One of the big challenges we face is nurturing a developer community. Chandler's success in the long-term depends on support from volunteer programmers. A major goal of the 0.1 release is to provide a valuable level of technical documentation about Chandler's architecture and internals, with the goal of soliciting useful feedback and beginning to enable the development of code. Without solid information, barriers to entry for developers wishing to learn more and participate are too high.
To this end, we will providing a current architecture block diagram with descriptions of the different blocks and how they fit together. This will, in turn, point back to more detailed documentation in the code itself. We will also be going into significant detail with respect to our database architecture, the RDF data model, and an overall product road map, each in separate documents. Rys McCusker has been posting pointers to snapshots of his work in progress on the database in our public wiki. Caveats: Content subject to change. At this stage. it will still be difficult to grok the plan without having a lot of background information on Chandler. By late April, there will be a lot more context.
Andy Hertzfeld and I will be making a presentation on Chandler on Thursday, April 24, at 3:45 P.M., at the upcoming O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in Santa Clara. This will be the first public demo of what the OSAF team has been working on. I expect that the conference will be heavy weblogged, so you should be able to get a sense of the goings on wherever you are. In addition, the OSAF team will be present at the conference for a Birds of a Feather session on Wednesday, April 23 at 7:00 P.M. This will be a chance to meet the team and interact informally.
What we'll be showing is the 0.1 release of Chandler. Our internal 0.03 release of this past week has virtually the entire (limited) feature set of 0.1 with the exception of a couple of cool features we are trying to get ready for the demo.
At the same time as the O'Reilly conference, we will begin to make the source code available for download via anonymous CVS. Before anyone gets too excited, though, please pay attention to the following caveats.
This is the first time we've done this. Making the source code of this release has been serving as a forcing function for OSAF as an organization to go to the next level as an open source project. The actual functionality in this release, compared with what will be in the 1.0 version, is minimal. There will be pieces of a calendar and contact manager to play with but no email, and certainly nothing anyone would use on a regular basis.
Since we are all mortified at the prospect of embarrassing ourselves in public, we are trying to make sure that what is out there is real code we can be proud of.
I've been referring to Chandler 0.1 as our "ultrasound" release: the fetus won't be viable outside the womb, but if you look closely you can see tiny arms and legs waving around and you can believe it's going to turn into a real baby eventually. With 0.1, we will also open up our bugzilla database and accept bug reports and submissions of patches per guidelines which will come with the release.
With 0.1 there is a significant amount of scaffolding in place which makes it possible to write "viewer parcels" for displaying views of Chandler data, e.g. calendars and contacts. We will providing documentation and samples for developers to write their own sample viewer parcels. For more details, please refer to the description of the release on our web site.
In my next entry, I will be writing about the documentation we will be providing along with the release.