ddraper

Developing With Aikau - Another Perspective

Blog Post created by ddraper on Jun 14, 2016

I’ve recently been moved out of the Aikau team in order to provide some assistance to a feature team that are using Aikau. This change in role has given me a very useful insight into the problems that developers have when using Aikau. When working on Aikau I only ever get to see a fragment of the overall implementation - I get very little context so I never know if the overall implementation is being done in a sensible way.

It’s important to remember that we never think of Aikau as being “done”. Our widgets are always open to further iteration to either add more capabilities, refactor them for better performance, improve the design and fix any bugs. We also don’t consider them to be an exhaustive set by any means - we know that more widgets will be needed.

What we don’t know is what bugs exist, what features could be added and what widgets are missing. We rely on our feature teams, customers, partners and community to tell us what is required.

When I started working on the feature I was given in the new team I almost immediately identified one bug and 3 features (1,2,3) that were required. This wasn’t a brand new requirement for my new feature team but these requirements hadn’t been identified.

Trying to act like a good community citizen I raised these as issues on JIRA and then being a model community citizen I created pull requests to fix the problem and add the features following the well defined acceptance criteria.

Of course it's much easier to do this when you have an awareness of what is available and how things are meant to work in a framework when you have been involved in the development of that framework. Having said that I really want to encourage you to just ask the question and start the dialog with us.

It should hopefully be clear from the closed issues that we’re more than happy to answer questions when they’re asked.

The flip side of the coin is to not start a dialog but to simply complain about something without trying to dig into the details like with this blog post published last week. Whilst I understand that something might not be immediately obvious when trying to use Aikau (we’re well aware that documentation could be improved, we just haven’t been allocated the resources to do enough about it) we will try and help you if we can - even if that help is simply explaining why something is the way it is.

We aren’t promising to implement all your feature requests (far from it in fact!) but we are committed to genuine bugs in our coding (meaning a defect in the intended behaviour of an individual widget or service).

We’re starting to see increased Community interaction - more issues raised, more traffic, more GitHub stars. What we’d really like to see is more pull requests - and if something is blocking you from making a pull request then we’d like to know what that impediment is so that we can remove it.

This is going to be especially important during my reassignment as it means that we might not be able to implement community requested features as we have in the past - but we will endeavour to try to stay on top of the bugs that you raise.

Thanks again for your ongoing support !

Outcomes