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From Arved Sandstrom <Arved...@chebucto.ns.ca>
Subject RE: Help wanted: more qualified developers
Date Fri, 30 Mar 2001 23:39:59 GMT
At 02:03 PM 3/30/01 -0700, Kelly Campbell wrote:
>As far as I know, FOP doesn't have anyone who is being paid to work on it
>such as Xalan and Xerces do, but we do have many qualified developers and
>many users who actively use it and supply patches. From what I know, most of
>the committers (including myself) on FOP work on it as a hobby in our spare
>time because we are interested in the technology. Many of us also use it in
>our work to prepare technical documents and auto-generate reports as an
>alternative to other publishing software.

I second everything Kelly said. I would go so far as to say that _all_ of 
the FOP committers are part-time volunteers. In addition, I think it is 
worth mentioning that all of the committers and probably most (if not all) 
of the most knowledgeable developers are heavily engaged in real-world 
stuff, and our pace of development is suffering. I won't say that we are 
crippled, but we are nowhere close to the pace that we want. I would also 
estimate that in many cases we are close to the point where a committer or 
active developer is wasting a lot of time in every coding session coming 
back up to speed with problems, because the last time they looked at FOP was 
a week before.

I don't have any obvious solutions. The technology (XSL-FO) is important, 
the committers and developers are enthusiastic, there is a lot of excellent 
domain knowledge available, and we are actively engaged with other 
implementors, with other Apache XML projects (although this can always 
improve) _and_ with the W3C XSL WG (FO people), but we have a human resource 
problem nonetheless. We are currently putting an emphasis on refactoring 
some of the central code so as to reduce the entry barrier for new 
developers, and also simplify things overall. The XSL spec is big, some of 
the technical problems are quite complex, and overall the scope of FOP is 
about the same as the other big XML Apache projects.

In project terminology I suppose you could say that I'm raising a yellow 
flag over resource concerns - schedule risk, and complexity that bars entry 
of new people. We are trying to address the one, and hopefully it will 
improve the latter. A few months should tell the tale.

Hope this helps the PMC.

Arved Sandstrom

Fairly Senior Software Type
e-plicity (http://www.e-plicity.com)
Wireless * B2B * J2EE * XML --- Halifax, Nova Scotia

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