With the switch over to MAA hosting, we've set up new development related email lists that all of you will probably want to subscribe to right now. (We hope that at the very least those of you with commit access to the SVN repos will join one or more of these lists!)
These lists are successors to the corresponding lists hosted on Sourceforge. They can all be subscribed to from:
The list I think is most important to subscribe to is webwork-devel, so below I've written a long-ish advertisement for that list. (The other two are also important, but webwork-devel ties them all together.)
== webwork-devel ==
For joining/initiating development related discussion (development of WeBWorK, that is). You'll also notice that there is a "Features/Development" Moodle forum. Generally, the moodle forum is for "high level" discussion, questions and comments about the WeBWorK development process, feature requests, etc. The mailing list is also used for this, but at its best discussion there is generally more geared toward technical discussion of specific programming issues that arise during development, discussion about how to address particular bugs, or how to best implement particular features. Also discussed are development policies, such as procedures for allocating commit access, etc.
Recently, the openwebwork-devel list has been very low traffic, in spite of a very good amount of development taking place. This is probably because not very many people were subscribed to that list (or even knew about it), and rather than post development questions to a mailing list, they simply emailed one of the developers (almost always Mike or Arnie).
However, it is generally considered a "best practice" for an open source project to have such discussions in a public forum (typically a mailing list). There are a number of reasons for this: Firstly, the developers are often very busy (especially the lead developers) and may not be able to give prompt and thoughtful attention to all such email. Much like on our forums, others can chime in when possible.
Also, a mailing list is the easiest way to maintain a historical archive of the decisions made and the rational for such decisions. And, reviewing such an archive, and observing the live development discussions is a very good way for someone to get involved with development who has programming skills, but who is new to WeBWorK development.
Finally, successful open source projects maintain development mailing lists for a reason - they help improve the final product by encouraging relevant input from people with diverse backgrounds and skills.
So, that's my advertisement. I hope you'll join webwork-devel. (And, in case you're wondering, we've imported the archives from the old list.)
== webwork-vcs ==
This list, along with webwork-bugs, will help you keep track of WeBWorK development activity. The webwork-vcs list is for those who which receive email notifications of commits to the Subversion repositories. This is an announcement only list with reply-to: webwork-devel. Usually a few commits (=emails) a day. Generally more traffic in the summer than during the academic year.
== webwork-bugs ==
To receive notifications of new bugs and notifications when a bug's status has been updated.
The bug-tracker is important to the development process. It the central to-do list of things to fix, things to improve, and things to implement. If you subscribe to this list, you'll receive an email whenever a bug is fixed, a bug is reported, a comment is made about a bug, a patch is submitted against a bug, etc.
One helpful activity would be to try to confirm new bug reports as they come in, especially about bugs in the NPL problems. If particular problem misbehaves for you as described in the bug report or if it doesn't, adding a comment to the bug saying as much will very much help to clarify the issue. But, you can only do that in real-time if you're keeping track of new bug reports!
Also, if you're in charge of a WeBWorK installation, it can be useful to know of problems you might (or might not) run into.
This is an announcement only list with reply-to: webwork-devel. This list currently has a lot of activity because Arnie and Mike's student Spyro is working hard this summer to fix the bugs filed against the problem libraries. Under normal circumstances you'll probably see at most a couple messages a week from this list.
If you subscribe either of these last two, you may also want to subscribe to webwork-devel in case you want to comment on an svn commit or discuss a bug.