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OCT Statement Fall 2004

I think all the candidates for the OCT are excellent candidates.

I've been developing on ACS and OpenACS full-time for 4 years, on both Oracle and Postgres. I'm author of the Project Manager (currently 23K lines of code) and Resource List packages , and the current maintainer of Logger, Organizations, Postcard, and Room Reservations packages.

I'm a documentation maniac, and a strong advocate for usable, effective designs. My background is in Human Computer Interaction.

As to the OpenACS community, I've compiled a document which lists our strengths, but I think we need to work on these areas:

  • We have too many barriers in place that keep people from adopting OpenACS. The installation process is difficult, which probably turns off about 97% of the people that would try out OpenACS otherwise, and to be frank, we generally suck at marketing. We generally fall into a common trap of technologists: ''Our techology rocks, but nobody else is cool enough to realize it''. So I think our focus should be on growing the community, and in order to do that, we need to make it easy for people to get involved. Using Arch is another thing I'd like to eventually push us towards, once we can find a suitable CVS - Arch gateway. This will allow any developer to publish changes even without commit access, and improve our distributed development. However, I think when we do change things, the process to do so must be well-documented.

  • I think we need to work more on the end-user experience.

  • I also think flawless upgrades are a very important goal to work towards.

  • We have a very powerful API, but we also make it hard to get started as a developer. There are also a lot of ways we could make development easier. I think Matthew's Attrribute Management System (AMS) is a great improvement, and I'm very inspired by the Jotspot demos. I'm very impressed with the direction Lars has been moving us. Ideally, it should be really easy to create simple applications.

If I'm elected to the OCT, I aspire to be a clone of Joel, who I think has done a tremendous amount to move OpenACS forward the last few years.

I hope to help solidify and communicate the process OpenACS will take as it moves forward. I also hope to better communicate between the OCT and the community at large (although I think they're doing a pretty decent job).

Besides my technical background, I am the president of a national (and working on international) non-profit organization.