The open sores of my open source

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 8:49 PM | comments: 0

I've mentioned in many posts how I finally got to the finish line with regard to a new release for POP Forums, my little forum app that powers my sites. That project is open source, which if you didn't know, means you can get the source code for free and use it for free, and I'll even take contributions back into it. When you have a community around an open source project, and people make meaningful contributions to it, that's awesome. For my project, I haven't had a ton of contributions, but there were some really important, non-trivial efforts to translate it. It's available in a total of six languages.

My priority has always been to build the app for myself, for my communities, but making it open source means I get to share it. The source gets downloaded about 50 times a month, which is surprising, but presumably someone is using it. For that reason, I've tried over the years to make it easier for people of moderate ability to spin it up and use it. That means I added some setup stuff, and I've done a bunch of stuff for the sake of scale that I don't personally need. There are also concerns about how someone might integrate with the app.

It's the extra stuff that proves time and time again to be... extra. The app, right now, works exactly as I need it for my use. However, the setup is absolutely broken. It's broken in part because of the way that I decided to implement loading user information, logging, etc. This prevents me from doing a formal release, because frankly there's some friction to getting started if you don't have some knowledge about how it all works. You can imagine how motivated I am when it's not something that benefits me, but I'm still haunted by the idea that I may not be doing something in an ideal fashion.

These are the sores of my open source, and it's not easy to find the time to heal it and do it right. These sorts of issues typically lead to resolution when I get away from them for awhile, and in this case, I suspect that'll happen because my bandwidth is a little constrained at the moment.

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