Making a Contribution to Apache Cocoon





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The Cocoon Project is an Open Source volunteer project under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), and, in harmony with the Apache webserver itself, it is released under a very open license. This means there are many ways to contribute to the project - either with direct participation (coding, documenting, answering questions, proposing ideas, reporting bugs, suggesting bug-fixes, etc..) or by resource donations (money, time, publicity, hardware, software, conference presentations, speeches, etc...).

To begin with, we suggest you to subscribe to the Cocoon mailing lists (follow the link for information on how to subscribe and to access the mail list archives), to checkout the latest and greatest code (which you find in the cocoon-1 module in the CVS code repository), control the todo list and jump in. Document writers are usually the most wanted people so if you like to help but you're not familiar with the innermost technical details, don't worry: we have work for you!

For financial support in particular, the Cocoon Project and the ASF in general is closely collaborating with the SourceXchange program that will provide a legal, solid and well-established resource for money collecting to fund software production under the open source flag. Please, feel free to contact directly the ASF President and co-founder Brian Behlendorf for more information on how to contribute financially to the advancement of this project.

Help Wanted Here

The rest of this document is mainly about contributing new or improved code and/or documentation, but we would also be glad to have extra help in any of the following areas:

  • Answering questions on the cocoon-users mailing list - there is often a problem of having too many questioners and not enough experts to respond to all the questions.
  • Testing Cocoon (especially its less-frequently-used features) on various configurations and reporting back.
  • Debugging - producing reproducable test cases and/or finding causes of bugs (at the time of writing, some known bugs are informally listed on To Do, but eventually a bug database should be made available on the Apache site).
  • Specifying/analysing/designing new features for Cocoon 2 - and beyond. (If you wish to get involved with this, please join (you may also want to join, install and try out Cocoon 2 and read some of the mail archives. You should have a strong "fluency" in XML technologies, Java and a basic understanding of the Cocoon 2 architecture - don't just say "it should have XYZ" without reading anything first - because chances are, someone's already thought of that feature!)
  • Packaging easy-to-install packages (such as RPMs) for the myriad of possible configurations out there. (The Cocoon project does not maintain anything but the basic .zip and .tar.gz packages, but anyone is welcome to build their own specific packages and announce them on cocoon-users)
  • ... and there is just one other thing - don't forget to tell everyone who asks how great Cocoon is! ;-) The more people that know about and start to use Cocoon, the larger the pool of potential contributors there will be - so, please, help us by placing the cocoon logo somewhere in your site to indicate that you are using and supporting the Cocoon Project.

Thank you very much. Powered by Cocoon

Contributions of Code and Documentation

We are starting to use an informal system for accepting contributions to Cocoon. The process varies depending on whether the contribution is a modification (i.e. patch) or a fairly standalone item, and whether you have commit access (committers have been granted access by a vote of confidence, so they are assumed to be trustworthy enough to make changes directly in CVS. If you submit many good patches, you may be nominated as a committer yourself!)

If your contribution requires changing more than a few lines of Cocoon (code or documentation), then it counts as a patch. If you have a patch and would like to see it incorporated into the Cocoon distribution, take note of the Licensing Requirements listed below, and then read the Patch management page for more information.

Otherwise (that is, if it does not require patching or you are not particularly interested in having it included in the main distribution), your code and/or documentation can be listed on the Third-Party Contributions page. The rationale for this split is that core patches may fix important issues, and may require timely attention if they are not to go out-of-date and become useless, but other contributions can simply be downloaded and applied by users who wish to use them.

A typical contribution (not a patch) may go through the following stages:

  1. Posted to cocoon-users with a URL to download it from.
  2. Listed on 3rdparty.html by a maintainer. [No requirements, other than relevance (at the moment).]
  3. Inclusion into the contrib directory, which is for 3rd-party contributions that have been tested, but are not necessarily mature enough or general enough for the main distribution. [Must be tested at least as specified below. See also Licensing Requirements below.]
  4. Inclusion into the main distribution. [Committers must be confident that it should work properly in most/all environments, it must be documented as appropriate, and it must be considered sufficiently useful and general to go into Cocoon. See also Licensing Requirements below].
Testing Requirements for Cocoon Contrib and Distribution

NoteThese tests do not apply to Cocoon 2 because it is designed to have different minimum requirements. As Cocoon 2 is still alpha (at the time of this writing), we are not at a rigourous test stage yet. Stay tuned!

All new code should be tested under the following servlet engines:

  • Apache JServ 1.1.2 (NOTE: This uses Servlet API 2.0)
  • Apache Tomcat 3.1
  • Resin 1.2.0

It should also be tested on the following:

  • A Windows operating system
  • A UNIX-type operating system
  • A JDK version 1.1.x

And obviously, it should be tested against the current CVS snapshot of Cocoon!

This testing is designed to iron out the most common kinds of incompatibilty problems (Servlet >2.0 requirements; platform-dependent assumptions; JDK >1.1 code). These requirements are, of course, open to review and discussion. Note that the contributor is not required to do the testing - indeed it is probably better if someone else tests it, because the contributor might be tempted to do less than thorough testing!

Documentation Requirements for Cocoon Distribution

All new features (processor, logicsheets, config options etc.) should be documented appropriately (in XML or in in the case of config options).

Use something like xdocs/index.xml as a rough guide, add the new page(s) to xdocs/site-book.xml and xdocs/docs-book.xml, and type docs or build.bat docs to test the documentation build.

Licensing Requirements for the Cocoon Distribution

To avoid legal problems, the Apache Project Management Committe (PMC) have agreed on a policy for under what licensing code can be accepted into Apache projects:

  • Source code files must be under the Apache license and must have copyright assigned to the Apache Software Foundation.
  • Jar files need only be released under a license that permits free redistribution and does not cover new files added to the jar/library (so the GPL and LGPL are not allowed, but MPL and Apache licenses are, for example).

By submitting a patch, you signify your understanding and acceptance of these conditions - like most open source projects, we do not have the resources nor the inclination to obtain signed statements from all contributors!

Note: Since the contrib/ directory of Cocoon CVS contains third-party. completely optional extensions, one of the above requirements is relaxed. Code in the contrib directory does not have to have its copyright assigned to the ASF - but it must still be released under the Apache license.

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