[Nitro] Retrospective and future direction.

Dylan Bruzenak dylanb at digitalvalence.com
Wed Apr 19 10:48:42 EDT 2006

One of the directions I'd like to see the project go is making it easier 
for new people to get into the code base and contribute.  The success of 
a project like this depends entirely on its community.  There is a great 
group of people here already, and making the party bigger (along with 
improved docs to provide direction) can only help accelerate growth and 
adoption.  Although the necessity of 'competing' with a project like 
rails is dubious since NitrOg seems to follow a different set of 
principles, the success of that project cannot be ignored as a model.  
And it is dominant in large part because of its massive contributor 
community, both in the form of direct committers and plugin developers.

Toward this end I have a couple of questions:

Why does Nitro use a non-standard source control system ?  I was able to 
get it up and running fine, and it seems very nice, but everyone already 
has CVS (and many have Subversion).  They don't need to download or 
learn anything new to use it.  Using a non-standard system hinders 
adoption and contribution.

As for documention, I've been distracted with other things - is the wiki 
fixed yet ?  Or is Nitro moving to oxyliquit as the primary 
documentation repository ?  With NitroHQ gone and oxyliquit off the 
beaten path and therefore difficult to find, many people would probably 
be excused for thinking this project was dead, rather than heating up.  
Perhaps someone can take charge of the minor administravia in order to 
take the weight off of George's overburdened shoulders ? 

Diagrams that cover the overall architecture would be very nice to 
have.  And a good philosophy statement, preferably delineating what the 
Nitro/Og projects are and are not very clearly. 

I hear George is going to Athens or something to give a presentation.  
That kind of profile expanding behaviour would be very helpful once the 
website details are sorted out.  If you get people interested and they 
come in and have no site to go to, you are going to lose most of those 
new people. 

How much native code does Nitro use ?  The JRuby geniuses almost have 
rails running on the VM; it would be nice to have 'something doing' in 
that regard.  Not terribly important, but nice.

As to the speed of patch application, is there a way to speed this up ?  
Is this a time constraint issue; a patch review time issue, or what ?  
How do other projects handle these details ?  Also, is there a policy of 
having to have a test for new features so that they can be easily 
demonstrated and verified by the patch 'applicator' ?  What with the 
flurry of submitted patches lately, there has to be some standard way of 
checking for conflicts and notifying the competing contributors so that 
a solution can be worked out.

> Over the past two months, I think we've made good progress in taming
> glycerin. :)
> We've fixed lots of bugs, added test cases, were gifted with Oxyliquit
> and our little community is growing. Good work all!
> I hope people are finding Nitro and Og more stable than ever before.
> And if you aren't, please let us know so we can fix it. :)
> Overall, I'm pleased with our progress. I do have to note that patches
> aren't being applied very quickly, so that's definitely a sticking
> point in our process that is solely on me. If anyone has anything else
> to add, good or bad, please do. Especially suggestions that can
> improve things for us.
> Now, for future direction, let's start charting our course for 0.31.0.
> Community participation is especially encouraged here. :)
> A few of my ideas are below. Please note, I'm merely making
> suggestions, not defining a course. I think the community as a whole
> should decide that.
> I think we should start easing the learning curve. So I suggest we
> concentrate on writing docs and asking and answering questions on
> Oxyliquit. This would benefit everyone obviously.
> I also think we can do a few things to make writing apps easier. I'd
> like to suggest my gen scaffold and gen model ideas as enhancements to
> be worked on. Basically, the scaffolding would write everything out to
> files for easy editing. The model would write out an Og model for an
> existing database table. The basic idea is to make it really easy to
> get an application up and running.
> Anyway, those are my thoughts. I look forward to hearing from others.
> --
> "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they
> will surprise you with their ingenuity." —General George S. Patton
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