Project Kenai: Open for Business

Posted by Nick Sieger Sun, 19 Oct 2008 18:30:52 GMT

Project Kenai

Project Kenai has been open for business for over a month, and I’m just writing about it now?

Project Kenai

Blogging is hard. Let’s go shopping, m’kay?

on flickr

There’s no excuse for not writing until now about the JRuby on Rails project that’s kept me busy at work since I joined Sun almost 18 months ago. (Ok, there are a few lame ones. Twitter. Conference travel. Presidential political news distractions. Also, Tim’s write-up filled in my side of the story immediately after the launch.)

So, better late than never. Actually, by looking back on the first month of operation I think that I can give you a better idea of where we’re going, supported by what we’ve done (as well as what we haven’t done), rather than what I might have said we’re going to do.

Word of Mouth

One thing we haven’t done is put the heavy Sun marketing blitzkrieg operation to work on our behalf. Word has made its way around the blogs, and even onto a few tech news sites, but we’re still in a growth phase for the project, and we’d rather earn respect quietly through a site that people find useful instead of shouting the word from the mountain tops.

We have established that we intend to embrace change, having deployed three additional releases since launch. During that time, we’ve added a new feature, fixed bugs and UI inconsistencies, and worked on performance and infrastructure issues.


We’ve also seen community participation grow. We’ve had over 2100 people join, 79 projects have been created, and we’re starting to see real activity in those projects. These are modest but respectable numbers.

JRuby on Rails

As you’ve heard, runs on JRuby and Glassfish and uses bits of software I’ve worked on like activerecord-jdbc, Warbler and JRuby-Rack. Having worked on JRuby itself and Rails support for JRuby for a couple years now, this is a personal validation of all that work. One of the things I’ve relished the most working on Project Kenai for the past year is to be able to build infrastructure software for and based upon real-world use. The JRuby story continues to get stronger every day, with things like thread-safety in the upcoming Rails 2.2 release adding fuel to the fire.

(Not Yet) More Than Just a Forge

One of the things that might have caught your eye when you came to the site is the slogan More Than Just a Forge. That’s silly, you might say to yourself. What do they have here that I can’t get at another project hosting site? And if you said that, I’d heartily agree with you – the marketers are just getting a little antsy.

However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have plans. For now, we’re taking the Gmail Launch strategy, starting with a simple, solid foundation, and gradually inviting more and more to participate, stabilizing and growing the platform, and soliciting feedback from our user base. We do already have a healthy amount of requests on our UserVoice page, and while we hope to make good on a number of those, we also plan to do some new things that aren’t being done elsewhere. Stay tuned, and I hope to be able to reveal some more in the coming months as we start to roll out the implementation of those plans.

In the meantime, if you’d like an invite to create a project, drop me an email. If you have comments or requests, you can share them with me privately via email, on the site in the forums, or on our UserVoice page.

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