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From Apache Wiki <>
Subject [Incubator Wiki] Update of "UsergridProposal" by AlexKarasulu
Date Mon, 16 Sep 2013 08:48:08 GMT
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The "UsergridProposal" page has been changed by AlexKarasulu:

Initial Usergrid Incubator Proposal Addition

New page:
= Usergrid Proposal =

== Abstract ==

Usergrid is a multi-tenant Backend-as-a-Service stack for web & mobile applications, based
on RESTful APIs.

== Proposal ==

Usergrid is an open-source Backend-as-a-Service (“BaaS” or “mBaaS”) composed of an
integrated distributed NoSQL database, application layer and client tier with SDKs for developers
looking to rapidly build web and/or mobile applications. It provides elementary services (user
registration & management, data storage, file storage, queues) and retrieval features
(full text search, geolocation search, joins) to power common app features.

It is a multi-tenant system designed for deployment to public cloud environments (such as
Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, etc.) or to run on traditional server infrastructures so that
anyone can run their own private BaaS deployment.

For architects and back-end teams, it aims to provide a distributed, easily extendable, operationally
predictable and highly scalable solution.
For front-end developers, it aims to simplify the development process by enabling them to
rapidly build and operate mobile and web applications without requiring backend expertise.

== Background ==

Developing web or mobile applications obviously necessitates writing and maintaining more
than just front-end code. Even simple applications can implicitly rely on server code being
run to store users, perform database queries, serve images and video files, etc. Developing
and maintaining such backend services requires skills not always available or expected of
app development teams. Beyond that, the proliferation of apps inside of companies leads to
the creation of many different, ad-hoc, unequally maintained backend solutions created by
employees and contractors alike and hosted on a wide variety of environments. This is causing
poor resource usage, operational issues, as well as security, privacy & compliance concerns.

In response to this problem, companies have long tried to standardize their server-side stack
or unify them behind an ESB or API strategy. Backends-as-a-Service follow a similar approach
but their unique characteristic is strongly tying  1) a persistence tier (typically a database),
2) a server-side application tier delivering a set of common services and 3) a set of client-side
application interface mechanisms. For example, a BaaS could package 1) MongoDB with 2) a node.js
application that offers access through 3) WebSockets. In the case of Usergrid, the trifecta
is 1) Cassandra, 2) Java + Jersey and 3) a RESTful API.

The Backend-as-a-Service approach has steadily gained popularity in the last few years with
cloud providers such, and, each operating tens of thousands
of apps for tens of thousands of developers. The trend has already reached large organizations
as well, with global companies such as Korea Telecom internally building a privately-run BaaS
platform. But so far, there have been limited options for developers that want a non-proprietary,
open option for hosting and providing these services themselves, or for enterprise and government
users who want to provide these capabilities from their own data centers, especially on a
very large scale.

== Rationale ==

The issue this proposal deals with is implicit in the name. Backend-as-a-Service platforms
are usually offered solely as proprietary cloud services. They are typically closed sourced,
hosted on public clouds, and require subscription payment. Usergrid opens the playing field,
by making a fully-featured BaaS platform freely available to all. This includes developers
that previously could not afford them, such as mobile enthusiasts, small boutiques, and cost-sensitive
startups. This also includes large companies that benefit from a reference implementation
they can deploy in trust, or extend to their needs without losing time writing less-vetted,
less-performant boilerplate functionality.

Usergrid has been open source since 2011 and has grown as an independent project, garnering
11 primary committers, 35 total contributors, 260+ participants on its mailing list, with
3,700+ commits, 200+ external contributions, 350+ stars and 100+ forks on Github, not to mention
several large scale production deployments at major global companies in the media, retail,
telecommunication and government spaces.  

The Apache Software Foundation's "Way", by putting community before the code, will help Usergrid
establish a vibrant, more diverse community to provide these features freely to downstream
users. The incubation process will help build this community and clear out the cobwebs, while
vetting the IP to provide a pristine ASLv2 licensed product to users. Under such conditions,
our hope is that Usergrid will have a brighter future, and provide better assurances as an
independent organic open source project, instead of continuing forward as a project sponsored
by a handful of companies.

== Initial Goals ==

We have no serious codebase concerns at the present moment. Besides vetting the IP by making
sure the dependencies are Apache License 2.0 compatible, our main initial concern is to grow
community and keep adding features to make Usergrid as robust as possible. However some logistics
based goals include:

* Move the existing code base to Apache
* Integrate with the Apache development process
* Ensure all dependencies are compliant with Apache License 2.0
* Set up open-source docs and website
* Incremental development and releases per Apache Guidelines 

== Current Statusi ==

=== Meritocracy ===
The project team's goals have always been to grow the community by encouraging contributors
to participate. The project has grown steadily and smoothly from the efforts of the original
creator and project founder (Ed Anuff) to a small circle of committers (at Apigee), to a distributed,
multi-vendor community (Apigee and Korea Telecom) that also includes outside committers (Globo
and others), as well as non-salaried committers. Together we discuss the project’s goals
and roadmap openly, making drastic yet positive changes to the project's direction based on
everyone's input. Our goal is to drive further community diversification in a way that only
a foundation-sponsored project can achieve, rather than what a vendor-led project can accomplish.

=== Community ===
We have a public Google Group for support here:!forum/usergrid
with over 250 active participants, 367 threads and new messages every day. Usergrid also has
an active community on Github issues (with over 200 discussions):
Some of these users have contributed their open applications back to the community or have
built their own new SDKs for Usergrid found here on Github:

Expanding and nurturing the Usergrid community is our primary concern and one of the main
reasons for the decision to apply for incubation.  Usergrid has been developed openly on Github
for many years and has enjoyed active developer participation by a committers from all over
the globe.  However, due to the disparate nature and wide variety of the Github repos that
comprise the Usergrid project (the Usergrid-stack, 8 separate SDKs, the Admin Portal, and
various samples), it has been challenging to grow a unified community.  Bringing the entire
project under the umbrella of Apache will promote a unification of the Usergrid community
and enable all developers to collaborate on the project.

