Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow

I am very pleased and quite joyful to be writing this post.  Rarely in the life of a software project are such pivotal and fundamentally transformational choices made.  Over the course of the last few months, I have spent most of my time talking to community members, consulting with our Varien team and researching various topics related to Magento’s development and how to best handle our rapid growth.

Currently, the magentocommerce.com site is the focal point of everything--information, interaction and everything in between.  It is Magento’s home on the web, Varien’s business channel, and bundled within it a community site, which includes the bug tracker interface and forums, along with documentation and a variety of other vehicles for accomplishing many things. The original conception and creation of the site was fantastic during the early stages and has been the backbone of everything that has helped us accomplish a tremendous amount, reach awesome milestones and to grow rapidly and dynamically.

Reflecting on the past is fun, but what is more exciting is looking towards the future! 

The activity around Magento is exploding and it is highly exciting to be talking about how to continue to manage this growth.  We believe this can and should be done through the lowering of barriers to getting involved.  Varien wants to facilitate this as much as possible and through talking with many community members, it’s clear to see that many possess a true passion to contribute.  We are very eager to integrate these elements of our community in a fruitful way.  In looking to ensure the continued dynamism, success and growth of Magento, what we have discussed and agreed on is a proposal for sweeping changes to key systems and processes that will make collaboration easier and more transparent.  Hopefully, when effectively executed, these enhancements will give everyone more of what they want and promote even greater growth with an increased ability to channel contributions into the right paths.

In general, we would like to establish and implement a new platform, a true community built and community driven platform in which we can enable people to contribute with limited impediment.  Specifically, we would like to aim to put whatever contributions come in into some sort of workflow, provide for some method of tracking and notification which is conducive to productivity and all the while ensure that data, information and tools are out there and available for anyone looking to use them beneficially.

So how do we plan on accomplishing this?  This is where your voice counts.

First, there are a few areas in which we want to focus our efforts initially, based on feedback from you.  Mainly, those are source code management related, QA related including bug submission, tracking and notification, documentation related mostly focusing on wiki and user-contributed docs, also included in this is some feed aggregation and finally communication including mailing lists, forums and related methods.  For all of these areas we would like your thoughts on which tools work and which don’t.  Is there anything you have used or seen in use on previous projects which has worked well or is there anything you prefer that was used?  We want the community to feel comfortable with these tools and therefore we would like your input on them.

Second, after we collecting suggestions, We are pulling to put together our next Community Advisory Board meeting within two weeks to discuss the suggestions from the community and options and put together a plan and a task force to put the plan into action.  The task force will include CAB members and members of the community.  Man power is one thing you can never have enough of and anyone with technical ability who would like to help us set up whatever solution(s) we decide on is encouraged and more than welcome to contact me so that we can link up and figure out the best possible way to help.

I am optimistic about this.  Once we decide on a solution, we will definitely be looking towards the community for help on putting the pieces of the puzzle of our new growth-oriented infrastructure together.  After that is up and running we can focus our attention on any remaining issues of policy and trying to figure out where we can tear down walls there as well.  We are already blazing a trail and the more momentum we can build and channel will help to make Magento and our community an unstoppable force in the eCommerce revolution.

I look forward to reading your comments and suggestions and engaging everyone in dialogue and the work thereafter.  As always, feel free to email me,

Koby smile