With the growing popularity of open source, it’s getting harder and harder to attract contributors to new projects. A quick Internet search shows us that there are about 20,000+ FLOSS projects out there, and the number of new projects continues to double about every 14 months.
It becomes even harder if you’re trying to entice developers to help you build the World’s Most Wonderful Order Entry System versus a multiplayer, graphic intensive, action game.
One marketing gimmick that’s been used for everything from selling peanut butter to TV programming is of course the contest, or a sweepstakes, and now FLOSS project leads are using it, hoping to gather community members to its ranks. One such example is the Eclipse BPMN2 Modeler project, which has been around for a little over a year but is just recently gaining steam in growing its user/contributor community.
The BPMN2 Modeler is a graphical editor for working with BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation) diagrams and generates XML that is fully compliant with the BPMN 2.0 specification as defined by the Object Management Group consortium. The tool is built on Eclipse Graphiti and uses the BPMN 2.0 EMF meta model also being developed within the Eclipse Model Development Tools (MDT) project. The editor is designed to be generic enough to handle standard BPMN 2.0, but is also extensible and customizable for any language subsets and extensions.
If you’re familiar with Eclipse plug-in development, you understand the benefit of being able to extend the Eclipse Workbench and the many development tools it supports.
The contest and bug hunt can be found on zarroboogsfound.com. The process is simple: download and install the product, kick the tires, play around with it, find bugs and report them. The individual that finds, and reports the most ornery, nastiest bugs wins a really cool prize. The hope of the project leader is that even if you only have a passing interest in Business Process Modeling, or graphical editors, or Eclipse, or Java, or whatever, it’s worth a look. If you like gadgets, this contest is definitely worth investigating.