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Qt Contributors Day, wikis and the contribution process

Published on Wednesday January 25, 2012 by admin in Community Learning Background contributions | Comments

It's impossible to do every single thing perfectly when opening up the whole development of Qt. Hence the Qt contribution process has to be improved, helping everyone to make Qt even better. I'll highlight some the suggestions brought up at Qt Contribution Days. Here is my take on a Troll approach on how to achieve excellence and learning how to make Qt even better than today.

Contributors at Qt Contribution Days in Munich and San Francisco

“How can we do this better? Can it be done in a simpler and more elegant way?” are two key questions which have governed the people who have developed Qt from the start. The same goes for learning. We never stop learning. Trolls like to teach themselves new things and learn from each other. A well-meant error is also also key to achieving excellence. We thrive on change and achieve excellence through trying and failing. A well-meant error, on any level, should never be punished, because it is an opportunity for us to learn and improve. Being a contributor to Qt, the values on learning and excellence apply to you too!

Ideas for the contribution process

Several topics at Qt Contributors Days addressed improvements needed to the process, and how to make the contribution process easier. I'll highlight three of the most significant ones, and urge you to add even more suggestions for improvements at this wiki: Improving The Qt Contribution Process.

The first noteworthy contribution process suggestion at Qt Contributors Day related to making better documentation on porting Qt to a new platform. Using Qt Lighthouse, porting is easier. But it's still an expert challenge to adapt to a new operating system or platform. Having a migration overview, an architectural guidance, some experiences, would be really appreciated. The notes from the round table on porting challenges between Qt4 and Qt5 explain this idea further.

There are a lot of new contributors joining the Qt project. Having an overview of different activities, module maintainers and such can be time consuming. In some cases you might be even a detective trying to find status and were to begin. A Qt module activity overview inspired by Canonicals Launchpad could address the need for an overview. Aggregating module data from Qt commits, e-mail lists and relevant blog posts on a status page. This includes a list of who has contributed to the module, and who the maintainers are.

Cornelius Schumacher had an interesting suggestion for making a repository automation for Qt add-ons, making it really easy to use complementary libraries. Schumacker labled this as “CPAN for Qt”: a website listing available Qt-based libraries, making it easier for developers to find useful libs and for library developers to promote their work. It's a really interesting project which can help foster an ecosystem of Qt add-ons.

These are only three humble suggestions on how to improve the Qt and the contribution process. There were of course more issues and features suggested at Qt Contributors Day. I hope also you will contribute your suggestion. Please use this wiki-page suggesting improvements.

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