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From Simon Kitching <skitch...@apache.org>
Subject RE: [beanutils] Unmaintained?
Date Fri, 22 Jul 2005 05:47:18 GMT
On Thu, 2005-07-21 at 22:21 -0400, Bernard, Shawn wrote:
> Sorry, Simon, I must have missed your reply. 
>  
> I've never participated in Commons (or any other Jakarta project, for that matter). 

> If I was interested in helping out on BeanUtils, what steps would I take to do so?

Jakarta Commons is a little unusual in the open source world because of
its focus on libraries rather than an actual product. So people here
generally get involved because their project uses a commons library and
they find a bug, they are frustrated by a lack of documentation, or they
need a new feature. And libraries are tricky things to work on because
of a very large emphasis on backwards compatibility, stability and
minimising size; lots of discussion and testing often goes on before
patches are accepted.

If you are just generally interested in contributing your time to a
worthwhile project, I would suggest that some project that is actually
creating a *product* would be an easier place to start than any of the
commons components.  If you have an interest in content management
systems, you might like to look at the work on graffito (see
incubator.apache.org). If you have an interest in building web
applications you might like to look at tapestry or Cocoon or MyFaces. If
you have an interest in databases you might like to have a look at
derby. Or maybe you're frustrated with the limitations of bugzilla? Then
find a java project that implements a bug tracker and help with that.

Look for a project that's already got a reasonably active maintainer
base; that's the easiest sort of project to get involved in as there are
lots of people around to review any contributions you make and offer
feedback (or better still, to commit your patches!). Fixes for bugs that
are bothering *you* are most likely to be accepted; documentation
updates and enhanced unit tests are also usually pretty welcome. Patches
for arbitrary bugs you found listed in bugzilla are likely to be looked
at a little more sceptically as there's no evidence you actually have
experience in that area. Offers to implement new features "because it
looks like this might be useful" are treated even more cautiously -
unless the project is implementing some kind of specification, and the
new feature is just to complete compliance with the spec.

Eventually, if that project uses a commons library and you find a bug or
need a new feature you might find yourself contributing to jakarta
commons...

In terms of BeanUtils, I would suggest you keep an eye on the project
activity [1]; if maintainers for this project to start becoming active
again (perhaps Dion and myself?) then that would be an excellent time to
post an email introducing yourself, indicating why you use beanutils,
and offering to help out. But without anyone to review and commit any
patches you contribute there's not much point in doing that now. It is
extremely difficult for an outsider to "reanimate" a dead or dormant
project.


[1] Anyone got any good ideas for how to monitor a commons component's
"activity level"? Running "svn log" on the root directory of the project
to see the number of recent patches is one reasonable way. Normally,
looking at the email volume would be a good idea but I don't know any
mail archives or forums that make it easy to see the volume of
[beanutils] emails over the last month or so.

Regards,

Simon


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