At SugarCon earlier this month, I lead an open discussion during the morning of the second day of the SugarUNCon on the future of the Sugar Community. As many of you have realized, we haven’t been the most responsive to our community over the last year or so, as we have been concentrating on high stability and quality in our releases and building a process to support more open development. I think the culmination of these efforts was best exemplified by holding the SugarUNCon, where all of our developer community had a unique opportunity to interact with our Sugar technical teams to learn more about working with the Sugar platform and provide feedback on the direction we are going as an organization from a technical standpoint.
The Sugar Community Roundtable we held had a great turnout, and brought some terrific ideas on where the direction of the community should be going forward. There were several focus areas we discussed, namely around web properties and presence, and the future of the CE edition of the product. Let me break down a bit more on what the notable takeaways from this open discussion regarding our web properties and presence included.
Disclaimer: None of the discussion items listed below are things we at SugarCRM have committed to doing as of this writing. However, we are looking at our community feedback very strongly to help us decide what the future of the community should be.
SugarForge, Developer Zone, and Forums
There was an overall feeling of needing to find a way to help consolidate all of our external web properties ( Developer Zone, SugarForge, Forums ) down to a few properties with a much more clear focus. One of the ideas was to thin down SugarForge to be more of a directory site ( something like Freshmeat, for example ) allowing projects to host their code on Github, Google Code, Sourceforge, or any other location.
The next step would then be to optimize the existing SugarForge for much easier finding of packages that are relevant to your version and flavor of Sugar ( so for example, you could search for Google Mail integration packages known to work with Sugar 6.1.4 ). This is a rather notable pain point for our community members and users, as it’s difficult to find the add-on packages that will work for them. So an idea is to do something similar to what WordPress does in their plugin directory, where users can directly provide feedback on whether or not a plugin worked for them on their version.
The forums are the next main issue, as it’s very difficult to find answers to questions within them. I think everyone agreed that switching to a format similar to StackOverflow would be much improved, as it provides clear ways to find the correct answer for a question.
Everyone also felt that the Developer Zone and SugarForge attract the same sort of audience, and really both sites should be folded together. This would also more promotion of new and exciting SugarForge projects to our developer community at large.
And now, it’s your turn
While the open discussion was a great success and gave us new insight into where we should go with the community, the conversation is far from over. We are looking for more ideas on the direction of the Sugar Community in the future, as well as feedback on the ideas presented at the Sugar Community Roundtable that I discussed above. Let us know in the comments what you think about all of this and your ideas on how to improve and strengthen the Sugar Community.