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Project Management Infrastructure Redesign 2011

Revision as of 00:16, 13 December 2011 by Wayne.eclipse.org (Talk | contribs)

This effort is being tracked by Bug 243223.

Note that this document is not intended to be all inclusive. The combination of this document, the existing Developer Portal Use Cases, and the Eclipse Development Process form a more complete picture.

Problem Statement

Current infrastructure (i.e. The Developer Portal) is inadequate.

Multiple, separate data sources.

Portal is separate from the the resources being managed. Requires a context switch to use. Most committers have difficulty (or outright refuse) to make that context switch.

Some management tasks are spread out. Specifying a description for a project, for example, requires that an HTML file be created in the project directory (requires CVS check-in), and then the specification of a URL in the portal. Very difficult to maintain. Very separated from where and how the description is used. As a result, descriptions tend to be poorly specified, and maintained.

Too much information is not included in or managed by the portal. Project proposals, review documentation, IP logs, are all separate.

Technology Choices

Project management is essentially a document-management and workflow problem. Several solutions exist in this area.

The Eclipse Foundation currently uses Drupal for Eclipse Marketplace, Eclipse Live, and the EclipseCon Website. Several Eclipse Foundation employees are already well-versed in Drupal development, and finding temporary resources with the necessary skills in the local area should be relatively easy and cost-effective. Drupal is based on PHP, a language that is known to most of the Eclipse Foundation staff, and is currently in wide deployment by the Eclipse Foundation.

Perhaps one of the features that weighs most heavily in Drupal's favour is the size of the community behind it (which measures in the hundreds of thousands) and the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of plugins that are available to extend it. The availability of plugins, combined with the relative ease with which Drupal can be extended means that the overall amount of custom code that needs to be maintained should be relatively small (as compared to other solutions that may require more customization).

There are several other options that have been considered, including a handful of Eclipse-based solutions (which would allow us to "eat our own dogfood"). After careful consideration, however, we have determined that we do not have the resources to implement these solutions.

Technology comparison
  Pros Cons
Drupal
  • Skilled resources within existing Eclipse Foundation staff
  • Large number of skilled resources available
  • Very large community of developers, adopters, and users.
  • Deployed by 1,000s of organizations
  • Hundreds of plug-ins available to leverage in favour of writing custom code
    • Integration with Facebook, Twitter, etc.
    • Access information via RESTful webservices
  • Build-in (no-brainer) database support
  • Integrated Development tools + Eclipse/PDT
  • Existing IT Infrastructure support
  • Drupal-specific data structures and formats.
  • Not dogfooding; perception in the community
Skalli
  • Java based: Some Java skills on staff
  • "Dogfooding" solution
  • Eclipse-based development tools available
  • Leverage existing Eclipse technologies (EMF, workflow projects, SOA, EclipseLink, etc.)
  • Project developers have expressed interest in implementing some Eclipse Foundation processes (though with no specific commitments)
  • Opportunity to fully control the database structure
  • New project, very small community
  • Limited availability of skilled resources
    • Ramp up time for new developers is relatively long.
    • Good quality Java-savvy developers are relatively difficult to find.
    • Virtually impossible to find developers familiar with Skalli itself
  • Integration opportunities with existing Eclipse technologies remain largely unexplored
  • No existing IT Infrastructure support
Apricot
  • Java based: Some Java skills on staff
  • "Dogfooding" solution
  • High-quality, established project with several high-volume consumers
  • Eclipse-based development tools available
  • Leverage existing Eclipse technologies (EMF, workflow projects, SOA, EclipseLink, etc.)
  • Community size is unknown
  • Unknown availability of skilled resources
    • Assumed to be no skilled Apricot developers available in the local area.
    • Ramp up time for new developers is relatively long.
    • Good quality Java-savvy developers are relatively difficult to find.
  • Availability and usefulness of extensions is unknown
  • No existing IT Infrastructure support

Roles

  • EMO(ED) - EMO Executive Directory (i.e. Mike)
  • EMO(PM) - EMO Project Manager (i.e. Wayne)
  • EMO(LC) - EMO Legal Council (i.e. Janet)
  • EMO(IP) - EMO Intellectual Property Team
  • Proposer
  • Committer

Communication Channels

The communication channels used by the system are expected to change with time as technologies and communities evolve. Favoured technologies of the day are Twitter, RSS, and the eclipse.proposals forum.

Technology

LDAP authentication

  • All user information stored in LDAP

Themes

The following themes will guide the development of the new Project Management Infrastructure:

  • Trust committers to do the right thing;
  • Everything is undoable (i.e. revision tracking); and
  • Do the simplest thing that can possibly work (avoid complexity)

We assume that committers will always endeavour to do the right thing. Specifically, we give committers leeway to do what they think is right. This, in combination with revision tracking means that mistakes can be easily undone. A committer may, for example, make ill-informed changes to a project's scope that is later reversed by the project lead or PMC.

It would be easy to get mired in multiple layers of approvals for various activities, or complex logic to prevent committers from shooting themselves in the proverbial foot. But such complexity makes the cost of later change and ongoing maintenance prohibitively high.

Note that we make a distinction between committers and general users. We do not--as a general rule--trust the general population to do the right thing. For completeness, we include with the definition of "committers" all those users with roles that permit them access to the project (including project leads, pmc members, EMO staff, etc.)


References and Links