=== Core Developers ===
The core developers include Apache Committers, PMC Members, and Members of the ASF. The developers,
some of whom have have been involved with the Apache Incubator and Apache Lucene as PMC members,
are active mentors and have participated in and contributed to several projects: i.e. Apache,
Lucene, Cassandra, Hibernate, Directory, Wicket, Commons, Roller, MINA, Karaf, Felix, Cloud
Stack, HCatalog, and Commons projects. Many of them are also active in Open-source beyond
code, and have positions on the committees or organization such as OSCON.

=== Alignment ===
The initial code base leverages several Apache Software Foundation products. Usergrid leverages
Apache Cassandra for its scalable data store, and uses Maven for its build system. Almost
half of Usergrid's dependencies are Apache dependencies:

* Apache Cassandra
* Apache Tomcat
* Apache Commons
* Apache ZooKeeper
* Apache Shiro
* Apache Amber
* Apache Thrift
* Apache ActiveMQ
* Apache HttpClient
* Apache Lucene
* Apache JClouds

Besides these direct alignments, Usergrid also complements Apache Cordova and could provide
several advantages to the mobile application developer community they serve.

== Known Risks ==

=== Orphaned products ===
There are now at least two vendors running Usergrid in product. Apigee is an established startup
with a large, diversified customer roster and Korea Telecom is a major, national telecommunications
company. The continuity of Usergrid, as an open-source, vendor-independent product are in
the interest of all parties. Beyond the vendors, and many others large companies
have been relying on Usergrid for critical applications and as such they are committed to
contributing to the effort.

=== Inexperience with Open Source ===
The Usergrid project has been open source and under the ASLv2 for 2 years on Github and many
of its contributors came with previous open-source experience, (as referenced above), including
active members of these communities:

* Apache
* Cassandra (& Hector)
* Lucene
* Hibernate
* CouchDB
* PhoneGap
* jQuery

Development in this open forum has resulted in a growing community of contributors, and the
Usergrid project is now ready and eager to embrace and learn from Apache's wealth of experience.
Usergrid would like to embrace an even greater culture of open participation as witnessed
on so many Apache projects.
=== Homogenous Developers ===
The core development team for Usergrid is a geographically and technologically diverse group.
Apigee’s team is itself distributed, with contributors based in each timezone in the continental
US. Additional regular contributors have joined us from India, Asia, Oceania, South America,
the Middle East and Europe. While roughly half of our core developers come from a Java background,
the other half is comprised of iOS, Ruby, and JavaScript developers.
=== Reliance on Salaried Developers ===
Most of the principal developers are paid by their employers to contribute, but not all. Throughout
the life of the project, we’ve seen passionate, personal commitment from all parties, as
evidenced by our commit distribution on weekends (
We also believe, given the growing interest in mobile API services and the range of individuals
and corporations that are eager to participate, that non-salaried contributions will grow.
We know the "The Apache Way" will help us further accelerate this process.
=== Relationships with Other Apache Products ===
There's much potential for collaboration with Apache Cordova and, of course, the Cassandra
community because of the underlying foundations of Usergrid's scalability. In the future there
may be more interactions with any of the communities that Usergrid has direct dependencies

=== A Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand ===
Although we are aware of the strength of the Apache brand, we are primarily interested in
the transforming power of the Apache Way to help guide Usergrid towards a more diversified
and meritocratic community. To that end, the brand's primary benefit for us is to help to
attract more participants and diversify the community. Having several committers, PMC participants,
and members of Apache as developers on Usergrid, there's little infatuation with the brand,
and the Usergrid community is actively conscious of this not being a driver for joining the
Apache community.  

== Documentation ==

Information on Usergrid can be found at:

== Initial Source ==

All initial sources can be found here: https://github/usergrid

== Source and Intellectual Property Submission Plan ==

The IP transfer for Usergrid is trivial due to it's single source and existing ASLv2 licensing.

== External Dependencies ==

Most dependencies are Apache compatible licenses (Category A). A small set of Category B licenses,
like the CDDL exists. For more details please see Dependency Licenses.

== Cryptography ==

Not relevant to Usergrid since all code dealing with cryptography already comes from the JDK
or from dependencies on  Apache Software.  

== Required Resources ==

=== Mailing lists ===
* (moderated)

=== Subversion Directory ===
We prefer to use Git as our source control system: git:// If possible,
we would like to keep leveraging the extremely useful github facilities for workflow using
a process much like that employed by the Apache Cordova project (documented here

=== Issue Tracking ===

=== Other Resources ===

== Initial Committers ==

* Alberto Leal <> (
* Alex Karasulu <> (Apigee)
* Dave Johnson <> (Apigee)
* Ed Anuff <> (Apigee)
* Nate McCall <> (The Last Pickle)
* Rod Simpson <> (Apigee)
* Scott Ganyo <> (Apigee)
* Shaozhuang Liu <>
* Sungju Jin <> (Korea Telecom)
* Tim Anglade <> (Apigee)
* Todd Nine <> (Apigee)

== Affiliations ==

* Apigee
* Korea Telecom
* TheLast Pickle

== Sponsors ==
=== Champion ===
Jim Jagielski <>

=== Nominated Mentors ===
* Alex Karasulu <>
* Dave Johnson <>

=== Sponsoring Entity ===
Incubator PMC

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