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From Janne Jalkanen <>
Subject [PROPOSAL] JSPWiki
Date Wed, 29 Aug 2007 21:02:53 GMT
Hello all!

I am Janne Jalkanen, the lead developer of the open source wiki  
engine called JSPWiki, and I have a proposal for your enjoyment.   
This proposal is available in the web at 
ApacheJSPWikiProposal, should you wish to help us to make it better.




Apache JSPWiki will be a modular and user-extensible wiki-engine,  
based on the open source JSPWiki software.


JSPWiki is a wiki engine available under the Lesser General Public  
License. It has a very modular construction, and integrates  
relatively nicely with a bunch of enterprise systems. It is also  
inherently embeddable, and has been incorporated as a component in a  
few different commercial and open source products.

The latest JSPWiki, 2.6, supports AJAX and full I18N, pluggable  
backends, pluggable editors, an expressive markup, a plugin  
framework, a filter framework, and built-in URL rewriting.

JSPWiki also has a nice unit test set of over 700 unit tests which  
have been invaluable in keeping compatibility between releases.

In the past few years, wikis have become a common collaborative tool.  
They are light-weight, open, and easy to deploy. The English  
Wikipedia, currently the largest public wiki site, contains nearly  
two million pages.

Wikis were originally designed to be small group collaboration tools,  
but they have proven to be scalable to a large number of users, as  
evidenced by the Wikipedia example. However, their most common use is  
still within companies and other entities which deploy them as  
collaboration tools, augmenting and even replacing traditional CSCW  

JSPWiki was originally created to address the same group  
collaboration tool needs as so many other wiki engines. Its goals  
were from the start to provide extensibility and user power, while  
keeping the core functionality clear. Since it’s inception in 2001,  
it has grown to be one of the more popular open source wikiengines,  
at least in the Java arena. It currently ships with the Sun Portal  
Server 7, and features as an integral part of the Intland Codebeamer  
development environment.


JSPWiki has grown nicely over the past few years, and currently  
averages around 2000 downloads monthly. The users-list has at the  
writing of this 207 members, and the developers mailing list has 34  
members. There are currently six people with commit access to the CVS  

However, there is a chasm to how large an open source project can  
grow under a ”benevolent dictator” –model. Many corporations are  
relying on the JSPWiki code base, and joining Apache would lessen the  
risks involved in using it, thus giving more entities an opportunity  
to use this advanced project. Joining Apache would make us less  
dependent on individual developers and would strengthen our community.

We also feel that the introduction of Apache processes would increase  
the code quality, as well as bring more interested developers to this  

Apache is also lacking a wiki engine. It is currently using either  
commercial software (Confluence) or Python-based wiki software  
(MoinMoin) as its own projects. As wikis are becoming the workhorse  
of many projects, we feel that it would bring a good addition to the  
Apache community.

Initial Goals

The initial goals of the project is to release JSPWiki 2.8 under the  
Apache license:

     * Bring in the JSPWiki 2.6 stable code base into Apache and  
apply Apache licensing and remove incompatible dependencies (see  
ApacheRelicensing for more discussion.)
     * Release JSPWiki 2.8 as a clone of JSPWiki 2.6 - with some bug  
fixes and Apache licensing, however keeping compatibility with  
JSPWiki 2.6. This means that we cannot e.g. change the package naming  
from "com.ecyrd.jspwiki" or else all old plugins will fail. It is yet  
unclear whether this will be acceptable to ASF.

After that, we will start working on JSPWiki 3.0:

     * Clean up our metadata and backend support by adding JSR-170  
repository support
     * Adoption of a more flexible web framework (Stripes, an Apache- 
licensed project)
     * Multi-wiki support (so-called WikiFarms, or WikiWebs or  
     * Move to "org.apache.jspwiki" -structure, breaking  
compatibility with 2.x series
     * Cleanup of the APIs and some refactoring which has been due  
for a long time

Current Status

JSPWiki code base is relatively stable, and even though some parts  
are certainly showing their age, the code is clearly laid out (we  
originally used the Avalon coding conventions, but since then it has  
been slightly modified), and is often thanked for its clarity. We use  
the Facade and Adapter patterns extensively across JSPWiki.

The current development practice has mostly been a Linux-like  
"benevolent dictator" -model. There have been no major clashes on the  
mailing lists, and the community tends to be helpful, even if  
sometimes a little slow in helping others.


JSPWiki has always tried to grant commit access to people who have  
proven themselves as willing and capable of contributing to the code  
base, UI design, documentation, etc. We will certainly continue this  
practice, as it has proven to be very useful. We hope that the Apache  
process will make it even more practical.


JSPWiki has existed since 2001, and during its life, the community  
has been growing steadily. Currently there is some 200-odd members on  
the jspwiki-users mailing list, and 34 members on the jspwiki-dev- 
users mailing list.

JSPWiki has also been a subject of some scientific papers, and is  
used as a development platform.

Core Developers

The core developers consist of Janne Jalkanen (Finnish, the original  
lead developer and still the person with the most commits), Andrew  
Jaquith (USA, a security guru), Dirk Frederickx (Belgium, our user  
experience specialist), Christoph Sauer (Germany, the maintainer of  
the WikiWizard editor), and Juan Pablo Santos Rodríguez (Spain, the  
i18n specialist).

We are a diverse group, though concentrated mostly in the Western  


We use Tomcat as our main development platform, and we are already  
using a large number of Apache components from Log4j and regexps to  
Commons Lang.

In the future, we are planning to turn our backend to use JSR-170,  
which makes Apache Jackrabbit an obvious bit of the future, though  
the migration from our current repository model is still unclear.

Our coding rules are also based on Apache Avalon coding rules.

