DPS911: Looking Back

Blog Posts

During the semester, I did work on three projects: Butter, Popcorn Maker FCP, and TestSwarm for iOS. The following links lead to each blog post I wrote this semester.

January

February

March

April

Lessons Learned

Lesson 1: It’s Not Just About Code

The first lesson I learned was that although code is important, it’s also equally important to be online. Using social media to talk about the work being done and increasing awareness in the community is key to the growth of the project.

It’s also important for the project to have a good structure that is easy to follow. People will be more likely to contribute to code that they can understand.

Second Lesson: Consistency

Working on an open source project requires consistency. Code often changes so quickly that what was working today will likely be broken tomorrow. It’s also important to always blog and use Twitter, IRC, and the other forms of communication used in different projects.

Third Lesson: Plan and Execute

Ideas are good, but planning and execution is more important. When there is an idea that people are unsure of, or one that may cause many changes, breaking it down into smaller chunks and iterating on it can quickly reveal how viable it is.

Fourth Lesson: Organization

Being able to track what needs to be done, the state of each task, and who is doing what is extremely important. This is where Lighthouse and GitHub come in. Lighthouse not only keeps everything organized, but we can look at how long, on average, tickets take to complete, how long reviews take, and how often bugs delay estimated completion times. All of these details can help the planning of the project in the future: better estimates, and a better a idea of what has worked and what hasn’t.

Reflections

I am very glad that I was able to take this course and work on Butter, Popcorn Maker FCP, and TestSwarm for iOS. I learned how valuable blogging and communicating with the community is. I blogged and tweeted much more in these past four months than I ever have, and I plan to do more. Making more use of Lighthouse and GitHub this semester also gave me good insight into tools that I can use in future projects that I create. Although this course has come to an end, I still plan to do the work needed in order to land the UndoManager in Butter.

This experience has been great; every programming student should take Dave Humphrey‘s open source classes.

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