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Open Source Web Services - The Plan

Anthony Lawrence


One aspect we’ve struggled with in Web Services over the years is finding people who have the time to commit to web services projects.  We’ve found that the quantity of applicants for web services roles is often low, and many people don’t have much of an idea of what skill set is truly required until they’re on board.

To protect the longevity of the web services and to benefit from members being able to donate a few hours every few months to resolving an issue/implementing a feature, our long term aim is to open source our core code base.

I know the topic of open source has come up quite a lot recently, so I wanted to put it on the table that we’re working towards having our current system in a suitable position to open source before the end of Q4 2016.

There's a few things we want to do to make this happen, alongside the development of other parts of our web services:

  • Restructure the authentication system - When VATSIM SSO had launched, we already had our own SSO in place.  As VATSIM SSO progress (I know .net Web Services have some plans to move this forward), the current implementation will be unmanageable.  We need to just review the entire authentication process.
    Target: Q2 2016


  • Local development deployment - As the core part of our system requires integration with SSO and Cert, we need to ensure that when people pull our code and deploy it locally, they’re not hindered by this.
    Target: Q2/3 2016


  • New website launch - We’ve set the goal of version 3.0 (the new website) being the point at which we go open source.  With that launch there’ll be a good range of feature requests and a greater scope for change.
    Target: Q3/4 2016


  • Standardised Coding Conventions  - There are a few areas where the coding conventions have differed from what our published ones would be (due to transitions from legacy frameworks and the lack of enforced code standards).  We want to tidy this up to make the platform far easier to understand.
    Target: Q3/4 2016


  • Documentation & Guidelines - If we expand the pool of developers, we’d like to outline the coding standards for the repository.  If we get this part right, new developers will have a simple time getting involved and we'll ensure that our code base doesn't become a mess of varied coding styles and standards.
    Target: Q4 2016


  • TWAIN - Setup the VATSIM UK GitHub organisation, integration of StyleCI and TravisCI, and a write-up of our contribution guidelines! (A trivial task)
    Target: Q4 2016


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