Revision as of 23:01, 28 March 2011 by Tomwheeler (Talk | contribs)


DRAFT: List of Infrastructure Problems/Solutions

Members of the NetBeans Dream Team have identified the following problems in the NetBeans infrastructure and suggests the solutions below.

The "DRAFT" list below comes from an e-mail received recently from Tom Wheeler, so instances of "I" mean Tom. Once other dream team members have added and commented, the draft status will change. The DRAFT text is simply there right now to indicate the list below is not complete yet.


Problem: Changes to infrastructure are often poorly communicated (see Ivan/Emilian's recent thread on nbdev, which Wade forwarded to the list). This apparently even affects people inside of Oracle, and is much worse for people in the community since don't have access to intranet, company meetings, meeting developers in the cafeteria at lunchtime, etc. Additionally, changes to infrastructure seem to be made without regard to how it will affect work done by others. As an example, I have easily spent > 100 hours editing things in the FAQ. In the last five years, it moved from Wiki to JSPWiki to Media Wiki and the Web-based mailing list archives have also recently changed. These changes have broken many links in the FAQ.

Proposed Solutions: Close communication with the dream team around how/when to communicate changes. The dream team should be the primary point of contact when there are changes, in order to discuss them and how to communicate them on a case by case basis. (Geertjan)

The poor communication about infrastructure changes affects a much wider audience than just the Dream Team. I think the solution is to handle infrastructure changes just like you do API changes; in other words, suggest the changes in a specific public e-mail list where any interested person can subscribe, be informed of these changes several days before they're made, ask questions and offer suggestions just as they could for API changes. (Tom)

Website Changes

Problem: Nobody outside of Oracle can edit the Web site, aside from the Wiki (see my comments on nbdiscuss)

Further info needed: What kind of content on the site would be changeable by committers? What would the process be? What changes are dream team members suggesting it be possible to do by external committers?

Proposed Solutions: Investigate whether projects on can have external committers. E.g.. maybe can have external committers who work on the tutorials. (Geertjan)

The above proposal is a step in the right direction, but sounds like it's still limited to certain parts of the site. I don't see the point of establishing arbitrary borders. What if there are errors on the main pages of the NetBeans Web site? Reporting them on issue tracker takes much longer than simply fixing them. If there are sacred pages which the community simply cannot be trusted to edit regardless of what level of experience they have, at the very least it should be possible to check out or download a read-only copy of the site's current content so one can directly make all the desired changes at once and then submit the patch with an issue requesting that they be fixed.

I believe for someone to be able to change something they must first follow some processes for a while and earn that trust. I think this is the way all projects I know about operate though the Wiki's are usually a different story. I think it is easier for that to happen if there are sub-projects one gains access to. For instance, if one knows the platform and Java code, but nothing about PHP, then why should they change the PHP stuff? With that being possible, then how does one lead a project and maintain the control needed to do so? I think borders must be in place. (Wade)

Mirror Sites

Problem: No mirror sites for downloads (see my comments on this list). I have documented problems in which I was unable to download releases from the Akamai download system you use now, both from home and work. These problems are intermittent, but continue even now, and have prevented me from participating in 7.0 beta testing in any meaningful way.

Proposed Solutions:

Offer mirror sites as you once did and like most major open source projects do, at least for production releases. Such sites should be as simple as possible; i.e. just a server directory listing with links to files to download directly with HTTP (no Javascript, just keep it simple).

Website Instability

Problem: NetBeans web site is unstable (see #195839)

Proposed Solutions: Possibly this is fixed already; see the current final comment in the issue above dated 3/25/11. Otherwise, a proposed solution (by Tom) is to dump the current mailing list/forum system on in favor of Google Groups.

Tom: No, I never proposed that as a solution for this problem, especially since it would not actually solve this problem. I don't have a solution to propose here.

