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Data for Coffee Roasters

Getting Involved

Written January 3, 2013, last edited April 18, 2013

Typica has reached a point for me where I consider the software to be mature. I use it every day, the features work, and there is very little that annoys me about it. It is flexible enough to work with a wide variety of hardware setups and it is being used by many roasting firms throughout the world. That said, work on this project is far from complete.

When I released this program as an open source application I didn't expect that people would start contributing code, and indeed as of this writing nobody has. Instead, I wanted to find out how others were interested in using a program like this and use the conversations that were started because of this to help provide some direction on ways that I can get a better tool for myself. By that standard, releasing the software has been a great success and if there were space I would like to thank everybody who has written to me with bug reports, feature requests, and even the people who just had a hard time figuring out how to use the software at first, these discussions have been immensely useful.

That said, feature requests at this point are unlikely to be useful. There are a lot of feature requests in the issue tracker right now. If I had to estimate how long it would take to go through all of them, I would likely be looking at about 8 man-years of work, tens of thousands of dollars in equipment expenses, and starting several small research projects. That is a lot of work for one person to do part time. If you have a feature request, by all means send it in, but unless this is something that is simple to implement, obviously useful, and not already suggested, it's unlikely to get done any time soon. Feature requests that come with an implementation are far more likely to see release. I am more likely to spend time taking an implemented feature and getting that merged for general release than I am to stop working on the existing roadmap and switch to implementing a newly requested feature from scratch and you gain the benefit of having the feature without waiting for me to get around to it. The latest source code for Typica can always be found on GitHub and this is the best way for those interested in grabbing the source and hacking on a new feature to work.

While code contributions would be nice, most of the companies that might be interested in using Typica do not have any programmers on staff to write such code. It is still possible for these businesses to support further development financially. My development budget for Typica is approximately $0. The time that I'm able to devote to it comes from the efficiency gains the software enabled, but with the software reaching a level of maturity where it meets my needs, it makes sense for me to spend more of my time working on extending our data systems into other work flows where similar improvements are available. Money would help with paying for hosting this web site, with obtaining the hardware required for improving testing and developing certain features, and with providing incentive for me to spend more time working on the project. With enough sustained funding I could even hire someone to work on the project. There are currently two ways that financial support can be provided. One time or infrequent contributions are best handled by mailing a check in whatever amount you'd like payable to Neal Wilson in US dollars to:

Neal Wilson
c/o Wilson's Coffee & Tea
3306 Washington Ave.
Racine, WI 53405

If you donate in this way I will add your name or the name of your company (or not at your preference) to the thanks section in the About Typica window in the next release. The other way is to use Gittip to provide a small, anonymous, recurring contribution. If you think Typica is worth $1 per week, this is the way to go. It's also likely the easiest way for people using Typica internationally to help support the ongoing development of the program and encourage me to release future projects that further improve data systems in coffee roasting operations. My gittip page also indicates the aggregate funding receieved through that site so you can get a sense of what my development budget is.