An Encouraging Letter For Developers about Community Weaver 3

I found this comment at the bottom of this page: http://timebanks.org/community-weaver-3-has-arrived/

Danyl, thanks for your comments. We too were excited to go open source. It seemed like an ideal way to go. Here is our story with that. Community Weaver is sophisticated, complex software. We were informed that using Drupal modules, it would be way easier to develop than it had been the first time round for CW1. After some 100 modules had been modified and then joined together in extremely complex ways; after 2 years; and after a cost that was six times the original estimate, we had OK software that users had sort-of adapted to.

Jumping in to open source with all the idealism that we bring to timebanking, we learned — too late — about just how much investment in specification, coordination and management is required for the level of complexity that Community Weaver has. We also learned that Drupal 6 wasn’t really the right kind of platform for the product. (Drupal7 or 8 might be, but 6 was not.) We are not in the development community, we are the customers of the development community. What we learned –the hard way — was that open source works brilliantly under certain conditions.

Ours was not one of those conditions.

So now we’re on CW 3. We learned our lesson. We turned to a developer who had demonstrated that he runs a tight ship and could manage the complexity of this project. What he has produced has been receiving very, very high reviews from users, who have described CW3 as “easy — like kindergarten” compared to CW 2, and a “vast improvement.”

And Yes, we have used an open source underlying platform. And we hear you about giving back. Since we are not software developers, but rather, a software user, we give back where we can. We provide the software free to community timebanks that exist in the sharing economy. So far, almost 100 timebanks are receiving, without charge, the fruits of two years of work put in by our volunteer team of timebank coordinator advisors, our tech support person, and our developer.

In short, we remain true to the ideals of timebanking and to open source — but in a larger sphere that goes beyond the confines of the development community.

In closing this reply, I extend to you and all members of the development community an invitation to consider joining with us in “giving back” in ways that speak to the needs and possibilities of the world that stand outside development and to extend the notion of open source to include a more expansive view of what giving back could include.

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