If you could add one feature to DNN what would it be? What bug is at the top of your wish list that you would like to get fixed in the next release? Is there some documentation you would like to see improved? Do you ever wonder why certain decisions are made for the platform or the community? What if I said that you can add that feature, or get that bug fixed, or help improve the documentation?
Over the last 2 weeks I have had a chance to speak to a lot of community members. I heard over and over again that people want to have more visibility into what is happening with the project. People want to help in developing the platform. People want to get involved to help solve many of the community and platform problems, both big and little. In short people want to participate in the development and management of the platform and community.
I have long believed that the strength of an OS project is measured not by its technology or codebase, but rather by the vibrancy of its community. Many products which might be technically superior have been supplanted in the market by Open Source products due to the fanatical following they develop as part of the Open Source development model. A thriving community also has a way of much more quickly narrowing the technical gaps than might otherwise occur with a purely closed development approach.
While DNN has some big technical issues we need to tackle this next year, I think our biggest issue is addressing how we re-invigorate our community. A critical part of most successful Open Source projects is the culture of collaboration and participation that is fostered within the community. This is an area where we can make some substantial improvements that can infuse new energy and vibrancy back into the DNN community.
As part of re-invigorating community we have begun the task of making the DNN Community true partners in developing and maintaining the DNN Platform. The first step in this process was to create a community structure which better reflects this partnership and which gives the community a greater role in managing the platform and the community.
At the top level we have created a Steering Committee which provides oversight for the product roadmap and community changes. This Committee is comprised of both DNN Corp and Community leaders and will help guide the future direction of the DNN Platform. The steering committee initially includes Peter Donker, Ernst Peter Tamminga, Bob Kruger, Will Morgenweck and myself.
While the steering committee will be responsible for high level strategic decisions for the platform and community, much of the week to week work will be handled by various Standing Working Groups. The standing working groups are where issues are discussed and evaluated and where plans are initially formulated. These groups may perform the needed work related to their function or may create ad-hoc working groups to perform work as they deem necessary.
Initially we have formed four standing working groups but may create others at the direction of the steering committee. These groups will have both DNN Corp and community members and will have a single member appointed to chair the group and help oversee operation of the group. This initial group leader will work with community members to define how the group will be organized. Some groups will have open membership, while other groups will be merit based where membership is by invitation only.
- Architecture Group - The architecture group is responsible for deciding the architectural and coding standards that are enforced for all code contributed to the project and distributed as part of the platform. This group includes community committers who have commit privileges to the platform repository on GitHub. I am happy to say that Peter Donker, Brian Dukes and Vicenç Masanas have agreed to be part of the initial group of community committers. This working group is currently led by Charles Nurse.
- Website Group - The website group is responsible to manage the content of the community sections of the DNNSoftware.com website that have been turned over for community management. Initially this will include the platform roadmap, the community events page and a new page with curated blog posts and articles from community members. Over time we will work with the steering committee to identify other areas of the website that makes sense for the community to manage. The website group is currently led by Ernst Peter Tamminga and includes Oliver Hine who is currently managing the DNN Platform Roadmap page.
- Localization/Internationalization Group - The localization/i18n group is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the platform are supported across all languages and cultures. In addition, this group will work to create the necessary tools to support the management of localization resources. The Localization/Internationalization Group will be led by Peter Donker.
- Training Group - The training group is responsible for developing and coordinating educational events and content for the community including community webinars, virtual conferences and platform documentation. This group will also work where possible with various community organizations like DNN-Connect and DNNCon to ensure we are providing valuable educational events and content throughout the year and to help avoid scheduling conflicts between the various events. Will Strohl is currently leading the Training group.
Both the Steering Committee and the standing working groups will have the ability to create ad-hoc working groups. The ad-hoc groups will manage work for specific projects or tasks of a limited duration and scope. They might be created to handle community contests, to focus on specific types of documentation we need created or updated or even to help organize a specific community event. Community members may also choose to create a small ad-hoc group to work on a specific feature listed in Community Voice.
For the past few years, the community has been a passive observer in the development of the DNN Platform. These changes will help ensure that the community has a more meaningful role in moving the community and the platform forward.
The changes to the community structure is just one step forward on our journey. Over the coming weeks we will make additional changes to create a more open and transparent community that works closely with DNN Corp to deliver a DNN Platform that we can all be proud of. I look forward to working with the community as we continue our amazing DNN journey.