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From Gary L Peskin <ga...@firstech.com>
Subject Re: Help wanted: more qualified developers
Date Tue, 03 Apr 2001 07:20:07 GMT
James Melton wrote:
> Here is an additional situation: Over the weekend I looked at bug 1170
> in xalan-j. Gary fixed this on Sunday. I didn't want to hold up
> development by saying "I'm working on this problem please no one else
> work on it." since I would still be trying to resolve it and I don't
> know exactly how long it would take me. I'm glad I looked at it and can
> see Gary's fix because now I'm in a position to ask him follow-up
> questions that will clarify my understanding. But I would also like the
> opportunity somehow to take ownership of the "right" bug and fix it
> myself.
> 
> Who decides what's the "right" bug? It should be non-critical - I don't
> want to hold up development. It should be reasonably easy to start with
> - not necessarily trivial, but I would hate to read and trace code for a
> month before I could begin to understand the problem. It should be
> something of value. I think Bugzilla could provide all this information
> if someone explicitly flagged problems for
> jr/new/part-time/whatever-you-call-them developers. Then I would feel
> more confident saying "This one is mine."
> 
> Jim.

Jim --

At the risk of sounding anarchic here, I'd have no problem with you
saying "I'm working on this problem please no one else work on it."  If
it's critical to someone, then another person will reply "This is
critical to x, how long do you think it will take?" and then we'll
decide between us if you should keep that bug to yourself or whether
someone else will work on it in addition to or instead of you.  I've
learned an awful lot spending a lot of time on a bug that was ultimately
fixed by Scott or Myriam or someone else.  And, when they come up with a
better fix than I would have, I'm awfully glad that they got to it
first.

But I think that you're the best judge of what sort of bug interests
you.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), Xalan does an awful lot of work so
it's just a big, complex product implementing a big, complex, and
sometimes non-intuitive standard.  I just don't think there's a real
easy way into it other than picking some area that interests you and
rummaging around in there.

Having said that, the XalanJ2 effort has resulted in a much cleaner,
well organized and more "accurate" OO design than XalanJ1 so I do think
it's much easier than it was.  With your help, it will probably get even
easier still :)

If you see a few bugs and can't decide where to look first, post them to
the list and some will reply with a priority in terms of criticality
while others will probably rank them in order of difficulty in solving
them.  This is subject to the usual caveats that sometimes bugs that
appear simple are pretty hard and some that appear hard turn out to be
pretty simple.  If you find yourself in the middle of a mess that is
going to require some sizable philisophical change, best to post to the
list before taking a machete to the code.

Also, remember what I tell the boss:  "All bugs are easy to fix if
you're not the one doing it."

I have found Scott, Myriam, Joe, and the other Lotus folks to be
unusually welcoming and gracious in spreading the work around.  There's
plenty out there (especially with XSLT 2.0 coming down the pike) so I
wouldn't worry about stepping on someone's toes.  We're not bashful and
we'll shout if we need to.  Just don't take it personally :).

Hang in there,
Gary

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