eZ Community » Blogs » Ivo Lukac » Developers, developers, developers!*

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Developers, developers, developers!*

Tuesday 30 November 2010 2:50:42 pm

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Software big guns like Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc. wouldn’t be so spread across the globe if they did not think about the developers who work on their platform, so eZ Systems should do the same thing - take special care about eZ platform developing potential.

* Paraphrasing Ballmer’s energy in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMU0tzLwhbE

Current situation

I would say that we are on the crucial turning point for eZ Publish as an open source platform. Two versions are introduced to distinguish two different development tracks:

  • Community driven - emphasizing innovation and frequent version cycles and opening-up for community to participate (the project, governance, the program)
  • Enterprise driven - with stability and QA in mind, base for commercial support & enterprise subscription

This situation shifts focus of development from eZ Systems to eZ community and that is why this is a crucial moment in time. Will eZ community respond to this quest? Will it generate great ideas, code it and share it?

We will get an answer soon, maybe in a few months, maybe even sooner. What I would like to do with this post is to raise a discussion about what important things should be done either by community or by eZ Systems to make community grow faster. Lot of effort is already being done (like establishing the share.ez.no portal - central place for the community, assembling the share team, move to github, etc. ) and there are elements still in the works (like merging other sub portals with share.ez.no), but there are also a lot of things which are not yet considered and are very important.

How to accelerate growth

As already mentioned, lot of things should still be done which could lead to community growth in numbers and intensity. In order to grow, the most important thing to do is bring in new members (fresh blood). Some of ideas that could be evaluated are :

  • Be present more on events where developers are coming (like PHP conferences, etc.)
  • Organize more community events
  • Organize camps where new people can faster learn eZ Publish from experienced members
  • Bring back some sort of points system (for example, like the one that the previous partner program had) for contributing to community in general and give high ranking members credit on the site
  • Introduce some kind of market for “hire an eZ developer” so members can earn some money
  • Introduce online sessions like “1 hour with famous eZ Find guru X.Y. to ask him difficult questions”
  • Form special groups like “eZ Evangelists” or “eZ Top Gurus” and identify them on share.ez.no, they should lead all the community in generating code, forum activity, helping others, etc.

eZ Systems role

As a company which provides Enterprise Subscription based on open source software eZ Systems has still the main role in the eZ community. So in my opinion eZ Systems should consider:

  • Financing events presence and organization
  • Help the creation of knowledge around eZ Publish (tutorials, screencasts, webinars) by placing tools at disposal for community authors (like GoToWebinar, etc.) . This will enrich the knowledge base, and lower the entry-barrier for eZ Publish beginners.
  • Exposing and documenting more core APIs (like REST, etc) for easier usage
  • Hiring more top notch developers to continue to work on core engine to be faster & even more flexible. It remains to be seen how feasible is to leave the development of such core features (like for example NoSQL data storage or more thorough Zeta Components adoption in eZ Publish core) primarily in community’s hands.

Here are some of operational ideas, things that can be quickly done:

  • Include mature and interesting community extensions to community edition to trigger people to work more on them
  • Prepare even easier installation with WAMP installers, RPM & DEB packages, VMware appliances and Virtualbox images to lower the barrier of entrance for the new users
  • Make out of the box demo sites more appealing and more usable for real situations, include more options for different verticals: media, corporate, etc.
  • Merging of projects.ez.no to share.ez.no so community members have one central web
  • Better connect issue tracker & doc.ez.no to share.ez.no for the same reason

Conclusion

With the rise and accelerated development of other open source content management systems (like Drupal or Liferay) it is crucial to keep the pace and continue innovating and improving the platform. Viable and strong community of contributors, supported by strong eZ Systems efforts is the key to stay in the race.

Dear eZ Community: LET’S GO!

For starters I would really like to see what people think about this matter.

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