Getting My Hands Dirty with Open-Source

It’s going to be an interesting year at Tag Games as we are planning on open-sourcing some of our in-house tech (hopefully I’ll be able to go into more detail in the next few months). I’m both really excited, and slightly apprehensive, at the thought; as a great deal of the code and the architecture is mine and this will be the first time that I’ve had any code of real worth available for external criticism (or external love).

So far the process has made me look at my code in a completely different way, re-evaluating every design decision I’ve ever made in case I have to justify it to some guru hacker. It’s also really strange thinking of the code as the product rather than the means. The best thing so far is being able to learn Git on company time!

As part of open-sourcing we will be looking to actively engage with a good core community that will help drive the direction of the technology as well as make use of it. The community aspect is what concerns me most as it is vital and difficult to encourage and sustain a vibrant and contributing body of developers. However it shames me to admit that I have never contributed to an open-source project and expecting developers to contribute to mine is perhaps slightly hypocritical. So I have decided to do something about that and starting next week will be looking to regularly contribute to an open-source project (that gives me the weekend to actually decide which one). This will a) allow me to no longer be a hypocrite, b) give me something to actually blog about rather than the usual pish and c) provide a good opportunity to sabotage the opposition.

Hopefully this will give me a good insight into how an open-source community works and will help me develop a thick-skin as I suspect I’ll need it over the next year!