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From Timothy Larson <>
Subject Re: Block Management [was Re: on better release and version management]
Date Thu, 25 Sep 2003 14:09:23 GMT
I was doing wiring and sleeping during part of this discussion, but please
let me jump in again.  We could say something like this about a module:
  Code Stability: alpha/beta/final
  API/Contract Stability: alpha/beta/final
  Support Level: contributed/supported/deprecated
  Community Info:
    Text writeup plus an Agora-like visual community explorer that includes
    info gleaned from the user and dev lists, commits, and downloads.

The text writeup allows more info than just the contributed/supported/deprecated
indicator.  It could explain the module's relationship with other modules, and
tell where development is currently headed.  For the JXForms/Woody example that
keeps coming up, it could explain that JXForms and Woody are both live, parallel
projects that make different tradeoffs and are attempting to cross-pollinate each
other with good ideas and designs.

The Agora-like part would be to give a visual feel of the project's pulse.
No numbers, no numbered scale on graphs, just a visual flow of networks.
It would be helpful for it to have a time dimension to see how interest has
swelled over time in relation to the repository commits, and the dev and user
lists.  For instance, lots of early activity on the commits and dev list followed
by a slowdown there and a steady increase of related activity on the user list
and downloads (later, when this can be measured by the separate download of blocks)
could indicate the code is maturing and being adopted.  The text writeup above
could give clues to help lead to a correct interpretation.

I only suggest all this because I often find myself wishing for a visual overview
of the different aspects of project activity when I first meet a project.  Numbers
do not work for this, because they tell so little of the story.  Numbers are one-
dimensional and thereby cannot properly represent the separation of concerns that
a community presents.  Agreed, this whole area of research is potentially very
dangerous and is not absolutely required, so if we skip it for now, that is fine.

--Tim Larson

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