[Biococoa-dev] The future of BioCocoa

Koen van der Drift kvddrift at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 10 11:31:53 EDT 2006

Hi all,

First of all I would like to officially congratulate Alex & Tom on behalf of the complete BioCocoa team with winning their second Apple Design Award, this time for EnzymeX in the Scientific category. Of course we can all be a bit extra proud, because EnzymeX uses the BioCocoa framework, albeit the older version.

Now that we have finally released BioCocoa 2.0, based on the new framework structure, this is a good time to look ahead, and see what's in the future for the project. Although the project has been pretty quiet on this mailing list, a lot has been going on behind the scenes regarding the activities at this years WWDC. This could not be discussed on the mailinglist, because of the tight NDA's that Apple poses regarding such big events. I can let you know now that BioCocoa has a lot of exposure this year, including a poster, a podcast (!), and a demonstration. As soon as the WWDC is over, these will all be posted on our new and improved website.

Another issue that was discussed off-line was that in order to keep the project going, one or two project leaders are necessary to set goals, timelines, and to keep people involved and motivated. I am pleased to announce that I have accepted that responsibility for at least one year. This doesn't mean that others have no more saying in the project and are only allowed to code ;-) As far as I am concerned we should still be discussing issues here on the mailinglist like we used to. I just hope that we don't just discuss stuff, but that we also actually improve and extend the framework by writing code.

One of the conditions to accept the project leader position was that I didn't want yet another complete rewrite of the framework. So you can imagine I became a bit worried when I read the following on the WWDC diary from Alex:  "... but with the four we went for dinner, ending up at the same place as last year. Very nice evening, with quite some interesting ideas and heated discussions about the best architecture for BioCooca. Something to definitely work out further." We had a similar thing happening last year, which resulted in an actual great improvement of the framework (ie using NSData instead of NSString to store sequences). So I hope that the guys who were present at the time can explain a bit in detail what this was about.

So what are the plans for the (near) future?

I think first we need to see how many people are still interested in contributing to the project. Hopefully the WWDC will attract some new developers. We will find out about that soon, I hope. What I don't want to happen is a situation similar to last year. We had some great momentum during and after the WWDC, but unfortunately this died out soon. I understand everyone has other obligations, and open source projects are just voluntary work. However, there are many open source projects out there that *do* work under similar circumstances. So hopefully this burst of activities will keep the project alive and kicking for a bit longer. Being the project leader, I will post at least once a month on the mailinglist to discuss the status of the project.

To keep things going, I think we can set up some goals for the project, and work towards future releases. Some of the outstanding items are:

* add mutable sequences
* finish conversion of the old BCReader and BCWriter classes
* maintain the website and wiki site
* extend the framework with new tools and functionalities
* add new BCAppKit classes

So that's it for now. I hope there will be a lot of input, and that we are all going to be involved in keeping the project alive. I think this is a great project, and it can benefit us all and everyone who wants to use it.


- Koen.

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