We arranged a code camp at the TMRA 2009 conference in Leipzig. The idea was that we would introduce new developers to Ontopia, and help them get started on working on the code. For completeness, we added an introduction to the Ontopia product as well. We were thinking that we would have just a few participants, and that we’d spent most of our time there hacking the code.
Well, we were wrong. About 30 people joined the code camp, forcing us to rethink our plans quite quickly. So instead of a hacking camp it turned into more of a tutorial camp, where we taught the users what was in the product and how it could be used. The slides are embedded below:
The code camp also gave us an excellent opportunity to see how the users experienced the product, and what features they wanted. In fact, some of the issues in the issue tracker come directly from requests made at the code camp and in later email requests:
- 148: Getting-started documentation needed
- 149: Association view in Omnigator could show tables
- 150: Document use of topic identifiers
- 151: Support for JTM 1.0 (JSON Topic Maps format)
- 152: Document access control in Ontopoly
- 154: Topic map uload form
- 157: Document how to make Omnigator/Ontopoly plugins
As you can see, most of this is about documentation, and this is one thing that showed clearly in the feedback we got: people struggle to see what is in the product and how to use it. So while we have fairly extensive documentation we need more, and we need more overview documentation.
From our side, what we need more of is feedback from the users, in the form of postings to the mailing list, issue reports, and so on. We really want to see you use the product and do something cool with it. So if we can support you by explaining how things work, writing more documentation, or fixing issues, we’d be happy to. The list of issues above is one place to start. If you care about any of them, feel free to comment on them, give them stars (vote on their importance, basically), or even to start working on them.