Padre - the journey I.

When my grandchildren will ask me how to run a successful open source project I'll want to be able to tell them the story.

Actually in a recent post chromatic wrote about his Free Software Project Management Axioms and I replied that I'd like to see a book on Open Source Project Management. Not only do I think that many corporate project manager and developers could learn from such book but I'd really want to read one.

In the meantime I have to figure out what am I doing in order to make Padre, the Perl IDE successful. After all I don't want to let my grandchildren down.

In order to learn wxWidgets and wxPerl I have started to write a Wx::Tutorial on 2008-June-20. Joined the wxPerl mailing list where I heard about the Wx::Demo which basically rendered the whole tutorial unnecessary. As I needed some project to let me continue and learn Wx I decided I'll try to put together some basic editor.

I believe that Eating one's own dog food is an important part of a successful project. With and editor it is easy as you always need it for your own development. So just after a few days - once I could open and save files - I decided to start using it for all my coding. Yes I managed to lose data several time but that quickly prompted me to fix the problems. Lots of things annoyed me at the beginning. That again made me fix those. Those are gone now. Instead there is a different set of annoying things. As I work more and more using Padre, my expectation grows so I need to implement more and more features and fix the broken ones.

I am a very impatient developer. I cannot seem to work on a project that bears fruits only after month or years of development. I need feedback quickly. That is. I am OK with long projects assuming we can have frequent releases. (Interestingly part of the Open Source and the Agile paradigm fits nicely to my impatience.)

I also believe in Release Early, Release Often and I also think that getting more people involved is important. I wanted to get a version out to the public soon but I did not have a name for the project. Never mind, on 2008-July-16 I started to rename the project from Wx::Tutorial to App::Editor so I can release it under this temporary name. A short IRC discussion convinced me mainly that it is not really a good name and I though it would be better to start using a real name from the beginning. Hence on I asked the Perl Monks to suggest a name. This lead to a long thread and lots of wasted hours on my part trying to figure out which name might be good. In the end I settled with Padre that stands for Perl Application Development and Refactoring Environment but that can also fit nicely in the PerlMonks theme.

Once I had a name on 2008-July-26 I released the first public version of Padre to CPAN.