Known Risks

Changing a large code base from one license to another always entails  
risks. There may be users who might object to moving from GNU to  
Apache on idealistic grounds, but most of the users will probably  
take a pragmatic approach.

Another problem may be if we cannot locate suitable non-GPL options  
for our components. This may mean long delays, as we may need to  
develop alternatives ourselves.

Also, the move is likely – at least initially – to divert resources  
from development to bureucracy. This is likely to strain a nerve or  
two. This can hopefully be mitigated by the Mentors by providing  
clear guidance.

To be fully blunt, I (Janne Jalkanen) also feel a bit queasy on  
giving control of JSPWiki – my pet, which I have groomed for many  
years – away to a foundation. However, this is something which is  
better in long term for JSPWiki, and therefore it is worth the  

JSPWiki 2.8 is designed to be a low-risk, low-hanging-fruit type of a  
release, assuming that ASF is fine with the package not being in the  
"org.apache" hierarchy. If not, we have no choice but to wait until  
3.0 since breaking the binary compatibility twice in a row would mean  
problems for all developers.
Orphaned products

Since JSPWiki has been lead using a ”benevolent dictator” –model, the  
largest knowledge of the code base rests on Janne Jalkanen. Janne has  
no plans to leave JSPWiki development, but certainly there is a need  
to get more people who have an intimate knowledge of the code base  
(and the decisions thereof).

Inexperience with Open Source

JSPWiki was started as an open source project in June 2001, and has  
remained an open source project since. Issue tracking and mailing  
lists have been open to everyone from day one.

Homogenous Developers

The current list of committers includes people from five countries,  
four timezones and two continents. Regular patches come in also from  
other countries.

Reliance on Salaried Developers

There are currently no people on the committer list who get paid to  
work on JSPWiki. However, we do get patches from a number of  
companies with a vested interest in JSPWiki.

JSPWiki is in no way reliant on salaried coders.

Relationships with Other Apache Products

JSPWiki uses quite a few different Apache projects already, and, of  
course, runs on top of Tomcat (though it has been developed to be  
pure J2EE only and in no way relies on any specific functionality).

In the future, we expect to integrate somewhat with Jackrabbit.

A Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand

JSPWiki could continue on its own, no worries. However, we do feel  
that our customers and users would feel more comfortable if there was  
a ”name” attached to it – because it lessens the risk of JSPWiki just  
going away some day.

To be frank, we are more interested in the Apache processes and the  
stability Apache would bring to the project than the actual name. We  
also hope that Apache will adopt us as their wiki solution ;-)


The chief JSPWiki resource is the web site.  
It is further amended by the JSPWiki documentation site (http:// as well as the JSPWiki-users and JSPWiki-dev  
mailing list archives at  

Initial Source

There is an initial source base of approximately 70,000 lines of  
code. (According to an estimate by the Ohloh code search engine, this  
amounts to roughly 17 person years).

Source and Intellectual Property Submission Plan

     * domain from Janne Jalkanen
     * JSPWiki source code from all contributors (CLAs need to be done)

External Dependencies

JSPWiki is relying already extensively on a number of Apache-licensed  
libraries. However, we are also using some LGPL-based libraries,  
which will either need to be replaced or rewritten. The current list  
of dependencies and the migration plan is available here:


JSPWiki uses only cryptography methods (hash codes) available in the  
J2SE itself. There is one exception to this rule, however: we use a  
slightly modified version of the Apache Tomcat's HexUtils for  
converting byte arrays into hexadecimal digits.  

Required Resources

Mailing lists

JSPWiki currently operates on two mailing lists - jspwiki-, and It would be good to  
continue these both also under Apache Incubation, with the addition  
of the mandatory jspwiki-private. A jspwiki-commits -list might also  
be useful.

     * jspwiki-users (contains the existing members of the jspwiki- 
     * jspwiki-dev (the members of the existing jspwiki-dev)
     * jspwiki-commits (new list for announcing commits to the svn  
     * jspwiki-private (for the PPMC, with moderated subscriptions)

Subversion Directory

JSPWiki code base should be named ”jspwiki”, as in

Issue Tracking

Current JSPWiki bug tracking is done at,  
using Bugzilla 3.0. It would be good to be able to move the current  
bug list to the Apache Bugzilla. The project name should be "JSPWiki".

If the bug list cannot be moved, then we can continue to use the  
JSPWiki bug tracker.
Other Resources

     * website
     * (wiped at noon GMT with a custom script).

Some or all of these can be moved to Apache. However, deeper  
discussions need to be made on which ones Apache is willing to host.

Initial Committers

     * Janne Jalkanen (
     * Andrew Jaquith (
     * Dirk Frederickx (
     * Christoph Sauer (
     * Juan Pablo Santos Rodríquez (
     * Murray Altheim (

None of the initial committers have yet submitted a CLA.


Janne Jalkanen works as a Project Manager in Nokia, but his work has  
nothing to do with JSPWiki.

Andrew Jaquith is a senior analyst at Yankee Group, an ICT research  
and consulting firm. He covers security for Yankee. Nokia, curiously,  
is one of Yankee's customers, but apparently not the part that Janne  
works for. :)

Christoph Sauer is a researcher at the Heilbronn University, Germany.  
He is a Project Manager at the Heilbronn Universities i3G Institute,  
which offers business services for small and medium sized companies.

Juan Pablo Santos works as a Software Engineer in Secuenzia, an IT  
consulting firm in Madrid.



Champion: Dave Johnson
Nominated Mentors

People who have announced their willingness to be Mentors are

     * Dave Johnson
     * Sam Ruby
     * Henning Schmiedehausen

Sponsoring Entity

Sponsoring entity should be the Incubator.

The PPMC shall consist of initial committers and the Mentors. 
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