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From Michael A Nachbaur <m...@nachbaur.com>
Subject Re: Wake-Up Call
Date Wed, 07 Apr 2004 16:08:08 GMT
Kip Hampton wrote:

> Specifically, I'm concerned about apparent lack of recent interest in 
> AxKit among what have historically been its core developers and the 
> general "so what" attitude that is being presented to its users.

I for one have noticed this, and have been very concerned about it.  I'm 
very interested in the direction of AxKit, seeing how I earn my bread & 
butter with it, and this recent turn AxKit has taken is giving me 
pause.  I don't know what I can do to help spur activity...my recent 
hope was, given patches and contributions, more work can be made in that 
direction.  My XSP taglibs, and more recently my patches to AxKit-CVS, 
have been my own attempts at putting in my own contribution to the 
momentum of AxKit.

I'm not sure how effective the taglibs have been, since I don't have a 
handle on how many people, other than me, use them.  I know however that 
the patches haven't gone anywhere.  Its now been exactly 6 weeks since I 
submitted a patch -devel, and I still have to hand-patch my own copy 
when I install an AxKit instance, despite it's being accepted.  Now, for 
me this is disheartening.  I put in fast effort to do a good job, submit 
good documentation, and nothing has come of it.  Coming from a person 
who's invested as much time and effort into AxKit as I have over the 
years, this is a pretty hard knock.  How would this be percieved to an 
outsider, who doesn't have this investment?  They'd just shrug, mutter a 
few profanities, and move on, leaving AxKit by the way-side.

> I'm aware that every project has its ebb and flow, and that sometimes 
> the requirements of Real Life don't always make it possible to 
> contribute the time and attention that we'd like; but the inertia 
> seems to go deeper than that, in this case.

Especially since, AFAICT, the guidelines set forth in the XML-PMC are 
supposed to mitigate this to some extent, to spread the decision-making 
load across multiple team members, as it were.

> Letting the AxKit project fall by the wayside is simply not an option. 
> In addition to our regular users, we have other OSS community projects 
> and commercial companies whose development plans require a vital and 
> energetic AxKit.

I, for one, rely on AxKit at work, as I've alluded to above.  I can't 
afford (literally and figuratively) to have AxKit loose it's vibrant 
sense of growth and cutting-edge development that attracted me to it in 
the first place.  I have a significant code-base built up at work that's 
written using AxKit, and a number of sites and applications (Callisto 
for one) that rely on it.  I frankly depend on AxKit for my financial 

I want AxKit as a software project, and as a community, to flourish.  
This is in part due to my occupational dependancy on it, but also 
because I truely *believe* in it.  I've tried Cocoon, and I judged it to 
be inferior.  I've tried PHP, Mason, and all those other paridigms, and 
judge them also to be inferior.  We have something here that is truely 
exciting...we may forget it from time to time, having become used to 
it.  But, it is better than the alternatives.  I just don't want to see 
us ride on the laurels of past success.  There are still many 
developments that need to be made, and for that we need IMHO an active 
and vibrant developer community.

> For those who may not be aware, the Apache XML Project Management 
> Committee is being reorganized and AxKit has the opportunity to become 
> what is known as a "top-level project" (much like mod_perl or Cocoon 
> is now). The most significant change for us, is that we can set the 
> guidelines and processes by which AxKit gets developed in a way that 
> most intimately reflects our goals and ideas as a smaller community. 
> That is, *we* get to define the rules and conventions that we believe 
> will lead to best possible AxKit for everyone.
> I suggest that we take the opportunity that (potentially) becoming a 
> top-level project provides to take stock, put aside old baggage, and 
> move AxKit forward with renewed vigor. To that end, I've put together 
> a first draft proposal for the guidelines and mission that are 
> required for AxKit as an Apache top-level project. That document can 
> be found here [1].

This looks good to me, though since I'm not a "Core" developer or 
anything, I don't think I really have a say in the matter, do I?  This 
does seem much more in line with the way Apache projects work.  I think 
the extra exposure form bing a top-level project, as well as the 
independance from the XML PMC could really help AxKit.  After all, most 
of the XML PMC is Java-based tools, and AxKit doesn't really seem to fit 
into a comfortable niche.

> The time for shoe-gazing, shoulder-shrugging, and praying for "round 
> tuits" is now over. Be realistic. If AxKit is not part of your future 
> then so be it; things change and no one will judge you for being 
> honest. But if you are practically committed to AxKit and its 
> evolution (and are willing and able to devote the time to back that 
> up) then please, help us re-kindle the fire and move on.

Hear hear.  AxKit is definitely part of my future, and my success - or 
lack of it - depends on AxKit's being a vibrant and actively developed 
community.  I very much like being a part of the developer community, 
even if I don't have CVS access.  I'm happy to be able to provide what I 
can where I can.  If additional support is needed, then I'm willing to 
devote the time necessary to that end.


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