JobControl is six years old
I absolutely love open source software. I use all kinds of third party libraries for iOS for example (installed via the open source CocoaPods project of course), which makes my life as a developer a whole lot easier. And in return I open source some of my work and share it with the community. I’m currently maintaining and/or contributing to more than ten open source projects.
My very first open source project is having a birthday this month: in April 2007 I started JobControl while working for a web development company in The Netherlands. It’s an extension, written in PHP, for the TYPO3 content management system, and it’s used for showing job openings on a website. We used it a lot in our own projects for our clients and I asked the CEO of the company if I could open source the code so the community could use it and make it better in the process. He said yes, and JobControl became the company’s (and mine) first ever open source project after I wrote extensive documentation for the project.
Open sourcing the code turned out to be a great idea: people submitted translations (the extension was soon available in English, Dutch, German, Danish, Polish and Russian), bug fixes and even completely new features. Many developers used JobControl is their TYPO3 site as well, seeing the number of downloads rise every day was very exiting.
I maintained the extension until June 2009, when I quit the company. In those two years and three months I released 49 updates, kept the documentation up to date and handled developer support. After I left, the company released two more updates in 2010, and that was it.
Meanwhile, I was still getting support requests about JobControl, but I simply referred them to my old employer. It wasn’t my personal extension after all, in fact I didn’t even use PHP or TYPO3 any more since I left the company in June 2009. After some time it became clear that the company abandoned JobControl: nobody received help, new versions of TYPO3 weren’t supported, bugs didn’t get fixed, and I decided to adopt JobControl.
In August of 2012 I got a hold of the code, put it on GitHub and started on the first update in over two years. Transferring ownership of the extension in TYPO3’s extension repository was a bit harder, but in the end I released the update that fixed compatibility with all recent versions of TYPO3. JobControl was now officially back from the dead! Since then I released twelve more updates, fixing bugs, adding new features and updating the documentation.
As I still don’t use PHP or TYPO3 myself, maintaining JobControl is purely a hobby and most new features will need to come from the community. I’ll keep it bug free, but can’t give free support for example. This has made JobControl, my first ever open source project, also the first one where I earn some money doing paid support and development. If you want my help or want me to create a new feature - very cool, but you’ll need to compensate me for my free time.
The idea of paying for open source development is probably a bit weird for many people, but it seems most businesses are fine with this and it keeps it interesting for me, keeping the extension alive and kicking. Here’s to the next six years!