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From "Mark R. Diggory" <>
Subject Virtual Commons!!!!! (was Re: What is Jakarta Commons?)
Date Tue, 23 Dec 2003 20:43:24 GMT
Hello all,

The ultimate goal of any "Commons" is to develop a shared codebase of 
components that are not large enough to be maintained on their own, and 
reduce "replication of functionality" in separate projects. This is not 
only "integral" to a healthy developing codebase at Apache, it is 
necessary for maturation of the Apache codebase from a "bunch of 
widgets" to a "well oiled machine".

I personally think that the idea of "Commons" should become more 
"Virtual" and "Evolutionary" in nature. That maybe there should be less 
"restrictions" on its location and development. Forget the issues of 
being programming language "agnostic" or programming language "specific" 
and consider the value that would be "gained" by sharing such communities.

For instance, if theres ever the case that "xml commons" and "jakarta 
commons" could become a shared community, it would produce the following 

1.) A reduction in "duplication" of content between the xml and jakarta 

2.) A shared usage of the codebases would produce tools that are clearly 
defined and work well together.

3.) An optimization of programmer effort, time spent by programmers 
separately maintaining duplicate codesbases is reduced.

With this in mind, the idea of an "Apache Commons" becomes logical. 
BUT... not as a place that all "Commons" get migrated to and housed at 
under one PMC, but more as a "Virtual Collection" of all the "Commons" 
projects at Apache. Literally, just being a "Portal" to the individual 
Commons sites. In fact, instead of migrating all "Common" code to "One 
place", maybe it would be more logical to allow it to be maintained 
under the foundry or TLP project that produced it and simple provide 
such a "Symlinking" of the codebase into the Commons such that other 
projects are aware of its existence and availability.

Apache Commons:

    --> Jakarta Commons
       --> subprojects

    --> XML Commons
       --> subprojects

    --> TLP Project
       --> TLP projects shared common codebase.

This way shared code is managed and packaged by its creators, but 
advertised for reusage by the Commons.

Eventually alot of valuable lessons learned by the various commons 
projects would give rise to a standard project layout and packaging 
requirement for a codebase which is to be maintained as a Commons 
Codebase. In essence, this is not much different conceptually than the 
idea of COM and dynamic linking. The goal being, not to make every 
project house its common codebase in one specific location (which is 
totally unscalable) but to define logical rules for the "structure", 
"building", "packaging" of a Common Component such that it can be reused 
by other tools. In reality, isn't this what is being promoted through 
Maven, both with the idea of a Maven Repository and a Standard project 
layout and building strategy?

With this in mind I say the following:

1. "Common Codebases" can (and should) be maintained anywhere in Apache, 
but  be advertised in a registered location (like Apache Commons) and 
yet be maintained by their individual developers in their location of 

2. "Common Codebases" should be structured, built and packaged based on 
a "clearly defined specification" such that they can be published in 
repositories and easily rebuild and repackaged.

-Mark Diggory

Mark Diggory
Software Developer
Harvard MIT Data Center

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