Next generation of core WiX toolset developers.

Last week I spent a large amount of time talking about my new adventure. Let's kick off this week talking about the WiX toolset community. We are at the beginning of another major transition (and I don't mean my leaving Microsoft). The WiX toolset needs its 5th generation of core developers. Are you the next core WiX toolset developer?

Before we go any further, let me define what I mean by core developer so we are on the same page. A core developer on the WiX toolset represents what the WiX toolset is about. A core developer understands not only how the WiX toolset works but why it works that way. A core developer is part of the community long enough to repeatedly demonstrate he or she should be a core developer.

I know I used a lot of "squishy" words there that don't talk a lot about coding prowess. That's on purpose. I will happily take in a young coder who demonstrates a consistent passion for doing "The Right Thing (tm)" for the community over the opposite. The WiX toolset is a bunch of code but it's the community of people around the WiX toolset that makes it special.

I hope those of you who have been answering questions on wix-users for a while are nodding a bit right now.

Some of you might be wondering how we are on the 5th generation of core developers. There are a great many people that volunteered on the WiX toolset over the last 13+ years. Some of the core developers changed the face of the toolset. When I look back at those core developers, I can see a rough set generations in the WiX toolset's history:

0th Generation - Rob Mensching

1st Generation - Rob Mensching, Derek Cicerone, Reid Gustin, Scott "K" Kurtzeborn

2nd Generation - Rob Mensching, Derek Cicerone, Reid Gustin, Scott "K" Kurtzeborn, Robert Flaming, Justin Rockwood

3rd Generation - Rob Mensching, Bob Arnson, Peter Marcu

4th Generation - Rob Mensching, Bob Arnson, Peter Marcu, Mike Carlson, Fredrik Grohn, Eric St. John, Heath Stewart

As I mentioned above there were far more people involved than those I listed here.  There is also more overlap between the individuals than this list shows (for example, Bob and Peter both joined when Derek and Reid were active). However, as the single constant core developer, I've seen slightly different interactions between contributors from different generations. That is how I drew the lines.

So, as has happened before, the wave of core WiX toolset developers ebbed. In the WiX v3.7 history.txt you will see only two names: Rob Mensching and Bob Arnson. I saw this change coming during the summer last year and I prepared.

Since the WiX toolset's inception, the core developers were all employed by Microsoft. There is a long and interesting story about why this was that I will get around to telling one day. For now, trust me when I say the fact that all core developers were employed by Microsoft both allowed and stunted the growth of the WiX toolset. Near the end of 2012 a very important thing changed, the WiX toolset was assigned to the Outercurve Foundation.

The motivation for moving to the Outercurve Foundation was purely legal but (as I hoped) the benefits are proving far reaching. For example, we've already benefited from being able to sign our final WiX toolset builds. Now we also can grow the core developers contributing to the WiX toolset outside of Microsoft. This opportunity excites me so much. I hope some of you are excited as well.

If you've read this blog entry all the way to this point, you may be looking for the set of instructions how to get involved. The answer is simple join the [email protected] mailing list. The discussion about WiX toolset development is moving there. Consider this blog entry way too many words to say that, "The WiX toolset development discussion now takes place on wix-devs." <smile/>

In the meantime, keep coding. You know I am!

FireGiant provides dedicated support for the WiX toolset. Ever wish you could get your WiX questions answered immediately with the technical detail that you find in the blog posts here? You can with FireGiant!

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