Archive for the ‘agile’ Category
One of the most difficult things from a Standard organization aspect is getting people to request changes to a standard. STAR has been pretty good about this over the years, and in many ways I contribute it to the adoption of Agile development and management techniques. In general, people do not contribute or request modifications because they feel it takes too long to get their requirements met. STAR members can get a turn around in as little as a day, sometimes even within an hour. How is this achieved?
One of the technical development techniques that has come out of Agile development is the concept of Continuous Integration. Basically, everybody that is developing on a standard and creating its artifacts are integrating continuously. As code or changes to models are checked into source control, builds are started to generate and check that all artifacts are being produced as expected. Below is a snapshot of an early setup of the STAR Hudson continuous integration server:
STAR actually has about 6500 unit tests that run to check the quality of the XML schemas we produce. As the developers make changes and check in their changes, the Hudson build server monitors for new changes and then runs a build. If a build breaks, notifications are sent out to those that broke the build. This way we catch integration issues early instead of late when they are more difficult to debug and fix. The Hudson instance is made available to STAR members so that they have the ability to pull down changes at their convenience.
Providing your members and community with development snapshots helps improve the overall quality of the standard being produced, but also helps to eliminate one of the road blocks of getting community members to contribute or request changes. Shortening the overall development cycle is something that standard organizations need to do, as adopters can not wait years or even months to use what is being produced. Business moves ever faster, and we need to adapt or get out of the way.
Posted in agile, community, efficiency, open standards, standards | No Comments »
At STAR we seem to be cutting edge at times. We often get asked how we do so much with the amount of staff we have? We seem to produce higher quality deliverables, faster than most organizations with three times the staff. The key in many ways is to look at your processes, but also look at the tools you and the community use as a whole.
In STAR’s case we have shown that good quality sites, and materials can come from leveraging the power and diversity of open source and open standard communities. We do not only consume but we contribute back as well. STAR staff leverage and manage many web sites. Some for the community as a whole and some for the benefit of the membership. Regardless of which community we are focusing on we expect high quality and stability from the products we choose. The following is a summary of some of the open source projects we leverage at STAR.
As a non-profit organization we have to watch how we spend the memberships money so that we can provide the quality of service they expect. Leveraging open source projects let’s us stretch that dollar so that it goes farther and provides more value.
Some of the open source projects STAR has contributed back to in the way of code and time are:
- Eclipse – extensive contributions to Web Tools Platform. In particular the XML related tooling.
- PMWiki – bug fixes, and extensions.
- Mylyn-Mantis – an eclipse plugin for interfacing with MantisBT
- XML Schema Unit Testing – an agile testing framework for verifying XML Schema requirements.
- XMLUnit – a testing framework for testing and verification of XML files.
Consuming is the easy part. It takes real effort to spend the extra cycles to contribute. However the contribution is just as important if not more important than the consuming. With out contributions your projects will ceast to exist.
Standards development regardless of the organization is the same way. If there are more consumers than there are contributors to help support the system, then it will eventually ceast to exist. So if you support or use standards produced by STAR, AIAG, OAGi, ACORD, HRXML, or any other organization consider donating some time, become a member, or help promote the use of the standard. Every little bit helps. We extend on this ecosystem concept in the upcoming edition of the STAR eXchange Newsletter, if you haven’t already please consider signing up to receive it.
Posted in STAR, agile, community, efficency, open standards | No Comments »
For those of you who have spent any time working with STAR, the Eclipse community, or maybe you’re just a die hard XML fanatic (yes, they do exist, I work with one of them), you have no doubt come across the name, Dave Carver.
Dave has been with STAR as an XML Data Architect since 2005, but he is really much more than just an XML Data Architect. Dave is a self-professed “Jack of all Trades” and as his co-worker, I can attest to that. Whenever there is a programming need, whether it be to fix, re-factor, automate, etc., Dave has never backed down from the challenge. Dave can very often be quoted as saying, “You’ve just laid down the gauntlet!” And to his credit, Dave works tirelessly until he finds the solution.
So it was only a matter of time before someone else stumbled upon our XML Guru. In addition to the time Dave puts into his day job with STAR, he also manages to be an active contributor to the Eclipse community, in his own words, to “[help] improve and promote the use of XML, as well as [advocate] for Agile development practices and Clean Code practices.” Apparently his contributions have not gone unnoticed.
Members of the Eclipse community have nominated Dave for their “Top Contributor” award. According to the Eclipse website this award is given to the individual who, “best exemplifies support for the community through submission of patches & comments on bugs, posts to newsgroups, creation of white papers, presentations at conferences, blogs, IRC and other forums. Top contributors make their contributions due to their passion for making Eclipse a better community. In general, no one is paying them for the time they spend on making their Eclipse contributions.”
As his colleague, I can think of no better way to thank him for his hard work than to promote his candidacy for Top Contributor. The voting is open for anyone who would like to participate. To cast your vote go to: http://www.eclipse.org/org/press-release/20090202_awards.php. Be sure to vote before February 27th.
As part of the nomination process, each nominee is interviewed by DZone. Check out Dave’s interview and learn more about his efforts in the Eclipse community as well as his obsession with soccer: http://eclipse.dzone.com/articles/meet-years-top-contributor.
Carver in 09!!
Posted in Eclipse, STAR, XML, agile, community, standards | No Comments »
Rick Jelliffe has written a blog entry entitled “Preventing standards death march..” that is relevant to STAR and how we develop our data standards. In Rick’s article he is recommending that standard organization commit to a scheduled release and update of their standards on a yearly basis.
For the last four years, STAR has been using Agile techniques to implement what Rick is suggesting to deliver our membership requests to the community sooner rather than later. Standards do not have to take years to develop, they can benefit their users sooner rather than later. One of the advantages to being a STAR member is that you get access to the Milestone and Draft releases as they are developed. Allowing you to adopt quicker to changing business requirements. The milestones and drafts are just development snapshots, the only official version is still the one approved by the membership and published once a year.
Posted in agile, bods, open standards | No Comments »
One of the questions we receive while at the NADA Convention is where more information in regards to working with the standards can be found. We have most of this information available freely to the user community on the STAR web site. Some of it may not be as easy to find as it should be, so here are a few places to look.
- STAR Technical Articles – This covers topics ranging from how to use the Web Service Interopability tools for the WS-I.org. As well as topics regarding security and digital certificates.
- STAR BOD FAQs – Many questions in regard to databinding, and parsing of XML and working with XML Schemas can be found on the FAQ page. One topic that comes up frequently is the performance of validation. The page contains some links to information on how Validation can be improved and implemented. In particular, some sample code on how to implement a grammar pool with Xerces is included.
- Press Releases and Conference Presentations – STAR presents at various technical conferences from time to time. Including how we use Agile Development techniques to develop the STAR standard.
The latest approved versions of the STAR XML Schemas, Transport, and Dealership Infrastructure Guidelines can always be found on the STAR website. The STAR website is a great resource for the community, it contains much more than just a place to retrieve the standards we develop. If you have thoughts on how we can improve the web site to make it easier to find the information you need, please let us know.
Posted in agile, bods, dealership, transport | No Comments »