Chicken and Pig

Question: Concerning a bacon-and-egg breakfast, what's the difference between the role of the chicken and that of the pig?
Answer: The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed!

So what does that have to do with my work on Xtext?

Xtext by now has a history reaching over a whole decade. Since its early beginnings I have been using the framework and developed several DSLs for customers with it. I have given trainings, consulting, and professional support. I wrote articles and blog posts and talked on conferences, demo camps and community events about Xtext and solutions created with it.

Often it was assumed that I was a committer on the Xtext project and people were very confused when I said that I'm not. I was “just” an expert user and active contributor and I was fine with that. I loved working for my customers and was highly dedicated to craft their solutions. Xtext development had a good momentum and I was happy with just applying this wonderful piece of technology.

From feeling involved...

Recently, my perception has changed a little. While Xtext 2.9 brought a big feature boost (e.g. new generator, Web & IDEA support, better Maven & Gradle support etc.), Xtext 2.10 somehow brought no new prominent features and fewer fixes than the community had expected. For the upcoming 2.11 release the main topics are support of the Language Server Protocol and splitting of Xtext’s single source repository into eight smaller ones.

While the main intention behind the repository split is further stabilization, Xtext and Xtend still have more than 1000 bug reports open. So there is plenty to do and I felt that I could help the project best by getting involved in this topic. Also, the bugs document how users actually use Xtext and where they have problems. I would like to focus on the users and their needs.

Therefore I started to contribute to the project more and more actively, hunted and re-tested bugs. Some were not reproducible, some of them I could already fix and others still exist, but at least they are now marked that they have been reproduced currently. For new issues I want to help users to get a more instant feedback and assure that the issues pile does not grow further. For the near future I want to make sure that stabilization does not lead to stagnation and that we do not keep adding technological debt, but will also actively fight against it.

...to being committed

I really feel committed to the project now and I am pleased that itemis grants the necessary time for me and my colleagues to keep improving this interesting piece of technology. Therefore I am happy that my colleagues Holger Schill finally proposed me to become committer on the project and that those who voted for me showed that they appreciate my dedication and work. 

Now I plan to intensify my work on Xtext even more and to use my close relation to users to improve their experience with the framework. I am confident that I can bring a different perspective into the project that is adding value to it.

About Karsten Thoms

Karsten is a software architect at itemis and part of the Xtext team. He strongly believes that Model Driven Software Development helps to be more efficient in mission critical projects.