FAQ -- good XP development practices

Subject: FAQ -- good XP development practices
From: Paul Rohr (paul@abisource.com)
Date: Tue Aug 21 2001 - 13:34:57 CDT

As AbiWord developers, one of the things we take great pride in is the fact
that nobody does cross-platform (XP) development better than we do. [1]

Our software runs natively on an ever-growing range of platforms, and we've
set things up to maximize the time spent doing XP work, so that features
simultaneously show up on each of those platforms with as little
platform-specific work as we can get away with. [2]

When we started developing AbiWord, there were only three or four people
working on this product, and we'd known each other for a long time, so we
did a bunch of things that we all took for granted as good habits. As the
effort grew and grew, this community has continued to more-or-less live by
those "unwritten rules", which has been really cool.

However, of that bunch, I'm the only one left, and AbiWord is now the
cumulative product of the efforts of well over 170 (!!) people -- not
counting all the contributors to the many peer libraries we depend so
heavily on.

As we continue to zero in on 1.0, more and more people are getting excited
by what we've accomplished so far, and I fully expect those numbers of
contributors to grow, or even accelerate.

Thus, I figured it was time to write down a few of those good habits, so that
new developers can understand both:

  - what some of the norms of our community have been, as well as
  - why we established those habits in the first place.

So, consider this my introduction to a series of messages where I'll describe
the following de facto policies:

  - the donut rule
  - taking the code guidelines seriously
  - adding an XP dependency on a peer library
  - upgrading peer libraries
  - credit where credit is due

My hope is that we still have consensus that these are worthwhile policies,
and we continue to be willing to live by them. If not, feel free to discuss
them on the relevant thread. (Just be constructive, OK?)


[1] This isn't intended to be flame bait. If you know of a community who
does XP development better in some way, by all means take the lead to help
us evolve to that point. Please. :-)

[2] Yes, I know dialogs are a pain. If you want to discuss that, please
spawn a new thread. I'll start responding there when I see sufficiently
interesting patches.

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