I've been quiet about the recent dotProject shakeup – to the point that most of you probably don't know about it. Well, here are the details without the dirt…

First, dotProject had an abortive 2.1 release just a few weeks ago. Despite lots of testing, a critical Gantt-chart related bug made it into the release. Unfortunately, I was the one that introduced it a few weeks earlier while fixing another issue. The fix was minimal but as a result, the entire release was rolled back to a Release Candidate. An alternative release strategy was suggested and not accepted sparking off the latest change.

Next, last week the leadership announced a new project structure…

There are three main aspects to the new structure:

First, the technical aspects. The entire system is "being rebuilt from scratch" using Smarty and the Zend Framework. Those a great tools, have a huge amount of potential, and I happen to use them regularly… to the point where my recent presentation at ZendCon – The Bionic App – was based on the concept of using those tools to perform organ transplants of problematic portions of the code and UI. I love the idea of using the ZendFramework to improve the system. That said…

Second, the strategy aspects. The "rebuilt from scratch" thing – which has been clarified to "we're going to save a few things that work" – is a huge problem in my book. This has been stated to include a database redesign, a restructuring of the codebase, and a complete UI rebuild. To me this sounds like a new project, but if existing modules are still supported, then it seems less so. This is my biggest concern. The bulk of my effort – and those whom I've worked with both inside the group and out – for the past 18 months has gone into Head. Has the work been for nothing? I hope not.

Finally, there's the restructuring of the core team. I appreciate the need for strong leadership and that strength has been clearly demonstrated. I won't go into details until the rest of it is public but the team has been filtered down to the lean mean core of some of the best developers I've ever worked with. I look forward to what they come up with.

Next and unfortunately, part of this restructuring resulted in a few team members leaving. I was one of them and signed off the last of my responsibilities earlier this week. I have to admit that being mostly out of the dotProject community after being part of it for so long has been odd. My todo list has gotten shorter and I get significantly less email to think about. The good part is that my departure seems to have demonstrated a bug in the forums… my forum signature – providing a link to this site and my Ohloh widget – disappared. Since I'm the only one affected, it's a weird bug, but something that should be checked out.

Finally, I was approached about serving as an admin of a new project called web2project. It's still embryonic but includes some familiar faces (PedroA and Mac of the East) and has an interesting Vision… fundamentally different than most of the options out there. My role will be one of evangelism and community engagement, so as news, information, and feedback happens, you will hear about it. The first couple big announcements should come soon.

Regardless, there are a number of people and organizations that are seeking guidance on what they can do going forward. I'd suggest to get active on the dotProject forums and learn the details of the new plan/architecture and figure out where you and your effort fit. If you are working on specific things, I may be able to put you in touch with others moving in similar directions. Alternatively, you may see if there are other complementary efforts out there…

For efforts that are currently underway – dotProject Manual (v1.6 scheduled) Microsoft Project Exporter (v1.0 scheduled), Project Importer (v2.0 complete), SVN Files Module Plugin (v1.1 complete), S3 Files Module Plugin (v1.0 scheduled), Domino Bridge (v2.0 scheduled) and Individual/Department Resource Allocation (v1.0 complete) – most will be completed and made available as scheduled pending approval from the individual sponsors/customers. In addition, all dotProject hosting customers will be supported for the foreseeable future.

The Risk Management Module, Mantis Integration, TimeTrack, and Earned Value Management Module will not have further updates/releases from CaseySoftware, LLC.

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