Every project is different. As a result every project has different methods and processes for how things are handled. In the case of software projects using GitHub (as Mautic does) for code and issue management there are several different ways in which the platform is used. And sometimes that usage has to change over time. Mautic is still a very young project and we’re learning as we grow. This is both exciting and fun but also can be a bit of a headache at times.
No one likes change and yet sometimes changes are inevitable for future growth and improvement. We must make changes not for the sake of change but for the sake of progress. And although at times these changes might be hard if it’s for the betterment of the product then we need to make those changes regardless of how difficult they might be.
The Reason for Change
As the title to this post suggests we are about to make one of those difficult changes. Historically Mautic has used GitHub for tracking code and code changes as well as issues and feature requests. All in the same repository. Again, this is not a problem as many projects may choose to organize their code and issues/features in this way. But as Mautic has grown we have begun to uncover a problem with this approach. By mixing in feature requests and issues it becomes too easy for things to be lost, (both issues and feature requests) and as a result both developers and contributors are frustrated.
In addition, this current organizational structure just looks bad for our project. Feature requests are ways we can improve our product as a community, and yet GitHub’s structure lists them as “issues” meaning “problems” with the code. This gives new contributors a completely wrong impression of our community and the work we’re doing.
Changing Mautic Feature Requests
But we have an opportunity for an improvement. Unlike other projects on GitHub we also have a vibrant and very active community on our website. We also have an excellent forum home where everyone can post and contribute. We even have a forum entitled, Ideas. This naturally leads to the next step in our community growth and evolution. We will be moving feature requests away from GitHub and into the Ideas Forum. This will accomplish several important things all at once. First, it will clean up the issues on GitHub to only list those things that are truly “issues” with the code that need to be addressed. Second, it will improve the level of communication and engagement for those ideas by placing them in an active forum where many more people can contribute.
This change means a couple things and will be easy to implement moving forward. They are listed here in bullet point format to provide an easy reference.
- If a feature request is an ‘idea’ with no proof of concept code then it should be placed in the Ideas forum on the Mautic community website.
- If a feature request has code ready to be reviewed, or commented on, then it should be created on GitHub and labeled with Feature Request.
Any feature request that is placed on GitHub but belongs in the Idea forum it will be closed automatically with a comment that it should be re-created in the Idea forum.
The Improvements from Change
The transition period may be difficult, but as mentioned previously, even though change can be hard, it can be good. This change will be great for our community and will improve the overall success of Mautic. We will experience greater contributions and better discussion around new features. We will continue to build an amazing product together and show the rest of the world how marketing automation should be done.