Getting Board of jQuery

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TL;DR The body responsible for overseeing jQuery’s finances and administration, which was until today known as the jQuery Team, is now called the jQuery Board. The jQuery Team is for anyone who invests a significant amount of time contributing to jQuery and its related projects.

As jQuery has grown from a cool idea in 2005 to the most widely used piece of JavaScript on the Internet today, so too has the organizational structure required to support its development and its community. Over time, e-mail chains became mailing lists, and out of those lists evolved a casual confederation known as the jQuery Team. To join this team, all you had to do was make a consistent contribution to some aspect of the project and eventually John would add your name to a page in our docs wiki.

By 2009, the team wanted to solidify the long-term future of the project, so we accepted an invitation to join the Software Freedom Conservancy, from whom we’ve since received great amounts of administrative and legal support. Though the SFC offers that “Projects can continue to operate in the same way they did before joining the Conservancy without having to select a board of directors or any other layer of corporate management,” the team chose to implement a governance system whereby the project’s official decisions would be communicated to the Conservancy after a public vote by the members of the “core team,” which initially had 21 members. This conferred a significant amount of formality onto what had been a relatively ad hoc process, and while the system has worked well, it has been accompanied by some confusion.

  • On one hand, there’s the voting membership, responsible primarily for financial and managerial decisions concerning the entire project. On the other, there’s an actual group of people who are working on jQuery Core itself. Both of these groups are sometimes called the jQuery Core Team, which is fairly misleading.
  • As new people come along and become active contributors to some part of the project, it’s not fun to tell them, “Hey, great job, but you’re *not* on the team!”
  • Just because you are really interested in hacking on jQuery Core, UI, or Mobile (or working on docs, or any of the many other ways you can help out the project) doesn’t mean you have the slightest desire to sit in long meetings, discussing how to allocate funds and how to improve beverage service at the next conference.
  • As people’s lives ebb and flow, it’s normal that their capacity to contribute changes. What’s the right correlation between being a genuinely active contributor in the present tense and having a vote in the project’s big-picture management?

In order to attempt to resolve some of this confusion and make clearer the group’s purpose, the jQuery Team is now known as the jQuery Board, and all the governance rules that applied to the Team now apply to the Board. The Board is responsible for

  • approving and appropriating expenditures
  • representing the intentions of the jQuery Project to the SFC
  • overseeing and directing the Subteams and selecting the Subteam Leads responsible for each of the facets of the project
  • voting on its own composition

If you’ve always wanted to be “on the team,” but were unsure of what it meant or what you would do, this is good news! We’re fully embracing the Wikipedia definition of team: a group of people (or animals!) linked in a common purpose. As such, anyone who volunteers, over a sustained period of time, to serve actively on a jQuery Subteam will be invited to join the jQuery Team (at the discretion of the Subteam Lead), so you can feel good putting that on your slide decks, refrigerators, and so forth.

What isn’t changing is the fact that if you are passionate about web development and trying to find a way to make a difference to developers around the world, there is a place for you in the jQuery community. Hop onto the forum and give another developer a hand. Head over to our various bug trackers and help triage the open issues — or dive in and see if you can provide a patch. If you just want to get a lay of the land, join the weekly IRC meetings. Want to work on a particular project? Take a look through the updated team page and get in touch with the right subteam lead! One thing’s for sure:

jQuery wants you!

Official Plugins: A Change in The Roadmap

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Barely six months ago, we announced that we were adopting three plugins developed chiefly at Microsoft – Templating, Data Link, and Globalization – as official plugins, to be developed in accordance with the standards of and supported by the jQuery project. Today, we’d like to take an opportunity to share what we’ve learned in the interim and announce a change in course for these and the rest of jQuery’s “Official Plugins.”

There never has been a dedicated jQuery team for supporting Official Plugins. Prior to the adoption of Microsoft’s contributions, the plugins that the jQuery project supported – Color, Easing, bgiframe, Mousewheel, Metadata, and Cookie – were dead-simple, effective plugins for achieving a particular utilitarian end. They required little maintenance, stalwartly serving with little fuss from version to version of jQuery core. In recent months, as we noticed an uptick in questions related to the three new plugins, we realized there was a disconnect. Though development on beta versions of the plugins continued at Microsoft, the planned jQuery sub-team that was meant to collaborate with and adopt Microsoft’s work never formed.

As demand has grown, based on the existence of the beta versions of the plugins as well as promises made in the posts, we’ve sensed the rumbles, the confusion, and the confused exclamations: “I thought templating was going to be in 1.5!” Because of your concerns and ours, we’ve decided to eliminate the notion of Official Plugins altogether. It’s a difference that’s both semantic and symbolic, but this is its material impact:

Many of the original supported jQuery plugins (Color, Easing, and Mousewheel) will continue to be supported and maintained by the jQuery Core Dev Team. The Metadata plugin will be deprecated, in favor of similar functionality provided by jQuery 1.4.3 and above. The Cookie plugin will continue to be maintained by Klaus Hartl.

The jQuery UI project will take ownership over plugins on which it has a current or future dependency: Templating, Globalization, and bgiframe. The jQuery UI team plans to begin work anew on templating and globalization, starting with the normal process for UI plugins: Collaborative development on a spec. While some may perceive this as a setback, given existing progress on the current jquery-tmpl plugin, it is really an opportunity for us to work in tandem with the community — Microsoft included — to develop an implementation that will be effective and flexible. The “official plugins” Microsoft has been developing have always been in a beta state, subject to change and with significant revisions planned for the Beta 2 release, but we recognize (and appreciate) those of you who have jumped in and started to experiment and use them in your applications. The UI team is still in the early planning stages for the Templating and Globalization plugins, and we invite you to visit the planning wiki and share your thoughts about development.

Microsoft will continue to develop and support the Data Link plugin independently, and will take ownership of hosting the documentation for the existing plugins.  In the short term, however, we’ll keep the documentation for these plugins on api.jquery.com, in order preserve a reference for anyone who needs it. For more on Microsoft’s plans for Data Link, please read their Official Plugins Update. We value Microsoft’s ongoing contribution to jQuery, providing developer time and financial support for a number of efforts, including the jQuery UI Grid and the jQuery conferences.

We realize that some of these details may seem in flux or merely organizational, but we know that it’s important to tell the community of changes like these as they’re happening so that you can make the best decisions for your applications as soon as possible. We hope you understand why we’ve had to make these shifts and encourage you to get involved and help us push these important projects along!

Addendum: So Why Weren’t Templates in 1.5?

Though we initially announced that the jquery-tmpl plugin would be part of jQuery Core in version 1.5, the plugin was, as it is today, still in the Beta 1 stage. Thus, when the time came last December to really evaluate new features for 1.5, it was not really considered ready for inclusion. Given what we’ve explained above, we hope it’s clear that we don’t plan to include templating directly in Core in the near future. The jQuery UI Templating plugin will be a standalone plugin with no dependencies on any other part of jQuery UI, and will become the only templating solution “officially” supported by the project, though jQuery will, of course, continue to work with any JavaScript templating engine that spits out good, old-fashioned strings of HTML.