Forums/Mailing List

Problem: Integration between mailing lists and forums is poor (#196415)

Proposed Solutions: Dump the current mailing list/forum system on in favor of Google Groups. (Tom)

Mailing List Search

Problem: Mailing list search feature is broken (#195966)

Proposed Solutions: Dump the current mailing list/forum system on in favor of Google Groups. (Tom)

Mailing List Latency

Problem: Mailing lists seem to suffer from latency problems. There will be no messages for hours, then a dozen messages will all show up at once (i.e. within one minute of another). The message headers show messages having been delayed for several hours, though I cannot say defintively whether the problem is on NetBeans side or GMail (but I'd guess it is more likely NetBeans).

Further info needed: Is this a generally experienced problem? (Geertjan comment: I, for one, do not have this problem.)

I have experienced it dozens of times and Javier said that he experiences it as well. (Tom).

Proposed Solutions: Need to find more info about this before solutions can be proposed. (Geertjan)

Dump the current mailing list/forum system on in favor of Google Groups would fix it. I am subscribed to several other mailing lists through Google Groups and delays of several hours have never been an issue on those lists. Issue filed ( documenting a 14 hour delay. (Tom)

Mailing List - Echo own posts

Problem: (Ryan de Laplante) I have never seen any of my own posts to the NBDT mailing list show up in my inbox. Originally someone at Sun looked into it and it seemed like I am the only person with this issue. Over the years I changed email addresses once or twice and continue to have this issue. It doesn't bother me too much, but it is worth mentioning. All messages I send to the mailing list are delivered to everyone else.

Proposed Solutions: None.

Top Level and Sub-Project Support


Currently there is no ability for someone to bring logic or create it as a full sub-project within the NetBeans infrastructure and community. This limits the types of contributions which can take place out of the box. By out of the box I mean a top level or sub-project is created within the infrastructure, code is built, possible contributors are solicited, mailing lists, forums, source control, etc are setup and a sub-project, as a contribution to the NetBeans community, begins.

To me, this is where Eclipse is beating NetBeans as a community. Such a system allows for companies and individuals to come into an area within the community and establish a foot print and bind resources to the project. It is more of a stake of ownership. But too, this helps bring other contributions to the areas which those sub-projects depend upon such as the base platform.

It also gives people a place to house and built those things while also branding them within the NetBeans community as a whole. This gives a presence. As more do this, it not only gives them presence, but grows NetBeans, the project, the community, the support, user levels, resources, and gives NetBeans more presence as well.

Imagine this as top level projects with the possibility for sub-projects. Thus, there may be a top level project called PlatformX located at and then there may be Granted Central Lookup is probably to small to be in its own project, it is a stand alone idea, and serves at least as an example. It would probably be even nicer if projects could be accessed as sub-domains such as

Proposed Solutions:

  • Can (Kenai) support such features for a domain name or group of projects already? (Wade)
  • If we do not know, then who do we need to be talking with regard to Kenai/ (Wade)
  • How do Oracle folks feel about this in general? (Wade)
  • Too, just like Apache, we need some concept of incubating. (Wade)
  • Project leads need to be able to manage their own project or sub-domain and sub-projects. (Wade)


I currently propose we have a way to designate projects as incubating or not, and this determines how those projects show up in AU centers which people can register in their IDEs. For instance, there could be an, incubator.beta, and incubator.release set of AUs and then, production.beta, and production.release. Naming can be worked out later, but that is the general idea for how to manage what is incubating or not.

Projects, while incubating, will still show up as top level projects, but will be marked as such in the header for a warning for anyone viewing them. This should allow for a smoother transition for projects, and less for mentors and Oracle folks to do when something graduates from incubator to production.

Having some property which designates them as incubating allows for them to be able to be located in different search results or link sets. This means if one goes to some link, "Incubating Projects", they will possibly see categories and then projects in those categories and be able to click on them and go to their project pages and sub-domains. (Wade)

Project Leads and Management

I don't know how user management would work for the sub-projects of a top level project. Perhaps if you are a member of the top-level project, you have direct access to all sub-projects. That sounds reasonable to me. Thus, if you have administrator rights to the top-level project, you then have administrative rights to any sub-projects. (Wade)

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