Update 2012/07/19 – the GitHub organization created for the ATK Framework, ATK Demo and Achievo repositories is the ATK PHP Framework – https://www.github.com/atkphpframework (the code will be there soon!).
The ATK Framework is an open-source object-oriented full-stack PHP web application framework that enables rapid development of business-oriented web applications, such as HRM, CRM, data management and CMS. iBuildings created the ATK Framework in ~2000 and have closely managed its development project and project infrastructure, including a public web site, forum, wiki, bug tracker and code repository (although only iBuildings has commit access to the repository). iBuildings also controls the development projects of two closely related applications:
- ATK Demo – a tutorial application demonstrating basic ATK Framework concepts, and
- Achievo – a fully-featured and extensible resource management application based on ATK (iBuildings had used Achievo internally for managing development projects) .
I became involved in 2004 when I implemented Achievo 1.0RC1 as part of an engineering portfolio project management initiative for a high-tech product development team. Support from iBuildings was excellent, with senior developers responding to my forum posts and the lead developer even logging into my server at one point to help debug an issue related to hosting on Windows. More recently, I have selected Achievo (and the ATK Framework) for prototyping an open-source business support system for the fictional Swift Construction Company.
Over the past few years though, iBuildings’ involvement in the ATK Framework and Achievo projects has seemed to be declining, while community involvement has been growing. After a number of recent pleas from the community for iBuildings to make their intentions public, Tom Schenkenberg (iBuildings co-founder) confirmed our suspicions, but also graciously committed support for moving the ATK Framework, ATK Demo, and Achievo projects to community governance.
“… we took the business decision to no longer participate in active development and stop using this framework for our commercial application development work.”
“I’d like to offer anything and everything belonging to ATK/Achievo to you guys, the true maintainers of these projects. I’m happy to hand over the servers/domains/applications/websites/repositories/etc. to the community. Please help me to get ATK/Achievo in the right hands and in the right place.”
So how does a loose collection of independent developers scattered across the globe turn themselves into an efficient project team? Tom may have offered up the reins, but it’s up to us to decide where we’re going.
Since Tom’s announcement, an informal leadership team has been formed from community members, a GitHub organization has been created for the project code repositories, and documentation is starting to be written on the GitHub ATK project wiki. Once it has been decided how to best migrate the iBuildings svn repos to GitHub, the real fun will begin!
Adding to the excitement is a recent announcement from Ivo Jansch (former iBuildings CTO and now Eugeniq founder) that he was creating a “second incarnation of ATK” called Adapto, to be released under the business-friendly BSD license. Ivo originally conceived ATK, was its lead developer and power user within iBuildings, and is a copyright holder for much of its source. Here’s how Ivo describes Adapto.
Adapto will not be “focusing on anything that is already provided by common frameworks. So I would like to leave caching, view rendering, database connectivity etc. to an existing framework (Zend Framework) and have Adapto … just contain the code that makes it great. I also have ideas to extend the UI beyond just websites (think mobile/tablet apps).
… Another point is that the codebase is quite complex and one reason for that is the 12 years of legacy. By starting fresh and not worrying so much initially about backwards compatibility, we can leave some of that baggage behind.
So while the ATK Framework has a new team who will be focusing on maintenance and feature updates to ATK and Achievo (and documentation), Adapto will be under development as a future solution for concepts proven by ATK. However, simply from its existence, Adapto also adds to the complexity of the ATK ecosystem. Not only will developers be considering the future of ATK and Achievo, they will also be considering the future of Adapto on ATK.
To provide some possible clarity into the situation, I’d like to offer this roadmap proposal for consideration (and hopefully some spirited debate). Comments are encouraged (but be warned, I will be re-posting relevant comments made here to the ATK forum and/or Adapto mail list).
Watch out for more news, it’s going to be a fun year!