[openspending-dev] Contributing to OpenSpending

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Thu Jan 10 09:56:08 UTC 2013

On 9 January 2013 21:36, Vitor Baptista <vitor at vitorbaptista.com> wrote:
> This is really important (and cool).
> I agree with you, Rufus. Maybe focusing on the satellite sites as an entry
> into OpenSpending is a good idea, but I see a problem.
> Improving these sites is hard. They tend to be "close-ended". For example,
> what's missing in wheredoesmymoneygo.org? This might be a communication
> problem, but I don't see much more to add to it.

It's not about extending them so much as building new ones. E.g. for a
city, country or region etc.

> One solution might be building a generalized template app. It could have a
> bunch of jekyll templates for each of the widgets, configurable. This is
> easier to contribute for. It might help solving another problem: most of the
> satellite sites came from the same codebase, but it's hard to share
> improvements between them.

I think it would be more about new sites than improving existing ones
though I think improvements would definitely happen over time as the
need (from usage) arose.


> I started thinking about how to do it with Friedrich a few monhs ago, but
> there's still much to do.
> Cheers,
> Vítor.
> 2013/1/9 Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org>
>> This is great Friedrich. Some thoughts / comments.
>> On 3 January 2013 15:30, Friedrich Lindenberg <friedrich at pudo.org> wrote:
>> > Hi all,
>> >
>> > I've started writing up some documentation for getting started as a
>> > contributor to the OpenSpending code base:
>> >
>> > https://github.com/openspending/openspending/wiki/Contributing
>> First off this is great to have - and is very nicely written. Small
>> tweaks:
>> * Break stuff out more (have some headings)
>> * Get in touch (+ friendly welcome) right at the top with highlighted
>> stuff re main contact routes (ML + IRC)
>> * Quickstart at the top - if I see this much text I'm put off, I'd
>> like to look at a few real issues as fast as possible and only check
>> back if i need to know more (note issues could always have a link to a
>> general "here's what you need to know to contribute section)
>> ## General thoughts
>> However, my general thoughts / concerns are that it is generally quite
>> tough to get core contributions and these are listed at the top of the
>> list. To get contributions to an open source project I think you have
>> these aspects:
>> * How easy to get started (a small javascript library is way easier
>> than a full webapp with multiple components that you need to get
>> working just to get started)
>> * How badly do I need this - CKAN is in fact a more complex codebase
>> than OS, but it's getting more and more questions and contributions
>> because people are heavily committed to using it
>> * How cool / famous is this
>> Now I think OS *core* atm scores fairly low on all of these. It's
>> quite a big codebase, because it runs as a reasonably central platform
>> I'm probably not deploying myself, and OS itself is less well-known
>> than its various "satellite" projects.
>> This brings me to a proposal: let's focus contribution on building
>> "around" OS core (and are there any bits of core we could split out
>> into smaller components people could contribute to separately - e.g.
>> format checkers, maker etc). If enough people are doing stuff "around"
>> there will be motivations to fix stuff in "core" that are blocking
>> people (and if they aren't blocking people maybe they don't need to be
>> fixed!)
>> So what areas do we offer:
>> ### "apps.openspending.org"
>> This would be building stuff off the API (mainly in JS + HTML) plus
>> possibly some stuff that was just standalone (but was OS related). I'm
>> thinking of the sorts of mini apps already in openspendingjs but you
>> could think of plenty more. 2 main types:
>> * Viz
>> * Analysis (+ viz)
>> * Mini-apps
>> It would be important to give some examples and links to good API
>> documentation.
>> It could also include:
>> * Things like "taxman" (i.e. more elaborate but still quite simple apps)
>> * A bit of openspendingjs (but again may want contribution here to be
>> driven from client use)
>> Implementation:
>> - repos in OpenSpending org (or perhaps a separate org on GH?)
>> deployed using gh-pages. (Could allow some full-on apps to get
>> deployed via heroku and at xyz.apps.openspending.org)
>> - have an overall repo where people can list ideas as issues so you
>> can link to this to give people a starting point
>> - provide some common css and js (openspendingjs?) so things have a
>> common theme by default (and all link back to apps and OS.org etc)
>> - split out openspendingjs apps straight away ...
>> ### "Satellite" sites
>> You've already got this. Big this up more. Could overlap with apps at
>> some points (when does a regional site become a mini-app etc)
>> Aside: I think you want a better name. Perhaps "client sites" (though
>> "client" is ambiguous") "local sites" or regional sites or something.
>> Link directly to your 1-2-3 instructions for this.
>> ## Summing up
>> We should conceive of "OS" as quite broad so contributing to OS (even
>> in tech sense) includes all of the above (you're already doing but
>> this could be stronger and we can downplay core relatively ...)
>> These instructions, as they aren't about OS core, should probably
>> should be part of openspending.org and not the wiki (OS core
>> contribution could stay on the wiki ...)
>> I'm willing to dive in to help with this :-)
>> > Also, the issues page has now received a new year's cleaning and has a
>> > lot
>> > of new tickets, while existing tickets have been classified as "simple",
>> > "advanced" and "hard" for those who may want to contribute some code
>> > during
>> > the final days of their winter holidays:
>> >
>> > https://github.com/openspending/openspending/issues
>> This is really great.
>> Rufus
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