Looking to develop: introduction and tip request

Erich Enke twilit77 at fastmail.fm
Fri Jun 4 02:15:57 EDT 2004

Hi all,

I've been looking for an Open Source project to contribute to for some
time.  I've tried to choose one that matched my skill set, needed
programmers, is a program that I enjoy using, and filled a core need in
many people's use.  GnuCash fits nicely with that description.  

I've been using gnucash for about a year and a half now.  To the
programmers out there: Good job!  I like what I've seen.

As to my skills, I have programmed a bit in C, less in Scheme (though
some exposure through lilypond).  My English skills are decent and I
enjoy proofing/creating documentation, though I haven't done any OSS
documentation yet.  By profession, I'm a self-employed web programmer and
linux installer (and anything else I can handle), so I'm game for web
maintenance stuff as well.  I've done some glade work.  I've been working
with CVS--updating, committing, managing own repositories--for maybe
three years now.

This being my first OSS project to _really_ contribute to, I had some
questions as to how to get started.  Answer me well, and I'll write it up
in a "Getting Started Developing HOWTO".  Some of the questions I have no
idea on; some I have a clue about and want to hear a confirming answer.

1. What do you use?  (Basic development tools -- code browsers and
validators mostly.  Uber-tools (e.g glade, lxr, cbrowser) that help get
the work done.)

2. How do you play safely?  That is, how do you go about running CVS
versions and maintain the integrity of your data?  
* Obviously regular backups are in order (of all Accounts, log, xac).  Am
I missing anything to back up?
* Do you usually run Current on live data, fake data, or blank data?  
* Do you keep two versions of GnuCash installed -- one stable and one
* Do you keep a local CVS repository to tag with stable builds?
* Anything else I missed?

3. Do developers individually unit test?  Is there any interest in unit

4. In doing web development, are the sources for web development
available for download, in CVS, or do I need account access?  Even just
for documentation and content?  Is there a CMS-style user login type of
thing set up?

5. Is there a wiki available?  If not, is there a perceived need for one?

6. What's the general process for gaining CVS commit access?  What
percentage of developers working on GnuCash have commit access?  Do I
just prove myself over time with quality of patches?  Do I ask a certain
person?  Do I just do what I'm doing now?  Or is there some secret
handshake that I have to divine from the source?  I only ask because it
makes development that much easier (takes out the whole diffing/upload
patch/describe how patch is applied step).

7.  How do you communicate (primarily)?  Is the main forum gnucash-devel?
 IRC?  IM?  wiki?  bugzilla?  all of the above?

I apologize if these are "stupid" questions.  I wouldn't ask them if I
didn't have need and hadn't searched for answers already (and I have a
fault for over-researching a topic).  I realize that some of them are
probably just learned by experience, but whatever answers I receive will
be helpful.

Sorry if this seems disjointed at all -- there's a cat in heat right
outside my window that's being very distracting...  :-)

-- epte

http://www.fastmail.fm - Or how I learned to stop worrying and
                          love email again

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