Questions concerning the development of XWiki, Final Round

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Questions concerning the development of XWiki, Final Round

Martin Schönberger
Hello again, and let me start once more by thanking everyone who bore
with me until now. The answers you gave me so far helped a great deal
for me to understand the details of this project's development as an
example of open source processes and their underlying structures. In
the final round of this extended interview I would like to conclude
with a few questions which move a bit outside the box and beyond the
horizon. ;)

As I explained in one of my earlier posts, I am researching open
source development processes in comparison to other approaches of
developing software, and trying to find out how they relate to each
other in different aspects. Besides examining those aspects, however,
I am also interested in your opinion about the process. Do you see
similarities to agile methods of development, or to the well-defined
processes of software engineering, in your approach? Where can these
similarities be found, and where do they end?

Finally, may I ask you for a quick outlook into the future of XWiki?
Which chances and challenges do you see coming up? In what direction
would you like the development of XWiki to go in the following years?

Also, do you have any points you would like to additionally mention,
some vital aspect of the process I failed to address, or a special
emphasis on anything you feel we did not talk about enough? I am glad
for further hints and comments. :)

Best regards,
Martin
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Re: Questions concerning the development of XWiki, Final Round

vmassol
Administrator

On May 19, 2012, at 2:29 AM, Martin Schönberger wrote:

> Hello again, and let me start once more by thanking everyone who bore
> with me until now. The answers you gave me so far helped a great deal
> for me to understand the details of this project's development as an
> example of open source processes and their underlying structures. In
> the final round of this extended interview I would like to conclude
> with a few questions which move a bit outside the box and beyond the
> horizon. ;)
>
> As I explained in one of my earlier posts, I am researching open
> source development processes in comparison to other approaches of
> developing software, and trying to find out how they relate to each
> other in different aspects. Besides examining those aspects, however,
> I am also interested in your opinion about the process. Do you see
> similarities to agile methods of development, or to the well-defined
> processes of software engineering, in your approach? Where can these
> similarities be found, and where do they end?

Well each open source project is completely free to organize itself the way it wants so we cannot say anything about any similarities.

Now I personally like agile practices which I've been practicing before I came to know eXtreme Programming and which I've been applying to my open source projects wherever I could.

Some examples of practices we're applying here on the xwiki project:
* Release often (every 3 weeks in average)
* Relentless refactoring
* Automated tests (gives courage for refactorig) and Continuous Integration
* We don't do pair programming but we do "continuous" reviews by sending email diffs to the lists so that all committers can see them and review them
* Time boxing
* Collective code ownership
* Coding standard
* Simple design/System metaphor through our proposals/vote practice on the list and through our common decision making

> Finally, may I ask you for a quick outlook into the future of XWiki?
> Which chances and challenges do you see coming up? In what direction
> would you like the development of XWiki to go in the following years?

ahah…. Good question.

Several answers:

* One current challenge is in finishing to split the XWiki code base into small modules that form our platform and that can then be assembled by users to construct the collaborative web site they wish. We've progressed a lot in this direction but there's still some work with our Extension Manager, splitting our code and introducing extensible UIs through what we call Interface Extensions.

* We have an important challenge in being able to attract people. There are 2 dangers here:

** The XWiki software is becoming better and better and people usually want to participate to an open source project when they see it's not "finished" and they see they can help out. If a project is too well finished people won't participate. See this blog post I've written a long time ago about this:
http://web.archive.org/web/20090130001223/http://blogs.codehaus.org/people/vmassol/archives/001325_how_can_i_improve_my_oss_project_managment_skills.html

** The XWiki open source project is full of rules that we've voted over the years to improve the way we develop software. This has a good and bad point for attracting newcomers:
*** bad: It could be seen as daunting to have to learn and bother with all those rules when all you want to do is "just code"
*** good: the newcomer will learn a lot about software development. Moreover nothing is set in stone. Anyone can propose to remove or change a rule at any point in time and provided it's voted positively it'll be changed

Actually I think that our solution for this is what we've started doing:
* Make everything an extension and allow anyone to contribute extensions irrelevant to how they developed it. This http://extensions.xwiki.org. Our challenge is in creating the tools within the XWiki software to make it easy to publish extensions.

> Also, do you have any points you would like to additionally mention,
> some vital aspect of the process I failed to address, or a special
> emphasis on anything you feel we did not talk about enough? I am glad
> for further hints and comments. :)

Nothing comes to mind.

Maybe just that we're all passionate people :)

Thanks
-Vincent

> Best regards,
> Martin
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Re: Questions concerning the development of XWiki, Final Round

Martin Schönberger
Thank you again for your answers and insights!

Is there anything someone else would like to add to this? If you do,
please feel free to add anything that comes to mind, I can always use
more data! And if not (I know I have been bothering you for a while
now ;) ) I would like to take this opportunity and thank everyone very
warmly who contributed to my research!

I am currently quite busy evaluating the information I gained from
this and other projects, but I will get back to you to share my
results as soon as I'm finished and got something to show, or if any
unresolvable questions arise on the way!

Until then, Martin :)
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Re: Questions concerning the development of XWiki, Final Round

vmassol
Administrator

On Jun 4, 2012, at 4:57 PM, Martin Schönberger wrote:

> Thank you again for your answers and insights!
>
> Is there anything someone else would like to add to this? If you do,
> please feel free to add anything that comes to mind, I can always use
> more data! And if not (I know I have been bothering you for a while
> now ;) ) I would like to take this opportunity and thank everyone very
> warmly who contributed to my research!
>
> I am currently quite busy evaluating the information I gained from
> this and other projects, but I will get back to you to share my
> results as soon as I'm finished and got something to show, or if any
> unresolvable questions arise on the way!

Thanks Martin.

I'm really keen to see your results now!

Your questions have also provided us with an overview of our process for anyone interested! Anyone interested in understanding how XWiki is developed and the relationship between the open source project and commercial companies can read the following threads:

* Thread1 "An appeal for insight into the development of XWiki": http://markmail.org/thread/xuclag5wngxg4rlv
* Thread 2 "Questions concerning the development of XWiki, Round 2": http://markmail.org/thread/faqjqc5a6nhvuhie
* Thread 3 "Questions concerning the development of XWiki, Final Round": http://markmail.org/thread/5mx3y55koyrdggrh

Thanks
-Vincent

>
> Until then, Martin :)

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