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July 10, 2017

Baby steps to user-centric open source development



Coko co-founder Adam Hyde believes that open source projects should be developed with the user, not for the user. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of how most of these projects grow today, with developers scratching their own itch. The user with their needs, interests, preferences, can be an afterthought.

Hyde’s been thinking about how to make this work for awhile now — check out his book “The Cabbage Tree Method” — and recently outlined seven ways to get users more involved in the process.

“We need to experiment with processes to learn what does and doesn’t work and iterate our models forward,” he says in a post on opensource.com. His first thoughts include the revolutionary (!) idea of talking to users on both the design and development fronts but also getting other stakeholders, such as documentation writers, involved early and often.

“I believe that if we share what we learn, as the open source community has done every step of the way for the last two-and-a-half decades, we will solve the problem of creating popular user-facing software.”

Flipping the script on open source development may be a long road — Hyde hopes to get your feedback on his initial ideas if you try them out.

Read the full post for more details.