The Secret to NuGet’s Success. You!

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On a personal level, NuGet has been an immensely satisfying project to work on. I’ve always enjoyed working on open source projects with an active community in my spare time, but being able to do it as part of my day job is really fulfilling.

And I don’t think I’m alone in this as evidenced by this tweet from a co-worker, Matt Osborn who was contributing to NuGet on his own time from the early days.

Matthew M. Osborn (osbornm) on Twitter - Google
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A big part of the satisfaction comes from being able to collaborate with members of the community, aka you, in a deeper manner than before, which includes accepting contributions.

If you go to the OSS community site, Ohloh.net, you can see a list of contributors to Nuget. As you might expect, the top five contributors are Microsofties who work on NuGet as part of their day job. But three of the top ten are external contributors from the community.

NuGet Contributors - Ohloh - Google
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It looks like 21 of the 36 contributors are external. Take these numbers with a slight grain of salt because we use a distributed version control system and it appears some developers are counted twice because they used a different email address on a different computer.

Note to those developers! Create an account on Ohloh.net and claim those check-ins! Ohloh will provide a merged view of your contributions.

Contributions come in all sizes.We’ve had folks come in and “scratch an itch” with single commits adding things like support for WiX or the .NET Micro Framework. Such commits form a key pillar of open source software as Linus Torvalds stated when discussing a Microsoft patch to Linux:

I agree that it’s driven by selfish reasons, but that’s how all open source code gets written! We all “scratch our own itches”.

While other contributions took a lot of work among multiple community members such as the work to fix Proxy issues within NuGet. We didn’t have the ability to test the wide range of proxy servers people had in the wild. Fortunately several folks in our forums worked on this and tested out daily builds till we got it working in Package Explorer. This will soon be rolled into NuGet proper. Thanks!

As with most open source projects, commits do not tell the full story of a community’s contributions to a project. In some cases, these folks were involved in a lot of design and verification work that ended up being perhaps one commit.

Our discussion boards are full of active participants telling us we’re doing it wrong, or doing it right, or what we need to do. And that’s great! The commitment of their time to help us shape a better project is greatly appreciated. Even those who come in and criticize the product are making a noteworthy contribution as they’ve taken the time to give us food for thought. As they say, indifference is worse than hate and we’ve found a lot of folks who are not indifferent.

Getting Results!

I think all this community contribution to NuGet is a big factor in the success of NuGet. With your help (and a few recent tweaks to their popularity algorithm), we’ve become the #1 most popular extension on the Visual Studio Extension Gallery website.

Visual Studio Gallery - Google
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If you enjoy using NuGet and have a moment, consider going to the site and rate NuGet.

Moving Forward

As well as I think NuGet is doing, I’m by no means satisfied. In fact, I’m probably one of the most critical people when it comes to where NuGet is today as compared to where I’d like NuGet to be.

My team is a very small team. If we’re going to make even more progress than we’ve had, we’re going to need to cultivate contributors, both drive-by and consistent. That seems to me like the best way to scale out our development.

If you have tips on how to do that best, do let me know! In the meanwhile, I’ll brainstorm some ideas on how we can encourage more people to participate in the development of NuGet.

Found a typo or error? Suggest an edit! If accepted, your contribution is listed automatically here.

Comments

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11 responses

  1. Avatar for zerkms
    zerkms May 8th, 2011

    Fonts on screenshots look blurred :-S Don't you experience issues with that?!

  2. Avatar for House
    House May 8th, 2011

    @zerkms, i think you need to go to the oculist for a proper medical diagnosis.

  3. Avatar for zerkms
    zerkms May 8th, 2011

    @House: Everything is fine with fonts on webpage, but on screenshots they are blurred
    http://pix.am/L0X0.png

  4. Avatar for mz
    mz May 8th, 2011

    I have the same problem. Fonts on them are smoothed too much.

  5. Avatar for Ken Egozi
    Ken Egozi May 8th, 2011

    NuGet is cool, and the coolest part *is* the strong community involvement.
    btw - Ebbo is listed twice on Ohloh's thing. Perhaps using a different username to push changes?

  6. Avatar for Erik van Brakel
    Erik van Brakel May 8th, 2011

    I was there when you excitedly announced to Scott Hanselman (and the rest of the crowd present) that NuGet was listed #1 on the site (Coding 4 Fun at TechDays in the Netherlands). Do the webcams work again @ Microsoft HQ? ;-)

  7. Avatar for Jonathan van de Veen
    Jonathan van de Veen May 8th, 2011

    For me a reason to contribute to opensource would only be for commercial reasons. By this I mean, that I would use an opensource project in a project of my own and then if there is a problem that gets in my way I'd fix it (if it's not to hard, that is).
    I think the key here is to make fixing problems as easy as it can be, especially with the check-in process.

  8. Avatar for Claire
    Claire May 8th, 2011

    Many many thanks to you and all the developers with fingers in NuGet's pie--so far it's been delicious!
    Also, fonts on screenshots look blurred to me too (on FF and IE)

  9. Avatar for haacked
    haacked May 8th, 2011

    Hi All, the fonts look fine on my machine. Do you have cleartype on or off?
    @Ken yeah, I should ping him to fix that. :)

  10. Avatar for zerkms
    zerkms May 9th, 2011

    @haacked:
    sure we have it turned on. But this doesn't explain why regular fonts are okay, but the ones at screenshot (thus not affected by cleartype) are blurred.
    Open near your picture: haacked.com/...
    And mine: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4486681/fonts.PNG

  11. Avatar for haacked
    haacked May 10th, 2011

    @zerkms Hmmm, I barely notice a difference, but those screenshots are of different screens on different sites so font choice and other differences makes it hard to compare. They both look relatively sharp to me.