January 29, 2005

Open letter to James about Groovy

Mike just posted what appears to be a death sentence for the Groovy project, and it was a very sad read for me because while I like Groovy so much, I can't do anything else but agree with his assessment.

First of all, please note that Mike put money where his mouth is:  since his previous rant on Groovy about a month ago, he has been very active on the Groovy mailing-list and he has tried hard to piece together a decent set of documentation for Groovy Classic.  I suppose that his post today is the observation that this effort failed and the confirmation of his worst fears about the future of Groovy.

But you know what, James?  There is still hope.  There is one very simple way you can prove Mike and countless other disillusioned Groovy fans wrong about their fears:

Announce a date by which you will ship Groovy 1.0

It's that simple.  Really.  Everything else will fall into place.

Once you have a ship date, you will start looking at your work on Groovy very differently.  Everything will become a matter of compromises between the importance of the feature and the necessity to hit the deadline.  The roadmap will also appear to you much more clearly, starting backwards:  plan a beta one month before the deadline, an alpha two months before, a few milestones here and there (not indispensable but I've found that milestones keep you honest and give you a good idea of your velocity).  You will also be to make the best use of the various volunteers who offer their help.

Alright James, it's your turn now.  Pick a date.  Any date.

Groovy deserves it.


Posted by cedric at January 29, 2005 09:00 AM

Really, Groovy's not dead, even with such a pressure on our shoulders. I wrote a few thoughts on my website on that topic:

Posted by: Guillaume Laforge at January 30, 2005 02:23 AM

I hear you Cedric - please see Guillaume's blog post on the current Groovy Roadmap.

Is that enough for you?

Posted by: James Strachan at January 31, 2005 05:43 AM

What happens if the deadline is missed?

Posted by: Noah Campbell at January 31, 2005 07:21 AM

This seems to be the problem (or at least complaints) with all open source projects -- Project management.

However, why should Groovy be held to a release date? I understand the arguments from a political perspective and a milestone is a good thing, but it seems that the expectations of Groovy are either too aggressive or the marketing of it has been([sic] the JSR route was a BAD thing, it implied commercial viability). AFAIK, these guys are still doing this on their own time and own dime, so to demand things out of them out of frustration is a little harsh.

That being said, it seems that James has stretched himself a wee bit thin with all the projects he is associated. If he wants Groovy to be mainstream, then make a commitment; otherwise let it go to someone else or kill it. Just announcing a release date to appease people would be transparent.

Posted by: Frank Bolander at January 31, 2005 08:40 AM

My view is that Groovy is indeed a volunteer effort, and you can't "force" volunteers to commit to a schedule. Cedric's suggestion is to announce a date so that the group can focus themselves and really deliver something solid. They've shown without some thing like this, the project will keep drifting forever. This is bad for the developers _and_ bad for users.

It has also been shown that lacking this sort of focus, Groovy has been steadily losing talent and user interest since the summer of 2004. If they don't change their process soon there either won't be any developers or there won't enough users left who care. This cycle is made worse by the fact that in every release Groovy seems to change something fundamental in the language.

So telling Groovy people to set a firm date and stick to it isn't trying to force them into doing something. It's (in my opinion) good advice that might help them save the thing.

Posted by: Mike Spille at January 31, 2005 09:11 AM

Functionality, resources, time are always locked together. If you flex one then one (or both) of the others will have to change. This is project management 101.

Posted by: Nick at January 31, 2005 10:13 AM

What OTAKU has to do with your name?

Posted by: aa at February 2, 2005 02:19 AM


Posted by: at February 2, 2005 09:41 AM

otaku is Japanese for geek

Posted by: Cameron at February 7, 2005 07:20 AM
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