4 weeks ago, on Friday April 15th, the annual OCaml Meeting took place at Telecom Paris. OCamlCore (the company), organized this meeting for the fourth time. The event was quite a successful day. There were 65 attendees and 12 talks.
It offered a great opportunity to exchange ideas around OCaml and its open-source community. The schedule is available on the wiki.
For the first time, we had a long discussion about the web presence of OCaml. I was very happy about this because I think that the OCaml is not very well "rated" due to its web presence. The main talk was, of course, the one by Ashish Agarwal which presented a project to create a professional looking web portal. But the talk about OCamlCore.org also lead to an extended discussion about this, in particular about the interaction between github and the OCamlForge.
There is an increasing use of git among OCaml developers. This trend should be taken into account. Today, there is a lot of OCaml projects that choose github rather than the OCaml Forge. I think that github offers what most developers expect from such services. It allows them to start working directly, without unnecessary administrativia. The interface is nice looking (and probably 1000% more Web 2.0 than FusionForge).
However I still think, the OCaml community needs its own FusionForge instance:
- git is not the only VCS around, and FusionForge provides other VCS (svn, darcs, mercurial)
- even with 1000 OCaml projects on github, it will stay under the 0.1% of github — so OCaml will remain a very small community on github
- github is a closed source (AFAIK) web service, the OCaml forge is still 100% open source
There are many solutions to enhance the interaction with github:
- finish the activity-reporter, that will help to publish feeds about OCaml projects hosted on github
- create a plugin to FusionForge to help synchronize github and the OCaml Forge
- create a github umbrella project that gather all OCaml projects (e.g. an ocaml.org team on github), that will ease interaction with the OCaml Forge and planet
If the issue is really about a nice looking website, we can use gitorious. This is an open source project that provides almost all features of github. As far as I am concerned, I think a gitorious running on ocamlcore.org would be a very nice solution. It will required an integration with the account already created on the Forge, but it will be very nice.
OCamlForge team is open to any serious proposal. If you have ideas and enough motivation to realize them, we can offer you assistance by hosting your service on a *.ocamlcore.org subdomain. If you are ready to start, please let us know by mail.
Besides, we do need help to maintain the services offered on ocamlcore.org. Please contact us if you want to join!
Anil Madvappedy made a very good summary of the meeting.
Please also note that OCamlCore won’t be able to organize next year’s OCaml Meeting. If you liked past editions of the event, if you want to attend future editions, please consider organizing it! If you have time and energy to dedicate to the organisation of the Meeting, please send me an email and I’ll try to help with my experience. In other words : We are looking for volunteers to organize OCaml Meeting 2012.
This year group photo of participants:
I have upload all the slides on the wiki. I still need to publish the video of the meeting, but this is a long task.
Thanks to all of you for coming, see you next year.