[sword-devel] Project management issues with the Sword Project

Troy A. Griffitts scribe at crosswire.org
Wed May 9 21:30:13 MST 2007


Thank you for offering your help regarding our project websites.  I 
agree with your assessment; a reorganization would be a welcomed change. 
  Here are a few of my specific thoughts on the matter:

Most frontend projects have their own website, bugtracker, source 
repository, etc.  CrossWire makes these services available from our 
server (apache/tomcat, jira, svn, ...), but most projects still choose 
to use sourceforge or another site-- which is fine.  I am hesitant for 
us to install something like Trac, when sourceforge and google are 
focused on providing such services.

The goal of the main CrossWire page is to initially welcome all kinds of 
users and filter them to the correct sub-site tuned to their interests. 
  Organizing this is a challenge-- end users of Bible software want 
something very different than developers looking for API examples.

The SWORD Project site (http://crosswire.org/sword/) seems more geared 
to developers and contributers than it does to end user, but this is the 
only place for end users to find certain information.  For example it 
has a facility to let project leaders post news items about their 
project.  This should probably be moved to the CrossWire main page. 
Module downloads are also under the SWORD site, though there is a link 
directly from the main CrossWire site.

The current site layout was contributed by good-hearted people just 
learning about JSP includes.  The current page structure makes difficult 
the task of adding a side menu choice, and the locations are not very 
modular.  I have no strong feelings which would prevent unwinding the 
complexity to a simple layout.

Our online study tool (The Bible Tool) is not advertised very well from 
the CrossWire main page (at the top right "Read the Bible" link).  This 
addresses one of the 4 top level visitors of CrossWire (consumers 
seeking software, consumers seeking book addons to their software, 
_consumers seeking to study the Bible_, contributors).  Originally, 
CrossWire hoped to remain solely the developer of tools and for other 
organizations to actually host The Bible Tool software, but things 
haven't worked out with that yet, so we are the current host.

Currently 2 sites: CrossWire and The SWORD Project are under version 
control in svn.  They should be mostly relocatable so people can check 
them out locally and make modifications and commit if they are given 
commit access.

Traditionally, I have made a hard stand to normalize on technologies 
(db:firebird, http:apache, dynamic_html:java/jsp), but this has 'laxed 
somewhat in the last couple years with additions like our wiki at 
http://crosswire.org/wiki (not java/jsp based).  I am not thrilled about 
this, but will not let my normalization policy prohibit us from using a 
tool which will truly enhance our cooperation and productivity (couldn't 
find a good jsp based wiki).

Again, thank you for the offer to help.  I'm not sure if I've 
discouraged you, but I hope not.


Andrew Sterling Hanenkamp wrote:
> Disclaimer: I'm exposing my newby perspective on the project. I know 
> nothing about the long term plans of the contributors/maintainers in 
> reference to the web site and project management. I'm new to the project 
> and am risking stepping on someone's toes by saying this before I 
> understand the project culture a bit more, but since this would be the 
> area I may be best qualified to contribute, here goes...
> I've been looking through the project resources related to Sword and it 
> looks like Sword has dabbled in a little bit of this and that over time 
> for project management. It looks like Source Forge was employed to some 
> extent for a bit, there are forums that seem to have mixed success, the 
> mailing list seems to be consistently useful, JIRA seems to have a 
> smattering of tickets that are more or less used, and the web site is a 
> mixture of somewhat recent and somewhat ancient information with a 
> number of broken links. All in all, it's a bit disorganized, a bit 
> sparse, but not in horrible shape.
> The documentation of the Sword Project is spread thin and the web site 
> organization has a feeling of a structure that was initially sound, but 
> has slowly become mixed up over time. There are a lot of back and forth 
> cross links, for example, that make it difficult to figure out what's 
> going on. Several times I've thought, "I remember seeing a link for X, 
> but where is it," and then had to click on several links back and forth 
> until I found the page that had link X on it.
> I would be very interested in helping with the site and project 
> infrastructure and trying to get it into better shape. I think if there 
> was a little more front-end organization here, the project might manage 
> to pull in more volunteers a little more easily. Some better 
> organization could also be a help to the existing community. As it is, 
> it kind of feels like you have to be an expert in the internals of Sword 
> before you can become an expert in the internals of Sword. (At least, 
> this has been my experience so far trying to learn more about the 
> development side of things.)
> My recommendation would be to restructure the site and try to collapse 
> out all but the key pieces. I'd consider using a tool like Trac or 
> Drupal to provide the infrastructure for building the site. I wouldn't 
> want to eliminate anything someone really is using. For example, if one 
> or two of the JIRA queues are being used well, leave them, but move the 
> rest into the other system---this is just an example, I'm not really 
> proposing that JIRA is something that should go away. Basically, I'm 
> just suggesting that the structure of the site, documentation, and 
> project tools be evaluated and then attempting to reduce the 
> infrastructure into a small kernal that is useful and concentrates 
> effort into one place so that things aren't quite so spread out.
> Anyway, I develop web sites, organize them, and occasionally design them 
> for a living. I would be willing to help here if there is any interest 
> in such help.
> Cheers,
> Andrew
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