accessed here

This project was impactful for the students because they were exposed to how open source works. While open source development tools such as GitHub were not new to them, they did learn how to implement the Patternfly framework and collaborate with upstream communities. The students’ work will be influential to the upstream developers who are currently working on making changes to the Content View UI in Katello. Their feedback on Patternfly will also influence the roadmap of new features..

At the end of the semester, the group of four presented their work to UMass Lowell faculty and Red Hat engineers. This was a great opportunity to share their accomplishments and especially valuable because one of the most challenging things for engineers to do is to present their work in a professional environment.  It was also a great opportunity for the wider faculty and administration group, who attend all senior “capstone” project presentations, to learn more about how the student contributions can make a difference in the real world through open source software.  The students had some interesting insights about collaborating on open source, and their plans for the future, shared in the recorded presentation session here:

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