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Open Source for the Enterprise by Gautam Guliani, Dan Woods

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Accelerating Learning

The productization described so far satisfies most beginner and intermediate users’ needs. But as use of the software grows, more users of all types will arrive and intermediates will grow to the expert level. Other projects will also start using the software for purposes that were not originally anticipated. All of this happens late in a project’s life cycle and much more slowly than the initial arrival of beginners. But open source projects can increase adoption further by providing productization designed to serve the needs of expert and advanced users.

Sample Code

Intermediate users require sample code for managing the sort of templating and simple scripting they engage in. Expert- and advanced-level users require sample code that shows how to use the APIs that allow other programs to invoke the functionality of another piece of software. Generally, the more sample code there is, the better. Once a project provides an area for sample code and support for community collaboration around it, users tend to provide more than enough samples.

API Documentation

While sample code is a good way to start supporting developers, open source projects should proceed to the next stage and perform actual documentation. A good first document is a catalog of all APIs available to programmers and a basic tutorial on how they can be used. Well-commented sample code is a great help, but just a few pages that describe the general idea of each API and the different subroutines or ...

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