The Cost of Community Development

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McDanielCA
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The Cost of Community Development

Postby McDanielCA » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:55 pm

The Cost of Community Development was originally posted on the main page of LDS Tech. It was written by Tom Valletta.



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The Church has done a little open source development in the past, but has not offered a simple way for technologists to contribute. Though we feel that everyone who wants to work on Church technology projects should be able to do so, the Church has not had the infrastructure to support technical contributions from world-wide audiences.

To encourage higher levels of participation the Church could support as many technologies as possible, including Java, .NET, Ruby, Python, C, PHP, Perl, Scala, Delphi, and JavaScript. However, as the cost of supporting multiple technologies is hardly justifiable, narrowing our focus to a few technologies is a better option. We are beginning by supporting Java open source, given that the servers and infrastructure are in place already.

Having settled on a technology, such as Java, we can begin writing code. For example, we can write an application that prints the stake directory. To build a foundation, we are working on Web services to securely share this data with those who would like to contribute. Other foundational needs include a source code repository, an issue tracking tool, and a place to collaborate. A Subversion repository has been set up, an issue tracking tool will soon be available, and the [url=c:%5CDocuments%20and%20Settings%5CTELFORDCA%5CLocal%20Settings%5CTemporary%20Internet%20Files%5CContent.Outlook%5CB9IX953B%5Ctech.lds.org%5Cwiki]LDS Tech Wiki[/url] and forums are great for collaboration. These are vital tools for a Church-wide technology effort of any size.

Supporting more technologies incurs associated costs, and each new technology will require similar infrastructure. Currently, we are able to work with only the Java developers, which make up about 25 percent of the technologists who wish to contribute. With time, support will be available for many other platforms as well.

Spencer W. Kimball reminded members in 1969 that “God has endowed us with talents and time, with latent abilities and with opportunities to use and develop them in his service. He therefore expects much of us; his privileged children” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 100). The statement is still true today.

Please visit LDS Tech regularly to see where your talents can be used.


Tom Valletta is a principal engineer for the Church.

TarginoSilveira-p40
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Postby TarginoSilveira-p40 » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:46 am

Hello I'm system analyst, and I had one idea that I think would be good, but I'am not programing in java, so I'll need help others to go ahead with it.

How can I do?

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:44 pm

McDanielCA wrote:To encourage higher levels of participation the Church could support as many technologies as possible, including Java, .NET, Ruby, Python, C, PHP, Perl, Scala, Delphi, and JavaScript. However, as the cost of supporting multiple technologies is hardly justifiable, narrowing our focus to a few technologies is a better option. We are beginning by supporting Java open source, given that the servers and infrastructure are in place already.

Having settled on a technology, such as Java, we can begin writing code. For example, we can write an application that prints the stake directory. To build a foundation, we are working on Web services to securely share this data with those who would like to contribute. Other foundational needs include a source code repository, an issue tracking tool, and a place to collaborate. A Subversion repository has been set up, an issue tracking tool will soon be available, and the [url=c:%5CDocuments%20and%20Settings%5CTELFORDCA%5CLocal%20Settings%5CTemporary%20Internet%20Files%5CContent.Outlook%5CB9IX953B%5Ctech.lds.org%5Cwiki]LDS Tech Wiki[/url] and forums are great for collaboration. These are vital tools for a Church-wide technology effort of any size.


Though what is your definition of support? Since you are going to expose Web Services almost any language will be able to work and subversion doesn't care if you use Java, C# or Cobol so I think the the community would support the code base. However, if the Church is going to be actively programming the projects with supportive edits from the community then I can understand selecting a single language as it will be the language that the church requires from its programmers.

For example I have an old program in VB that I created that took the exported data from MIS (that is an i not an l) and created an RTF document for a ward directory which would require just a few changes to make it work with Web Services however if required to have to write in Java I would basically have to scrap the old code and write the program anew. Just another consideration.
- David

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McDanielCA
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Postby McDanielCA » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:44 pm

If you would like to get involved with the Church development projects, you should visit the LDS Tech Wiki. On that main page, there is a section called "Requirements for Participation" section. It will tell you that you need to have an LDS Account and that you will need to agree to and fill out the Individual Contributors License Agreement.

From there you will be able to participate in discussion and work on either of the two projects that are currently underway.

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Postby mkmurray » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:13 pm

thedqs wrote:Though what is your definition of support? Since you are going to expose Web Services almost any language will be able to work and subversion doesn't care if you use Java, C# or Cobol so I think the the community would support the code base. However, if the Church is going to be actively programming the projects with supportive edits from the community then I can understand selecting a single language as it will be the language that the church requires from its programmers.

Because these Community-developed, Church-sponsored open source projects are such a new concept, it's still in sort of a trial mode to see how successful this venture will be. In my opinion, the more Community volunteers we get involved, the better the chances of success for this effort. Church employees have been (for quite a few months) laying down tons of brand new infrastructure, API's, test databases, etc. I think Church IT is building confidence in this architecture and involvement of the Community.

As for focusing on one development language, I think it ultimately came down to being able to use some of the Church's already-built infrastructure for testing, QA, deployment, and other standards. The benefit of this is that these Community Projects will get enterprise-level treatment in many regards. With the Church being the client of the Community and also being the sponsor, they are taking an active role in requirements gathering and stubbing much of the code. Church developers will likely be the main dev leads on the first few of these Community Projects.

For a discussion about this Java technology choice, see this section of the Wiki for the Home Teaching / Visiting Teaching Application: http://tech.lds.org/wiki/index.php/Talk:Home_Teaching_/_Visiting_Teaching_Application#What_development_technology_should_we_use.3F

Also for information about the Church's "solution stack" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solution_stack) of technologies, view the Wiki page entitled LDS Java Stack: http://tech.lds.org/wiki/index.php/LDS_Java_Stack


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