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The Cost of Community Development Twitter Facebook Print E-mail
Written by Tom Valletta   
Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The Church has done a little open source development in the past, but has not offered a simple way for technologists to contribute. Though we feel that everyone who wants to work on Church technology projects should be able to do so, the Church has not had the infrastructure to support technical contributions from world-wide audiences.

To encourage higher levels of participation the Church could support as many technologies as possible, including Java, .NET, Ruby, Python, C, PHP, Perl, Scala, Delphi, and JavaScript. However, as the cost of supporting multiple technologies is hardly justifiable, narrowing our focus to a few technologies is a better option. We are beginning by supporting Java open source, given that the servers and infrastructure are in place already.

Having settled on a technology, such as Java, we can begin writing code. For example, we can write an application that prints the stake directory. To build a foundation, we are working on Web services to securely share this data with those who would like to contribute. Other foundational needs include a source code repository, an issue tracking tool, and a place to collaborate. A Subversion repository has been set up, an issue tracking tool will soon be available, and the LDS Tech Wiki and forums are great for collaboration. These are vital tools for a Church-wide technology effort of any size.

Supporting more technologies incurs associated costs, and each new technology will require similar infrastructure. Currently, we are able to work with only the Java developers, which make up about 25 percent of the technologists who wish to contribute. With time, support will be available for many other platforms as well.

Spencer W. Kimball reminded members in 1969 that “God has endowed us with talents and time, with latent abilities and with opportunities to use and develop them in his service. He therefore expects much of us; his privileged children” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 100). The statement is still true today.

Please visit LDSTech regularly to see where your talents can be used.

Tom Valletta is a principal engineer for the Church.



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