[squeak-dev] Call For *Your* Opinion

Ross Boylan ross at biostat.ucsf.edu
Tue Apr 20 04:27:16 UTC 2010

On Mon, 2010-04-19 at 06:49 -0400, Ian Trudel wrote:
> Dear Squeakizen,
> I would like to call for your opinion(s) in regard to contributions. I
> am a firm believer in surveying the community in order to improve our
> sense of direction, our culture, and bonding as a community.
> 1. What are your biggest hurdles preventing you from contributing to Squeak?
Time and the lack of good documentation.

The two are related: lack of documentation means it takes more time to
get anything done.  I've repeatedly had the experience of having some
time to work on a project in squeak, and then burning through the time
in the "getting started" phase.

My contributions would likely be application rather than infrastructure,
though there are various pieces that apps need that aren't there
(auto-completion, input widgets) I might make along the way.

> 2. What would it take for you to contribute more?
More time and better documentation.
> 3. What are your expectations in regard to contributions?
My hope is that, if worthy, the changes would make it into releases.  My
impression is that historically that has  not been the case, though
things may be better now.

I think the bar for documentation needs to be higher: there are too many
classes and methods without comments.  I don't honestly "expect" this
now, but contributions should have comments (and test cases if
appropriate).  Adding documentation after the fact is difficult, since
only original author may know the intent.

At the method level, I mean primarily documentation describing the
arguments and results of the method, along with any significant
side-effects.  Comments on particular pieces of codes or implementation
issues are nice too, but it terms of understanding how the system hangs
together they are not as critical.
> 4. What are the reasons behind the low level of contributions from
> other community members, according to you?
I'm not sure I agree that the level of contributions is low, and I'll
let others speak for themselves.
> 5. What would you improve in order to increase the number of
> contributions and the number of contributors?
> 6. How would you rate your sense of social identification to the
> Squeak community, on a scale from 1 to 10. (1 is the lowest, 10 the
> highest)
> 7. What is your rating based on?
I like squeak/smalltalk a lot and having been using it intermittently.
However, I haven't had much time to participate.
> 8. Anything else?
While the swiki is a valuable resource, the uncertain relevance of the
information there to any particular image makes it less helpful, because
in some cases it can be misleading.

I also think that the image is the best place for basic documentation,
except perhaps for the higher level "how it hangs together".

Ross Boylan

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