Google Season of Docs 2021 is applying to be a mentoring organization for the Google Season of Docs (GSoD) 2021.

In the event that our proposal is accepted, we’ll be looking for fellow members of the FOSS community with technical writing skills and an interest in helping. If you’re interested, keep reading to get a sense of what we have in mind for GSoD 2021.

AboutCode Overview is a community of developers behind a suite of Software Composition Analysis tools (command line tools, web-based and API servers and desktop applications) and data for license, origin and security:

  • Where does the code come from?

  • What software packages are present?

  • What is its license? copyright?

  • Is the code secure, maintained, well coded?

  • Are there any known vulnerabilities?

All these questions are important, and are relevant to millions of free and open source software components available on the web for reuse. The answers are critical to ensure that everyone can safely consume free and open source software.

Join us to make it so!

AboutCode Projects

Our focus for GSoD 2021 is to improve documentation on our flagship projects:

And specifically to create/update developement and user guides.

See AboutCode Project Overview for a complete list of AboutCode projects.


We use Python for programming AboutCode software. Our projects are a combination of command line tools, libraries, and web based applications based on Django and JavaScript.

Our command line tools are designed to run on Linux, macOS and Windows, and our web-based applications run only on Linux.

We write our documentation using reStructuredText with Sphinx and ReadTheDocs.

We use git and GitHub to store our code and track tasks and issues.

Technical Skills Needed

Incoming technical writers will need the following skills:

  • Basic understanding of reStructuredText, Sphinx and ReadTheDocs-based documentation toolchain including git.

  • Ability to understand and run programs from the command line in a terminal.

  • Ability to read well-structured Python code, and to update Python docstrings.

  • Ability to manage Windows and Linux based installation of our tools if need be in virtual machines.

  • Ability to write technical documentation such as Tutorials, How-To Guides, and API References.

We do not expect a working knowledge of our tools as this will be picked from mentors and community guidance. An interest in FOSS licensing and software code and origin analysis would be welcome but is not a hard requirement.

Some of these skills could be picked up during the project with help from your mentors, for candidates with strong writing skills.

About Your Project Application

Check out the GSoD Tech Writer Guide

and Statement Template.

Your statement of interest should be in the range of 1,000 words, and should contain the following information, plus anything else that you think is relevant:

  • Personal information, i.e. Your name and contact details.

  • A Project statement.

  • A detailed description of your project.

  • Description of your relevant skills.

  • Professional information: Description of previous work, existing solutions, open-source projects, preferably with links.

  • Proposed Timeline

  • Proposed total budget

  • Do you plan to have any other commitments during GSoD that may affect your work? Any vacations/holidays? Will you be available full time to work on your project? Please apply only if this is a serious full time commitment during the GSoD time frame.

Join the chat online or by IRC at Introduce yourself and start a discussion!

An excellent, competitive way to demonstrate your capability would be to submit a documentation improvement (small changes/typos are welcome but do not demonstrate your ability to write documentation) to an AboutCode project, especially to ScanCode Toolkit,

Please select a project from the list below.

Create and update user and developer guides

  • Create an HowTo guide for integrating third-party libraries into a Pipeline.

  • Add a tutorial for adding a new Pipeline with a third-party library.

  • Extend the HowTo Guides to cover Software Composition Analysis workflows based on

  • Upgrade the Web UI documentation.

  • Create an introductory video to teach how the web UI is used.

  • Update and improve the existing Pipe libraries reference API documentation (which is generated from code documentation “docstrings”).

  • Sync the new documentation set with the code to support continuous integration with code changes.

Create ScanCode-Toolkit Plugin Author Guide

The goal of this guide is to provide an end-to-end tutorial and instruction set on how to create scancode-toolkit plugins, with concrete examples and to generate a reference API documentation for modules, classes and functions used to create plugins.

Some of the specific supported activities would be:

  • Explain the Plugin Architechture used in scancode-toolkit

  • Explain the types of plugins used in scancode-toolkit (pre-installed/seperately-installed) and (post-scan, pre-scan, scanner)

  • An exhaustive list of all plugins and what they do, with links to their code.

  • How to create a minimal plugin adding some functionality to scancode-toolkit.

  • Useful examples of different types of plugins

  • Using nexb/skeleton as a template for plugins.

Note: Filter current scancode-toolkit GitHub Issues by Label ‘documentation’ to see many examples of specific areas for improvement.


We have an established team of contributors that are willing to mentor the selected Tech Writers, and they have extensive experience from mentoring in the open, including a successful previous participation in Google Season of Docs 2019. We have a developed a gentle and efficient way to mentor our contributors to success.

Contact Info

Join the chat online or by IRC at Introduce yourself and start the discussion!

You can also contact: