Forum OpenACS Q&A: Personal statement for Andrew Grumet

Posted by Andrew Grumet on
Here it is...

1. Who you are

My name is Andrew Grumet.  I live in Somerville, MA, USA and consult for MIT Sloan and a few other customers.

In addition to OpenACS/.LRN I am active in weblog technology, a member of the RSS Advisory Board and a co-author of Software Engineering of Internet Applications.  Please refer to the Projects section of my site map ( and to my weblog ( for more information.

2. Involvement

Before working with OpenACS I programmed with ACS at ArsDigita, which hired me in October, 1999.  I went independent in 2002, and soon after joined the Sloan team to help with the upgrade and launch of SloanSpace v2, on a codebase that was to become .LRN. I authored the wap and photo-album-lite packages, co-authored the rss-support package, and have contributed bugfixes here and there over the years.

3. Affiliation

I'm an independent working closely with Sloan on .LRN.

4. Ideas/plans

Here are some directions, some of which we're already moving in, that I support and would advocate for

- Encourage and publicize innovation in OpenACS.  I know, I know,  "innovation" is overused but like obscenity I know it when I see it.  The translation server is innovative.  Peoples' eyes light up when I describe to them how it works.  We need more of that IMO, and to take credit when we innovate.

- Search for the win-wins.  There's a lot of energy here, but also a lot of diversity.  The trick is to identify the shared goals and build on each other's work as much as we possibly can.  For example, Vienna did some fascinating customizations that, assuming Vienna wants to share, we should review and bring in where appropriate.  I think everybody knows this---I'm just highlighting it---and maybe someone is already going after Vienna.

- Improve the user experience across the boards.  A lot of great ideas about page flow and features got lost in the ACS 3x to 4x transition and still haven't found their way back in.  One example is keyworded email notifications.  Another is a single, site-wide page where a moderator can examine content posted by, e.g., just the newly registered users.  Somebody must need these.

- Identify and weed out cruft.  I'm not talking about -deprecated procs here, but big things that make it hard to develop on OpenACS.  The procedural logic layer in the database, for example.  It adds hours to days of development time often with little to no benefit.  Can we get rid of it?  This discussion is already taking place.

5. Commitment

I am involved in a number of different projects and would only be able to spend a few hours per week in this role.  I'd expect to attend OCT meetings but am otherwise pretty flexible and can go where needed.  Examples: If nobody is working with Vienna I'd be happy to spend OCT cycles on that.  I can help identify lost but useful features such as "new stuff", try to identify people who need them, and cheerlead as they implement.  I can evangelize.