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Help on getting started as a TWiki developer

There are two types of TWiki developer; core developers, who are brave/stupid enough to make changes in the TWiki core code, and extension developers, infinitely more sensible people who work on the edges, producing plugins, skins and other types of extension.

Core developers have to work in the TWiki subversion repository. If you are creating an extension that you want to share with the TWikiCommunity you are strongly recommend to work this way too. You don't have to use the repository if you are developing an extension, but you are strongly recommended to do so. Strongly. HowToStartExtensionDevelopmentInSubversion has a detailed guide explicitly for extension authors.

We do most TWiki development on the trunk - extensions and core together in the same repository. Anyone wishing to contribute has to get authorization to check in. Unfortunately we have to do this, because of the risk of vandalism. However the process is very simple:

  1. Read DeveloperResponsibilities to fully understand what you are getting into.
  2. Read the LicensingAndCopyrightFAQ if you have questions about the licenses that apply to TWiki, and how they might read onto your work.
  3. Create a topic in this web called "YourWikiNameWouldLikeToCheckIn" using the form on RequestAccessToSubversion. In this topic, describe who you are, a little bit about your background, and what you think you can contribute.
  4. Your topic will be acknowledged. There's usually then a one-week wait to give existing developers and the CoreTeam a chance to review the request.
  5. Existing developers and the CoreTeam have the right to veto anyone being granted access, but they won't do this unless they have a very strong reason.
  6. Checkin rights can be granted by any existing authorised checker-inner, but they can't just add their friends - they must go through the process, or they risk losing their own check-in rights.

Even before you get checkin rights, you can check out the subversion repository and start developing. See the SubversionReadme and PatchReleaseMaintenanceSVN to understand how the subversion branches are used to develop different TWiki releases.

The BuildContrib is an important tool used in TWiki development, especially for extensions (plugins, skins etc) developers; you should read up about it. TestCasesTutorial describes how to start writing TWiki unit test cases.

Developer Communications

  1. All developers, core and extensions, are recommended to subscribe to WebNotify, in order to be notified automatically when something changes in the Codev web.
  2. You should subscribe to the TWikiDevMailingList for checkin notifications and occasional conversations among developers.
  3. TWiki has two IRC channels for developers; #twiki carries general discussions about TWiki, and is often the best place to get support. #twiki-dev carries feeds that report checkins and topics changes in areas of interest to developers.
  4. Requirements and proposals are tracked in this web (Codev).
  5. The Bugs web is where all bug tracking is done.

ALERT! Note: There are a lot of spurious and/or misleading articles in Codev that claim to describe processes used in TWiki development. Ignore them unless:

  1. They are tagged with Tag:dev_essential
  2. They have the forge logo, as seen at the top of this page

Repository Access

If you have been given write access to the TWiki subversion repository, you should use the same login and password as your twiki.org WikiName.

-- Contributors: CrawfordCurrie, PeterThoeny


I find this subversion thingy as it appers to me contradicts the wiki nature because it makes it harder for an average user like me to implement or change something quickly. First I need access to subversion, secondly I need to check it in and thirdly I must release a new version. If I haven't access to subversion I need to wait for someone else to do it for me. That's not really what I unterstand under eliminating the "one webmaster syndrome"

I'm quiet sure that there are lots of good reasons for using subversion but it's definitely not wiki-like.

-- CarloSchulz - 08 Jun 2007

Another question: what is the FOSS community?

-- CarloSchulz - 08 Jun 2007

I agree, this setup is very developer centric. However, I do not see a good alternative for source code, it needs to be tracked properly. As you state, it raises the bar to contributing substantially for non-developers. Especially to contribute on non-source code stuff, such as documentation (see for example DakarDocumentationModelIsBroken). Right now the pendulum is on the dev side, I'd like to see it more balanced so that we can attract non-developers more easily, like tech writers and usability experts.

FOSS = Free Open Source Software. I changed the word to be more explicit.

-- PeterThoeny - 08 Jun 2007

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Topic revision: r18 - 2008-09-24 - KennethLavrsen
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