Changes in the bug squad and development team

September 24th, 2008

Over the past three years, Joomla! development has evolved. During the split from the Mambo project the Joomla! Core Team was fully responsible for overall development. As the project grew, the Core Team realized that additional structures where required to organize everything around the Joomla! project. Mid-2006, the Joomla! Core Team changed from a "developers only" team into a team that had coordinators for several focused areas. One of the roles was the role of "Development Coordinator." I was the first Development Coordinator within the Joomla! project and we only had general ideas on how this role should be fulfilled. The role has changed over time, and is still changing as the project evolves.

In August 2007, we drafted a plan to work on a final version of Joomla! 1.5. Being able to work on maintenance releases was key for releasing a stable version of Joomla! 1.5. After the split the development team worked on maintenance versions for Joomla! 1.0 and a full refactoring for Joomla! 1.5, but until then we never had released a new major version. The development team was simply too small, and with the focus on creating new logic we decided to create a new team with maintenance as their main responsibility. The Bug Squad has also evolved from a relative small and unstructured team, into a large group of active people that is very well organized (see the Joomla! maintenance procedures if you are interested how things work in the Bug Squad).

In the early stages of the Joomla! Bug Squad, the number of team members quickly increased, and Anthony Ferrara was assigned as the first team lead. As mentioned before, this team is still evolving and new changes have been put in place to make sure things keep on running smoothly. The challenge, from an organizational aspect, is to keep the barriers for participation as low as possible. An initial blog post titled "Lowering Barriers" that I wrote explained our motivation at that time (May 2008).

After creating the Bug Squad around Christmas 2007, I realized that the amount of work that goes into coordinating the maintenance is huge and it would be pretty impossible to also drive the development of new major or minor version. And so, Andrew Eddie was invited to work along me as a second Development Coordinator. As time progressed we also asked Anthony Ferrera and Samuel Moffatt to move into that role, so we can continue to spread the increasing workload.

We now have a situation that Joomla! development is organized in two teams; the Development Team and the Joomla! Bug Squad. We keep evolving and implementing necessary improvements in the two teams. Let’s look at the changes we have implemented so far.

Bug Squad

Within the Bug Squad we also have implemented some changes. We abandoned the position of team leader and created a new position of Joomla! Bug Squad Team Coordinator. We asked Ian MacLennan and Mark Dexter to fill that role, and we are glad they accepted. Within this role, they take care of the day to day operation of the Joomla! Bug Squad and help new members to find their way into this team. Andrew Eddie, Anthony Ferrara and Samuel Moffatt represent the core team, and along with me, the four of us support Ian and Mark working on the overall coordination (in the role as Development Team Coordinators) working hard on moving forward.

Along with the JBS team coordination roles we also have defined the roles of co-maintainers. The co-maintainers are responsible for committing patches that have moved to "ready-to-commit" status. Before they commit the code changes they do a final code validation (standards, quality, docbook mark-ups etc.). Ian MacLennan and Kevin Devine will be responsible for this role in the bug squad.

Development team

Let’s start with the Google Summer of Code. As you could have read in the September edition of the magazine we had a very successful version of this great event. As a result, we had ten successful projects. We invited Chantal Bisson, Dahn Le Phuoc and Ercan Özkaya to join the Development Working Group. We are very happy to announce that they each accepted our invitation, strengthening the Development Working Group. We expect to see them accomplish more great work.

Andrew Eddie, Johan Janssens and Louis Landry held the position of lead developers. Since we continue to work to lower the barriers, we really want to move from positions to roles. The position of lead developer has served a very good purpose for building 1.5. To evolve to a new situation, we decided already several months ago it was time to abandon these positions. We have not yet decided if there will be any new positions within the Development Team, this really depends on how we are going to move forward with Joomla! 1.6. We plan to share status information about this release, as soon as possible.

I want to thank the new team members, and the members that have accepted the new roles and wish them a lot of fun in those teams!