At 360Flex San Jose 2008, I gave a session titled Polishing Components for the Unwashed Masses. In my talk, I covered all the important details around releasing a custom component to the community. Having built a few open source components on my own, and being a former member of the development team behind Yahoo! Astra, I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on how to create quality supplementary material to include along with the source code and the SWC. The four main topics were writing documentation, creating examples, making your components extensible, and encouraging a community.
To some, my session seemed a little obvious. To others, it was a good checklist of what-to-dos before some code gets released. Personally, I’ve seen way too many half-finished, barely documented, almost unusable components that could use a little extra love (even before going up in a one-time blog post). It takes time to do a decent release, and yes, sometimes creating all this “extra” stuff is a little boring. However, basic polish can make the difference between a forgettable component that no one uses and something everyone in the community enjoys. To convince a random developer to use your custom component, you need to guide them and show them how easy they can get started, and that’s the message I tried to emphasize in my session.
Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback! I may do a version of this session again sometime, and I got some helpful tips for areas that could use a bit more detail or some supporting visuals.
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