From Lydia Tang and Maggie Hughes, co-leaders of the Development Prioritization sub-team

Last summer, the Development Prioritization sub-team implemented a new workflow in ArchivesSpace’s development cycle with the goal of making it easier for community developers to contribute to the application’s code. We’ll get into the details of this change, but first some background on the Development Prioritization sub-team.

The Development Prioritization sub-team (“Dev. Pri.”) consists of representatives from both the Technical and User Advisory Councils. We meet on a monthly basis and review the hundreds of bug reports and feature requests submitted by the user community into  ArchivesSpace’s ticketing system, Jira. Newly created tickets are automatically assigned to the Awaiting Prioritization queue, until Dev. Pri. reviews them. We verify whether the issues are still relevant, gather additional information, confirm or reevaluate the priority rankings, and then route the tickets to one of the following queues:

  • Awaiting More Information if the ticket needs more specification and isn’t ready for a developer quite yet.
  • Closed-Will Not Do if the ticket should be closed (such as if the ticket is a duplicate, or the request is too institution-specific).
  • Ready for Implementation if the ticket should be passed to a developer for inclusion in the core code.

Infographic showing the development prioritization review process 


Dev. Pri. is always looking for ways to increase our capacity for fielding tickets and other ways of working more efficiently. We noticed that the number of tickets in the Ready for Implementation queue seemed unwieldy. There were just too many tickets to manage.

This diagram shows the number of tickets created versus the number of tickets resolved and closed.
This diagram shows the number of tickets created versus the number of tickets resolved and closed.

Our revised Development Prioritization workflow

The Technical Advisory Council (TAC) had been having ongoing conversations during their meetings about how to encourage an “an active community of developers” (a component of TAC’s charge from the ArchivesSpace Governance bylaws).

To accomplish TAC’s goal and alleviate the backlog of tickets ready for developers, in collaboration with ArchivesSpace Program Manager Christine Di Bella, we developed a Ready for Community Developer queue! This status is for smaller and more straightforward changes to the application – perfect projects for community developer participation.

Infographic highlighting the ready for community developer queue in the development prioritization workflow


Implementing the Ready for Community Developer queue

Dev. Pri. took last summer to review tickets that were in the Ready for Implementation queue and re-routed any tickets that were appropriate to the new Ready for Community Developer status. Dev. Pri. continues to route tickets into this queue as we evaluate new tickets.

Check out the tickets in the Ready for Community Developer kanban board.

Image of the ready for community developer kanban board

How YOU can get involved as a community developer

1. Create a Jira account

In order to create, comment on, or be assigned tickets, you will need to create a Jira account. Anyone can create an account for themselves.Image depicting where to create or login to your Jira account

Click on the little door with an arrow on the bottom left of Jira to create your new account. 

2. Volunteer to work on a ticket with the Ready for Community Developer designation

Anyone is welcome to submit a pull request to improve ArchivesSpace, but it’s best to have a short orientation about the development processes first. Contact Christine Di Bella to go over general expectations and mechanics of developing for ArchivesSpace.

After the brief orientation, you will be added to the developers group and you can grab a ticket whenever you want. (Note: It’s important that you assign yourself a ticket before you start working on it so that people don’t duplicate effort by accidentally working on the same tickets.)

Development for ArchivesSpace is conducted in sprints, during which new features are implemented, bugs are fixed, and general code maintenance, such as updating part of the application stack, are completed. If you have experience with ArchivesSpace and are willing to take on work considered a priority by the community, you are welcome to join an ArchivesSpace scrum call and commit to take on open issues raised in sprint planning.

The ArchivesSpace source code is available on Github. There’s more information about submitting a pull request on the ArchivesSpace wiki. All code contributions should include unit tests and follow the best practices and standards as outlined in the Contributors’ Guidelines.

If you or your institution would like to make a larger code contribution, such as developing a new feature for the core code, please review the evaluation process and contact Christine Di Bella to begin the process.

We hope this new Ready for Community Queue will make it easier for members of the community to get involved in helping to build ArchivesSpace for everyone. Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions for further improvement!

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