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From "" <>
Subject RE: RE: Giving up! Cocoon too big, slow and confusing
Date Thu, 27 Jun 2002 15:32:13 GMT

You have made some good points.

A long time ago I read a book "Crossing the Chasm ... " by Geoffrey A. Moore
in which he talks about how projects get off to a good start and often
go awry because of various factors.

I think Cocoon 2 is slightly beyond the early adopter/visionary phase and
probably standing just on the edge of the chasm.  The early adopters and visionaries in any
field or technology, will invest the time and effort to surmount all types of barriers to
reach their goal.  There are several working Cocoon 2 active livesites which are testimony
to the fact that
it can be done.

A lot of work still remains to be done for the pragmatists, conservatives and skeptics to
come on board and take a closer look
at Cocoon 2.  You have listed some of the drawbacks that are preventing
this from happening at a faster pace.  

Time is the limitation that keeps all the developers from creating good
docs in pace with the changes in the system.  Occasionally promising open source projects
get adopted by a big sponsor corporation which helps to 
make it easier to cross the chasm.

Conrad D'Cruz

Original Message:
From: Eric Sheffer
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 11:13:43 -0400
Subject: RE: Giving up! Cocoon too big, slow and confusing

I completely agree with Argyn's and John's comments here.
But, I don't think the sentiments expressed are unique to 
the cocoon project.

I'm a big proponent of open source software.  I try to use it
and recommend it whenever I can.  However, I can't spend two 
weeks just getting up to speed on something.  I have to be 
productive quite soon after picking it up. I'm busying 50 to 
60 hours a week doing what my job demands of me, so I don't 
have a lot of extra time to devote to learning how to use a 
product, much less debugging or coding one.

I still want to stay ahead of the curve, and learn new things
and use new technologies.  But, many open source projects
make this very difficult.  So if I could be presumptuous, here 
are some suggestions I'll offer to make life a little easier
on us early adopters:

(1) Don't create a new nomenclature, language or jargon to 
describe your project.  The world has enough acronyms, 
marketing-speak and inpenetrable software descriptions.  Don't 
add to it.  When describing your project, compare and 
contrast it with other products the reader may be familiar

(2) Don't assume the people who use a product or ask
questions on a mailing list are the second coming of James
Gosling or Bill Joy.  If you answer a question posed on the
list, go a little bit more in depth so that others who may
be reading the threads might be able to learn something.

(3) Don't skimp on documentation, and in doing so, be mindful
of (1) and (2).  When providing examples, do something a bit
more useful than yet another "Hello, World" example. Provide
more than one example, and make them progessively more complex,
building on previous examples as you go.

(4) Don't get overly defensive when responding to criticism.
And, don't respond with the typical open source developer
knee-jerk reaction of "Why don't you help out?"  Not everyone
is in a position to provide the time and effort necessary for
a meaningful contribution.  Don't dismiss the concerns of 
those who don't or can't participate.

(5) Beware of the warning signs, like those expressed in John's
message.  He obviously isn't an idiot, and has invested some
time and effort trying to learn and use cocoon.  Yet, he's 
having trouble making cocoon useful.  That should be a wake
up call.

(6) Don't assume that everyone should use a product because 
it's open source, and that it's better than closed source or 
commercial products because it's open.  If a product doesn't 
perform well or is difficult to learn, use or implement, what
good does being open source?  Before answering, refer to (4).

These points are based on observations of the Apache project 
I've made over the last several years.  I applaud the efforts
of those who've invested the time and effort on the various 
subprojects.  Many are among the most useful pieces of software
in my arsenal, like ant, log4j and struts.  Others have finally
come around, like tomcat which I found unusable until v3.
Cocoon is an intriguing product.  But, who will use it if 
they can't understand how?



On Thu, 27 Jun 2002 17:41:18  
 Piroumian Konstantin wrote:
>> From: Argyn Kuketayev [] 
>> Good post :)
>> Wake up, guys! John raised a real issue. You can't simply say 
>> "Don't give
>> up, be patient, read mailing-list, look into sources..." and 
>> so on. If you
>> want this framework to catch the train, then there must be 
>> better support
>What do you mean by "better support"? 
>> and better documentation. 
>> I'm not complaining, by the way. I'd love Cocoon become a mainstream
>> framework.
>So, help us make it better. 
>If you have ideas on how to improve Cocoon iself then welcome to cocoon-dev
>mail list, if you are willing to have/provide suggestions on making the docs
>better or write some then join the Forrest project.
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: John Austin []
>> > Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2002 10:41 PM
>> > To:
>> > Cc:
>> > Subject: Giving up! Cocoon too big, slow and confusing
>> > 
>> > 
>> > I'm back from a short vacation in beautiful Chicago (it 
>> > really is much 
>> > nicer than Toronto or Montreal) and have waded back in to 
>> > Cocoon for a 
>> > couple of days.
>> > 
>> > After just a few hours of poking around I have decided that 
>> > it will be 
>> > much simpler for me to simply hand-code a whole hat-full of 
>> servlets 
>> > than to try and pull any meaning out of Cocoon and it's 
>> documentation.
>> Two days is absolutely not enough to get a grasp of Cocoon, 
>> definitely.
>> Unless, you are a twin brother of Stephano :)
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