A real-life friend passed this link to me yesterday, and I thought it was appropriate to share with the phpBB community, since it deals, in part, with the development cycle of open source projects.
The link is a talk sharing a title with this blog post, given by two Google engineers at their I/O 2009 conference.
When they began to talk about the “bus factor” of a project (around the seven minute mark), my ears perked up a little bit, because, for the lifespan of phpBB, we’ve had a pretty darn low bus factor. If we go back to the code swarm released last summer, we see that most of the time, developers simply huddle around one lead contributor.
That lead contributor has been our “bus factor” of one.
Moving forward, we really want to get the bus factor much higher. We are working to achieve this in two main ways:
- Writing more unit tests to help define what individual functions should do
- Writing further specifications to identify what aspects broad features should have
Also, with our switch to JIRA and Git, all developers patches are available (at least briefly) for external review even before they make it into the main “develop-olympus” version control branch.
We’ve expanded the development team as well. We recently added nickvergessen and rxu to the development team, to bring our ranks to nine, the largest phpBB development team in my memory.
If you would like to help, initial documentation on writing Unit Tests is available on our Wiki and we would really appreciate your help in increasing our coverage. If you have a patch with new tests or a bugfix just create a ticket on our tracker. If you would like to participate in the development process of phpBB 3.1 or phpBB 4, go to area51 and post your ideas, RFCs or present patches for new features for discussion.