[ic] Taking a Poll

Ron Dorman rwd@csi1st.net
Tue, 17 Apr 2001 10:15:46 -0400

David Adams wrote:

> 1.  The new tag reference.  At tremendous effort and expense, we have almost
> completed a comprehensive new tag reference guide.  It has taken a very
> skilled developer many months of work, and we will be making this document
> available soon.  In addition to being on the web site, this document will be
> a part of a printed and bound Interchange manual.  <guilt trip>For further
> documentation efforts to be justifiable to the accountants, it's important
> that we at least make some movement toward allaying the costs of producing
> this documentation by selling these manuals.  I'll hope that many people who
> read this list will be  buying them</guilt trip>.  I know that people have
> been clamoring for a printed manual that they can buy, so we're trying to
> meet the demand.

thank you.  don't mind paying (reasonable price) for good documentation.

> 2. The new developer web site.  We're going to be launching a new developer
> web site that's going to have more tools to allow the developers to
> contribute to Interchange and to the documentation.  We'll be launching some
> Wiki-web-like tools that allow people to contribute to a living FAQ, we'll
> be working on the annotation features we currently offer to make them
> better, and we hope to be offering a sourceforge-esque area where people can
> sponsor Interchange-related projects and set up CVS and mailing lists for
> them.  <guilt trip>Of course, this will only be worth the effort if people
> take advantage of them and they end up benefiting the project, so let me
> know if you think you'd be interested in taking advantage of these
> tools</guilt trip>

I think this is good and will be used.

> 3. Making Interchange easier to use.  Since Interchange does not result in
> direct licensing-derived revenue, we have never been able to dedicate as
> many resources to making Interchange easy to use as we'd like to.  We only
> have a few full-time developers who work solely on Interchange development
> and we have to pick our tasks carefully.  However, there are some options
> that are open to us, and I'd love to get people's feedback on some of these
> ideas.  One option is to develop a site setup wizard that would make
> Interchange as accessible as Yahoo store.  This would be a separate product
> you would only have access to by paying, either as a product or a service
> (ASP style).

if you are saying that this would allow someone hosting a site on an ISP's
servers to setup, configure and maintain their catalog/cart remotely, this is

if you are saying an ISP could load this on their servers to allow customers to
setup, configure and maintain their catalog/cart, it is great.

> We could also develop purpose-specific templates for
> particular types of web sites that could be purchased.  ("cookbook" demos,
> as someone mentioned)  So you can either use the generic template that comes
> with Interchange or you could select from a library of templates that might
> more closely approximate your goals.

good templates for different business scenarios, built by those who really know
Interchange would be a big boost to those learning Interchange.  also a
productivity improvement for those building sites for clients.

> We have also thought about making the
> process of hiring a consultant to do more complicated work more accessible,
> by putting together some kind of flat-rate pricing table for various tasks,
> like they have for auto repair.  These prices could be for work performed by
> Red Hat or by certified developers (meaning we would put some kind of
> referral program together).

this would be very good.  be very good if the consultants expertise and
qualifications were also available.

> Let me be clear that in each of these cases it would be important that
> consultants in our community can take part, either by joining some kind of
> referral program or by being able to license some technology we develop. We
> need to include you in these initiatives, so that's why I'm soliciting your
> feedback right now.  Also, let me stress that Interchange's license will not
> change; though we may think up all sorts of ways of charging money for
> various distributions of Interchange, it will still be GPL, and will always
> be available for download free of charge.
> 4. Making it easier to learn Interchange.  In addition to new documentation
> and printed manuals, we'll be offering Interchange training soon.  If you
> have any feedback on what you think should be taught, let us know.

Interchange Concepts - Structure and Integration of the UI, Backend and
                                        Database. (big picture/overview)
Interchange Templating - Understanding the Demo Templates, Modifying
                                        Templates, Creating and Integrating New
Interchange Databases - Understanding the Demo Databases, Modifying
                                        Databases, Creating and Integrating New
Interchange Markup Language - Understanding the User Tags, Modifying
                                        User Tags, Creating and Integrating New
User Tags.
Interchange Shipping - Understanding Shipping methods, Modifying Shipping
                                        Methods, Creating and Integrating New