Monday, July 23, 2007

Unhealthy Activity?

Brett Porter posted the top contributors on the Maven user's list - naming the first 3 only.

By my own count I answered 61 threads - so that would put me at #14 or #15. I would have guessed far lower but numbers don't lie - I still feel like a slacker. I also feel like Wayne needs to get a life (j/k :) ) but I digress. 1485 people have posted so far this year - that doesn't make me feel very good. Sure, it's nice that people are interested in Maven, but looking at most of the questions it shows 2 things: Documentation still kind of sucks, and Maven is still too cumbersome and confusing.

I just started back into Rails after about 3 years, so not surprising I forgot it all. So I dove back into it - guess what? I don't need a Rails user group... it is well documented, snippets abound in the google fields, and most of all - it just plain makes sense. Half the time I guess the name of a method (I knew that "has_one :order" existed, so then I tried "has_many :orders" [note the plural] - it worked!). I've said it before and it still believe it: Maven needs a better face. The "wait 'till we get tooling" answer is losing water - it's been 2 years now. I believe in the project - I really do - but my faith is running out. Could it be the Buildr guys were right afterall?


Brett said...

well done - you were indeed at #14.

I agree with the continued need for improved documentation (I remain happy with the last proposal I sent and the current structure, it's all a matter of volunteer time), and while I think that might change the traffic/noise level of the list, I don't think it would change the dynamics which I think are quite healthy on at least that list.

Eric said...

Agreed - the dynamics are indeed swell. You won't find many projects that have even 20 people who answer questions with any regularity. I never have any issue with the Maven community writ-large... every OSS project should be so lucky to have so many smart and motivated people involved.

No, my issue has, and always has been, Maven's inherrent complexity - largely around extendability (core API and such) and configurability (the POM).