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==== User Documentation ==== Documentation is key to the success of your project. If your users can't use the software then they will simply leave. If your potential developers do not know how to contribute they simply won't bother.
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User documentation is aimed at those people wishing to either use the software in a production environment or wishing to quickly evaluate the software before using in a production environment or becoming a developer on the project.

The kinds of documentation we would expect to find in this section are:

 * A description of the project
 * A feature list showing
 * Details of user support mechanisms
 * How to report bugs
 * How to make feature requests
 * A change log that indicates the important changes between released versions of the software
 * Install instructions, including a description of any pre-requisites
 * Getting started instructions
 * Detailed user documentation

==== Developer Documentation ====

Developer documentation is aimed at those people wishing to work with the source code of the project. They may be motivated by the need to work with the latest and greatest code, or they may be motivated by the need to add features or fix bugs. Developers are also users, so they will be interested in user docs as well as developer docs.

The kinds of documents we would expect to find in this section are:

 * How to retrieve the source code
 * Build instructions
 * Testing procedures
 * Details of developer support mechanisms
 * Contributor instructions, i.e. how to create and submit a patch
 * Release process (See "Release Management" below)
 * Governance Model
 * Coding standards
 * ["Marketing documentation"] consists of materials intended to attract potential users
 * ["User documentation"] consists of materials aimed at guiding users through common tasks.
 * ["Governance documentation"] contains materials aimed at showing users and developers how to contribute to the project
 * ["Developer documentation"] consists of materials aimed at helping people improve the software and its documentation

Like all pages in this wiki you are welcome (and encouraged) to contribute to this page by filling in the many gaps, either by providing links to other resources or by providing discussion content.

Open Source Development

There is more to open source than a licence. It is also a development methodology. This page links to various resources about different aspects of open source development.

TableOfContents([2])

Support

Documentation

Documentation is key to the success of your project. If your users can't use the software then they will simply leave. If your potential developers do not know how to contribute they simply won't bother.

  • ["Marketing documentation"] consists of materials intended to attract potential users
  • ["User documentation"] consists of materials aimed at guiding users through common tasks.
  • ["Governance documentation"] contains materials aimed at showing users and developers how to contribute to the project
  • ["Developer documentation"] consists of materials aimed at helping people improve the software and its documentation

Mailing Lists

Code Development

["SVN Commit Messages"] - SVN can send out emails on every commit, great for peer review and keeping up to date

SoftwarePatch - Working with patches

IPR Management

ContributorLicenceAgreements - a contributor licence agreement helps ensure that all contributions to the project can legally be included

Build Automation

Dependency Management

ApacheIvy

Issue/Bug/Patch Tracking

Testing

Quality is key. This does not mean shipping without bugs, that is close to impossible, what it does mean is shipping with no known bugs (actually shipping early releases with known. but manageable bugs can be ok too). Testing is the way to ensure you are shipping (near) bug free code. Testing falls into two camps, user testing and automated testing. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.

User Testing

Automated Testing

[http://tapestryjava.blogspot.com/2007/05/free-and-excellent-code-coverage-for.html EMMA] code coverage plugin for Eclipse

Release Early, Release Often

An important part of open source development is the creation of a release for users of the software. Whilst the source code is freely available and usually developed in an open manner, potential developers and users will usually want to be able to evaluate the code quickly and easily. Therefore, projects should frequently release their software in a form that is easily accessible.

"Release early, release often" is a well known mantra of open source development. There are many reasons why it is important to release early and release often. Some of the more important ones are:

  • Early and frequent feedback from users
  • easy access to the latest and greatest features
  • Builds developer confidence
  • Shows genuine project activity
  • Manageable upgrade path for users

Release Early, Release Often is part of building a sustainable open source project, releases produce users, users sometimes become contributors, contributors make the project stronger. The downside of releasing early and often is that you need to manage your user expectations. Be clear about the true status of your release and make any known bugs clear in your documentation.

Release Management

["Release Management"]

[wiki:ReleasingOpenSourceSoftware Releasing Open Source Software]

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Release_Management_method Wikipedia on Release Management Method]

[http://www.ics.uci.edu/~wscacchi/Papers/Open-Source-Research/OSSE3-Erenkrantz.pdf Release Management Within Open Source Projects by Justin R. Erenkrantz]

[http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Software-Release-Practice-HOWTO/ Software Release Practice HOWTO by Eric Steven Raymond]

Release Packaging

You should make the installation of your software as easy as possible, ideally users should be able to download and install from a binary, whilst developers should have a clear document describing how to configure their environment.

Installers

IzPack - an installer generator for the Java platform.

OSSWatchWiki: OpenSourceDevelopment (last edited 2013-04-15 13:56:17 by localhost)

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