Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2014


Project development & community metrics for fun and profit

How and why to use *Grimoire for analyzing projects

Free / open source software projects are producing, as a byproduct of their usual activity, a great deal of data about how they develop software, and about how their community coordinates. Development and community metrics can be derived from this information, which can be later visualized in project development dashboards. The talk will show how tools in the *Grimoire toolset can be easily used to build those dashboards, from data retrieval up to analysis and visualization. As examples, dashboards for real projects, such as OpenStack, Puppet and MediaWiki, will be used to show how to interpret the data, and get insight about their development processes and their community. Examples of specific areas in which metrics are useful to track important parameters of the project will also be explored in detail, such as code review performance, time to close tickets, or the structure of the community.

FLOSS (free, libre, open source software) projects are usually developed in the open. A lot of information about their inner life is available in their development repositories: source code management (aka version control), issue tracking (aka bug reporting) systems, mailing lists, IRC channel logs, etc. This information can be organized and analyzed, and be used to gain understanding about how the project is performing, about the processes their developers are using, and in general about how it is evolving.

The kind of quantitative analytics that can be obtained from these repositories allow also for a direct tracking of several parameters that can characterize specific aspects of software development. The impact of changes in project policies or uses can therefore be evaluated quantitatively, and be observed and tracked.

Fortunately, having these analysis done for a given FLOSS project is becoming an easy task. Some web-based services, such as Ohloh, are already producing some of them, and some platforms, such as GitHub and Jira, also allow for tracking some parameters. In this talk we will present Grimoire, a FLOSS platform allowing anyone to do their own metrics dashboard, from data retrieval from repositories to analysis and visualization of the parameters of interest. Grimoire is composed of two main components: MetricsGrimoire, a set of Python tools supporting most common development and community repositories, and vizGrimoire, which provides an R package and a JavaScript library for analyzing and visualizing the data.

As a part of the talk, the whole process of how to analyze repositories using *Grimoire will be briefly described. As case examples, some well known projects, such as OpenStack, Puppet or MediaWiki, will be explored based on the information from their dashboards, which are already being used by their communities. In addition, specific areas in which metrics are useful to track important parameters of the project will also be explored.

More information about MetricsGrimoire

More information about vizGrimoire

Some of the dashboards that will be presented in the talk are:


Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona