mozilla status: April 15th, 2012

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I haven't had time to blog much in the last few months. At work, I've been spending all my time with elasticsearch, elasticutils, and SUMO bug fixing. I've been working on the conversion from Sphinx search to elasticsearch for SUMO since I started at Mozilla, but I've only recently felt like I'm really getting the hang of it. There are a bunch of elasticutils-related things I want to blog about, but those will come in fugure entries.

In my spare time, I've been working on richard. This project has nothing to do with Richard of air mozilla fame, but rather is a video indexing web application. It's the software that runs has the distinction of being the first Django application I've built from the ground up. That distinction is both a virtue (yay for first apps!) and a vice (boo for silly things I did when doing it!).

The one thing I did that I'm really proud of is that when building the software, I knew I needed help if it was to succeed and thus I worked to make it easy and inviting for contributors to get involved:

  • I wrote documentation: license file, README, documentation covering how to install it for hacking, how to contribute, where to find me, ...
  • I parked the code on GitHub to make it easier for people to access. [1]
  • I made sure there were a series of issues in the issue tracker that showed the next round of things that needed to be done.
  • I made sure I had an IRC channel and that people knew where to find me to ask questions.
  • I quickly got the documentation built on ReadTheDocs.
  • I had a test infrastructure set up. [2]
  • I respond to everyone who sends an email, creates a pull request, writes an issue, says hi on IRC, ...

The end result of that is that there are 4 contributors to richard including myself and one of them is very active.

Asheesh did a talk at LibrePlanet 2012 that mentioned Mako's power law of contributions to open source projects. The gist of it is that most open source projects only ever have one contributor. [3]

Well, I've got 5 on my video index web application software that I "launched" a month ago. I'm feeling good about that.

[1] Several of my friends point out that GitHub kind of takes the D out of DVCS.
[2] Though didn't have any tests when I "launched".
[3] I may fix this paragraph after Asheesh corrects me.
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