Forum OpenACS Development: Response to OpenACS 4 Search Integration, what should it look like?

OK ... here's what Don, wearing his project manager's hat, wishes could've been an alternative series of events.
  • Jerry writes Don, saying "I'm interested in providing htdig and swish search support in OpenACS 4.x. What do I need to do to take this on? I've already got it mostly working for 3.2.x so it is mostly a matter of integrating it with the 4.x site-wide search package"
  • My response would've been simple: "I dropped that option because no one took it up, meanwhile the OpenFTS solution looks very viable. I've delegated OpenFTS integration to Neophytos and Dan, why don't you e-mail them to see if the three of you can come up with an approach that will let you work towards integrating swish and htdig, without delaying their efforts to integrate OpenFTS?"
  • After putting their heads together, Neophytos, Dan and Jerry get back with a plan that will work within our strict timeframe, or come back and say "we can take some steps to ease future integration but there's no way we can support multiple options by the end of August"
  • This serves as a basis for a discussion within the group at large, explaining the decision and explaining why the decision was made.
  • If the decision turned out to be to go ahead and shoot for integration of external indexing tools as well as OpenFTS, then I would expect Jerry to accept responsibility for delivering on his end within our timeframe. Our timeframe's pretty loose, with no firm deadline (seeing as we're all volunteers) but, still, I'd only be willing to add additional tasks needing completion before first release if the person asking to include the task were willing to accept responsibility for following through.

In essence, this is all I mean when I ask that folks work within the project framework. I'd like folks to 1) work through me so I can make sure the appropriate team members are involved 2) work with those who already may own responsibility for the task or an overlapping task (in this case, responsibility for delivering a search solution has already been assigned and it seems reasonable to expect anyone proposing additional approaches to work with those responsible) and 3) be willing to accept responsibility for completion and delivery for whichever pieces of work they agree to take on.

That's just about it. This is a loose and relatively informal framework, one that others haven't found overly restrictive.

If Jerry's willing to work within this framework, I would *love* to see him jump in and work with Neophytos and Dan on ideas as to how best integrate various search technologies into the site-wide search package, if they're willing to take the time ot do so. I would leave the final decision up to them, though - if they felt it would be too distracting to work towards that goal during today's push to finish OpenFTS integration by our first release, I'd ask that Jerry live with that decision and I'd hope that he'd be willing to revisit the issue once integration was complete.

As far as whether or not I should be project manager, I mostly want to make it clear that I took on the role because the job needed doing, and no other candidate was popping up asking to take it on. Ben's too busy, Dan's never expressed an interest in taking it on (if he had, I would've done my best to stick him with it from the beginning!), etc.

I'm not doing it because I love power, want to enhance my resume, etc. If someone else were able to do as good or, more likely, a better job well ... that would free me up to spend more time digging into architectural issues, doing a more complete rewrite of the APM and cleaner multi-db support, etc etc etc.

So ... I'm not asking to be kicked out. Nor do I think I'm doing as bad a job as Jerry's comments would imply. But ... I'm not devoted to maintaining myself in the role as project manager, either.

What I am devoted to is doing what I can to get this project out the door in roughly seven weeks, if at all possible.

I apologize for losing my temper with Jerry, and take no offense as a result of him having lost his temper with me. Jerry's made significant contributions to AOLserver and I know he wants to see OpenACS be a great success. I think he knows I want OpenACS to be a great success, too. I think we have slightly different visions as to what that means, and perhaps as to how the OpenACS world ought to be structured, but I can live with that.