Project Maintainers Required

Yesterday I announced that the new Severed Fifth website is launched on Monday, and with it will begin the second phase of the project and the build-up to the second album. For the first album I ran out of steam as I had just signed up to do The Art Of Community for O’Reilly and this sucked up all of my spare time. I don’t want to make the same mistake again.

As such, I am keen to hand over some of my projects to new maintainers who can be sure to give them the time and focus that they deserve. Today I want to share some of the next next steps I would ideally like to see to provide some food for thought, and appeal for volunteers to take the reigns in these projects:

Acire

Acire is the project I created to produce a solid library of Python Snippets to make it easier for new developers to get started with the platform. The project has been pretty popular and I am keen to see it continue to grow.

Right now Acire has a good feature-set to browse and run snippets, but I would love to see it continue to develop and include the following:

  • Dependency Checking – when running a snippet that requires a module that you don’t have installed, Acire should tell you and provide a one-click installation of the required module(s). Ed has a branch that he started, and this seems like a good start on this solution.
  • Async Documentation Checking – right now when Acire loads documentation links it stalls due to it’s non-async loading of the docs URL title. This causes significant problems if you are not connected to a network. It would be good to use GIO to solve this.
  • Better Searchability Of Snippets – I would love to see (a) a search box to do a text search across all snippets and (b) see a better taxonomy of snippets. There are two cases here: (1) I want a snippet that is part of a specific module, and (2) I want a snippet to help me with something (such as playing music). Today you can only search by category (which is mainly categorized by module name). This could be greatly improved.
  • Multiple Language Support – while I love Python, I would love Acire to be able to support multiple languages. I think the most elegant way to do this is to have a language pack for each supported language. Today you get Python content with the python-snippets package, but I would love to see c#-snippets as an example.

Would you like to take the reigns with Acire? If so, drop me an email to jono AT ubuntu DOT com.

Python Snippets

For Python Snippets I would like to grow a team of reviewers. Right now I approve all merge proposals and merge them into the branch (which is used to generate the daily PPA), but I think it makes better sense to distribute this work across a number of contributors that can communicate via a mailing list.

If you are interested in joining this team, drop me an email to jono AT ubuntu DOT com.

PyJunior

PyJunior was a project I wrote in a few hours while on vacation. The whole point is to make programming for kids much easier, and although simple, the program is off to a good start.

PyJunior really excites me. It holds so much potential to really introduce kids to Python and all the fun you can have with it. Some plans I have had for PyJunior include

  • Integrated Kid Friendly Docs – I have a dream for the documentation in PyJunior. You click the Help button and a window displays a list of Recipes. These are tutorial documents that outline how to do something fun such as make a calculator or a game. Each recipe not only explains how to write the code in simple kid-friendly steps, but also includes a button next to each code snippet that will paste it into the editor. I think it could be awesome to have a PyJunior Docs Team that produces these docs, and that the Recipe Browser would grab them off the Internet to save having to ship them with the app. This could really open up the world of programming for kids.
  • Sharing Programs – I includes a Share button in PyJunior that is switched off by default, but the goal was to create one-click way in which you can share a program with your friend. Kids need to be able to easily help each other with programs and this would provide a means for one kid to share his/her program with their friend who can then help them do something or fix a problem.
  • Interactive Tutorial – I would love to have written an animated interactive tutorial (like the first level of a modern game that explains how the controls work) that explains how the interface works.

Would you like to take the reigns with PyJunior? If so, drop me an email to jono AT ubuntu DOT com.

Moving On

If any of these projects sound exciting to you, do get in touch. I want to make sure that each has a competent maintainer who has the time to commit to the project, so I will go through a short evaluation for each. Thanks in advance to everyone who volunteers to help. :-)

  • http://manishtech.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/ubuntu-maverick-development-updates/ Ubuntu Maverick development updates | Manish's Tech Blog

    [...] Jono Bacon has invited interested people to come forward and take over Acire and PyJunior development # [...]

  • https://launchpad.net/~edgar-b-dsouza Ed S

    Jef:

    (No Reply link on your other comment, so replying here)

    Your reservations about CouchDB are somewhat ominous :) I avoided it because of the learning curve, but now it appears a good idea from the stability POV too. Also, user config, which used to be mostly in plain-text config files, is now much more opaque and hard to get at – quite a few people dislike that.

    Python DB-API sounds good; I need to read up about it, though.

    I don’t use Gwibber any more; the devs are apparently focusing on adding new features and not so much on fixing bugs.

    I’d thought about bzr pulls for the snippet library, but with the daily PPA, it didn’t have much value (under Ubuntu). I see your point that it would be useful for other distros, and perhaps we can work to add it as an optional component (so it won’t interfere with Ubuntu’s mechanism, but can be configured on by default in other distros).

  • https://launchpad.net/~edgar-b-dsouza Ed S

    Hey, what happened to the earlier comments? They seem to have disappeared (both in Chrome and Firefox). Is the comments system broken, or are we not allowed to voice our opinions and ideas on this blog?

    I wonder if this is covered in The Art of Community… have just gotten started on it, and already shelved it for work.

  • http://www.ziben.com.br/?p=17 Ubuntu Maverick development updates | Ziben IT Solutions

    [...] Jono Bacon has invited interested people to come forward and take over Acire and PyJunior development # [...]