LDSTech is dead?

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cardonbj
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Re: LDSTech is dead?

Postby cardonbj » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:32 pm

drepouille wrote:For security purposes, I would not make the source code of all church applications open source.

What security issues do you presume would exist that are more problematic than providing the applications themselves to end users?

Maybe you mean that there are "sensitive applications" that shouldn't be open sourced (like the in-Temple apps) and I support that. That's specifically why I said "the bulk of" and not "all".
sbradshaw wrote:LDS Music for iOS is struggling for volunteer developers, and Gospel Library for Windows is trudging along slowly. Both of them are still run as public LDSTech projects that anyone can join and contribute code to. Many people have joined the projects, but few actually put in pull requests – and of the few that do, even fewer do so consistently. For example, there are several open issues in GitHub for LDS Music for iOS, but the most recent pull request was about a month ago. This doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in the people who make decisions about where funding and focus should go (for example, towards LDSTech).

I don't blame contributing members entirely for the failure of LDSTech. There is a lot of continual work that needs to be done on the organizational side to keep a volunteer community engaged and provide support, which I think was a cost that was never fully planned for in LDSTech.

It's hard not to see that the volunteer work has been minimal, but I would like if it was kept in mind that the difficulty of contributing is one of the crux issues. For most of the life of the LDS Tech project, it wasn't as simple as find an issue on Github and open a PR against it (and Github itself wasn't always mature enough to support that, either). Definitely volunteers could have tried to help out more. I feel like I personally could have, too. If it was more "open sourcey" then it would be easier to be an occasional contributor. And I don't think the lack of engagement or activity should be a reason not to pursue it, though.

Allowing volunteer contributions should be seen as a worthy goal that is always given value and priority.

drepouille
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Re: LDSTech is dead?

Postby drepouille » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:52 pm

All LDS applications within LCR, which are used for membership and will soon be used for all finance functions are too sensitive to release to public view. Likewise, applications on several other LDS web sites (missionary, temple, etc) are too sensitive.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

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sbradshaw
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Re: LDSTech is dead?

Postby sbradshaw » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:56 pm

The Church has put forth several online crowdsourcing initiatives, and unfortunately, most of them have failed (for example, Helping in the Vineyard, which fizzled out after a few years and was replaced Volunteer.LDS.org, which was in beta for a couple of years and then abandoned). The success of Create.LDS.org remains to be seen. FamilySearch shines as a positive example (indexing and recently translation). It can't be run as a side project or as an afterthought. I think when the time and the leadership is right, the right things will happen to get things moving again.
Samuel Bradshaw • If you desire to serve God, you are called to the work.

cardonbj
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Re: LDSTech is dead?

Postby cardonbj » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:09 pm

drepouille wrote:All LDS applications within LCR, which are used for membership and will soon be used for all finance functions are too sensitive to release to public view. Likewise, applications on several other LDS web sites (missionary, temple, etc) are too sensitive.

I get what you're saying about LCR (maybe, only because it might expose a critical vulnerability and lead to leaking data), but most of the church's apps would be completely useless without access to the systems that fill them with data. But even if there are systems that might be too sensitive, there are tons of apps and websites that aren't sensitive from a code perspective.

karljtaylor
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Re: LDSTech is dead?

Postby karljtaylor » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:36 am

cardonbj wrote:
drepouille wrote:All LDS applications within LCR, which are used for membership and will soon be used for all finance functions are too sensitive to release to public view. Likewise, applications on several other LDS web sites (missionary, temple, etc) are too sensitive.

I get what you're saying about LCR (maybe, only because it might expose a critical vulnerability and lead to leaking data), but most of the church's apps would be completely useless without access to the systems that fill them with data. But even if there are systems that might be too sensitive, there are tons of apps and websites that aren't sensitive from a code perspective.


yup.

feels like this is likely often a pressure, it's not as though there aren't ways of managing that kind of thing. just has to be prioritized.

russellhltn
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Re: LDSTech is dead?

Postby russellhltn » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:08 pm

I think one of the issues is the effort the church would have to put into a sandbox and exposing it to the developers on the "outside". They may have discovered that the effort to create the environment and manage the community was too high when compared to the effort to develop in-house. This isn't like community development of a OS or a word processor.

Secondly, we've seen some of the church apps use a professional development environment - something that makes sense when you have a handful of full-time developers, but too expensive to hand out to the community.
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cardonbj
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Re: LDSTech is dead?

Postby cardonbj » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:02 pm

russellhltn wrote:I think one of the issues is the effort the church would have to put into a sandbox and exposing it to the developers on the "outside". They may have discovered that the effort to create the environment and manage the community was too high when compared to the effort to develop in-house. This isn't like community development of a OS or a word processor.

I don't disagree that it would require a possibly sizable up front investment of time and resources. However, in my opinion it's a worthwhile investment. It's likely that the community developers still wouldn't produce as much as anyone would like, but it would at least be possible. There are multitudinous open source projects that do all kinds of things from system monitoring, to personal calendars to email to whatever you can imagine.
Secondly, we've seen some of the church apps use a professional development environment - something that makes sense when you have a handful of full-time developers, but too expensive to hand out to the community.

There are businesses who need to make huge profits who use this business model, so it doesn't seem like it should be infeasible for a charitable organization to do it.

I'm also kind of curious what you mean by "professional development environment"? All of the Church's apps can be built using open source development platform tools. I guess it's not completely impossible that they have some proprietary libraries in there somewhere (though I don't think so...) but the mobile apps in particular (Gospel Library, LDS Tools, Scripture Mastery, etc.) can all be pretty easily built with only free tools (or standard development tools in the case of things like iOS).

russellhltn
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Re: LDSTech is dead?

Postby russellhltn » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:22 pm

cardonbj wrote:I'm also kind of curious what you mean by "professional development environment"?

A language, API or library that would require a significant cost to install on a developer's machine. Can the application be written without it? Yes, but it may require re-writing from scratch causing a significant setback.

I'd ask if you've done community development yourself? I've seen others who have come here extolling the wonders of community development, but I don't recall as any were developers themselves. Doing some number crunching, it appears the number of members in the general population of the US is around 2%. Probably less then that in other parts of the world. Given that the number of community developers are on the smallish side to begin with, that's going to greatly reduce the number of people that would be interested in programming for the church. Especially when you're talking about a project that's limited in application and doesn't benefit the population at large. I don't know the details, but I've gotten the sense that the church had made a effort at community development in the past and was disappointed in the results.

If you feel the desire for development, I'd suggest you head over to the Gospel Library for Windows. That's completely dependent on community developers and it has some catching up to do. Until that changes, and the Windows app can maintain pace with the iOS and Android apps, I doubt if the church would consider community development again.
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cardonbj
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Re: LDSTech is dead?

Postby cardonbj » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:36 pm

I am a software developer which definitely feeds into my belief that it is a worthwhile goal. I'm not saying they should switch any projects to exclusively community development. I think it would be good if the church's projects we're source available with all of their development done in the open or "in the open".

I am curious if they have some sort of proprietary development environment that would cost money to install. That would be interesting. Several of their projects could be developed on GitHub and have a process for accepting community contributions if anyone decided to make one.

The old LDSTech process was pretty complicated. Maybe some day it will become a worthwhile goal again to the right people.


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