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

DM Smith dmsmith555 at yahoo.com
Thu May 10 04:51:12 MST 2007

My thoughts:
Inaccuracies should be corrected so that the information is correct.  
There is much that was true, but no longer is.

The home page should be reorganized to make it a show-case/gateway  
for Sword applications and for modules. I think our vision is to make  
God's word accessible and our strategy it to provide quality free/ 
Free applications and excellent modules. Each listed application  
should have some kind of indication of its appropriateness (e.g. OS  
platform), usefulness and currentness. Applications that require one  
to be a developer to build/run should be clearly marked and  
segregated, perhaps not on the home page.

Each Sword application should (most do) have it's own home page that  
is dedicated to that application. There should be minimum content  
present necessary for its inclusion on the Sword home page:  
Description, download links, support contact info, etc. This page  
should be geared to users, not developers.

Material for developers should be segregated from that of application  
users. The home page for developers should be a gateway/sitemap to  
all developer projects and resources. The goal for the page should be  
to encourage participation. It should provide links to the  
developer's home page for each. Active and orphaned projects should  
be clearly indicated. Orphaned projects should request an owner.

On May 10, 2007, at 12:30 AM, Troy A. Griffitts wrote:

> Andrew,
> 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.
> 	-Troy.
> 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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