10 Tools Developers Need Today

Karl Fogel,

Track: Programming
Date: Friday, July 28
Time: 10:45am - 11:30am
Location: E143-144

The goal of this talk is to get the audience thinking about collaboration itself as first-order activity, and one that is extremely responsive to good tools. The talk will start off with a discussion of collaboration tools that have made a big difference (e.g., Wikis, the CIA commit watching system), then explore some new ideas for tools and techniques that are not widespread yet, but that could really help open source projects a lot. Examples:
  1. Today's IRC bots are dumb, but we know how to make them smarter.
  2. Extended patch format for trading traceable changes between different projects that have a common ancestry or that share some code.
  3. How to improve mailing list usage by better integration with the list archiver.
  4. Mailing list traffic summaries are too hard to write; the right tools can make them easier.
  5. Spam filtering techniques that could really reduce the moderation burden on OSS projects.
  6. Inter-project attribution conventions would make it "much" easier to trace where a given programmer has been active. The Subversion project has started with a rudimentary form of this, but it needs a standardization drive.
  7. Law as technology: copyright assignment law is currently designed for a world in which people are physically present to sign forms. It's a problem for open source projects, and needs to be solved.
  8. Deep-referencing into HTML pages is possible, but there is currently no standard for it. If we had a standard and enough browsers (or web servers implemented it), certain kinds of references would be much easier to make.