Developing With Aikau - Another Perspective

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Developing With Aikau - Another Perspective

Intermediate II
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I’ve recently been moved out of the Aikau team in order to provide some assistance to a feature team that are using Aikau. This change in role has given me a very useful insight into the problems that developers have when using Aikau. When working on Aikau I only ever get to see a fragment of the overall implementation - I get very little context so I never know if the overall implementation is being done in a sensible way.

It’s important to remember that we never think of Aikau as being “done”. Our widgets are always open to further iteration to either add more capabilities, refactor them for better performance, improve the design and fix any bugs. We also don’t consider them to be an exhaustive set by any means - we know that more widgets will be needed.

What we don’t know is what bugs exist, what features could be added and what widgets are missing. We rely on our feature teams, customers, partners and community to tell us what is required.

When I started working on the feature I was given in the new team I almost immediately identified one bug and 3 features (1,2,3) that were required. This wasn’t a brand new requirement for my new feature team but these requirements hadn’t been identified.

Trying to act like a good community citizen I raised these as issues on JIRA and then being a model community citizen I created pull requests to fix the problem and add the features following the well defined acceptance criteria.

Of course it's much easier to do this when you have an awareness of what is available and how things are meant to work in a framework when you have been involved in the development of that framework. Having said that I really want to encourage you to just ask the question and start the dialog with us.

It should hopefully be clear from the closed issues that we’re more than happy to answer questions when they’re asked.

The flip side of the coin is to not start a dialog but to simply complain about something without trying to dig into the details like with this blog post published last week. Whilst I understand that something might not be immediately obvious when trying to use Aikau (we’re well aware that documentation could be improved, we just haven’t been allocated the resources to do enough about it) we will try and help you if we can - even if that help is simply explaining why something is the way it is.

We aren’t promising to implement all your feature requests (far from it in fact!) but we are committed to genuine bugs in our coding (meaning a defect in the intended behaviour of an individual widget or service).

We’re starting to see increased Community interaction - more issues raised, more traffic, more GitHub stars. What we’d really like to see is more pull requests - and if something is blocking you from making a pull request then we’d like to know what that impediment is so that we can remove it.

This is going to be especially important during my reassignment as it means that we might not be able to implement community requested features as we have in the past - but we will endeavour to try to stay on top of the bugs that you raise.

Thanks again for your ongoing support !

Active Member
Hi Dave,

The main reason we've written the blog post is that we're unable to communicate with the Aikau team with our needs.

After creating multiple JIRA tickets and github issues and everything is marked as 'Not a bug' and 'file a feature request' that means you're not being heard at all. Also responses like 'Everything is working as intended (for Alfresco)', 'I don't think that there is anything that we can or indeed want to change in core Aikau relating to this'. Doesn't make it easier for us.

Instead of closing the door, Aikau team should show the way. For example a suitable reply is:

If you change the Aikau core here and here, you'd probably get what you need and we'd able to add this to the latest version.

The import part is 'change the Aikau core here', we're not constantly following Aikau development so we aren't always up to date with the changes.

I don't think we have a personal issue with your team, it's just the current team has a different policy than the previous team involving Mike Hatfield. A good conference call might resolve this directly.

Best regards,

Intermediate II
I'm going to link the tickets that I think you're referring to that  you raised so that readers can judge for themselves, and I stand by my comments on them:




In these cases you are raising JIRA issues against Alfresco Share NOT Aikau. In none of the cases have you provided any evidence of an Aikau widget that is not functioning as it is supposed to.

Instead you are reporting 'bugs' that state that an implementation using Aikau has not been done in a way that you would like. These aren't bugs.

Also, in these cases there is nothing that we could change in the Aikau code that Share would be able to take advantage of immediately - you would at best need to wait to see if your request to change the search page would be implemented (which it probably wouldn't) and you'd have to wait for the next Alfresco Community release anyway.

Share is not Aikau.

However, if you look at these other tickets you raised:



You'll see that I tried my best to help you out and pointed you at features of Aikau that you didn't know existed.

If you find a bug with an Aikau widget then we are very happy to fix it. So far you haven't raised a single issue in JIRA that has identified a genuine bug.

If there are improvements to widgets that you'd like to make or new widgets that you'd like to add then these can be submitted via pull request to GitHub and then you will be able to take advantage of them in your Share customizations.  However, we aren't going to chance the implementation of a Share page to satisfy a specific customization - especially when the tools exist for you to reimplement that page as you wish using a combination of existing and custom widgets as you see fit.
Active Member
I don't want to drag too long on this discussion, but if a customization previously was working and it isn't working in a new version (based on Aikau) then that's definitely an issue.

I don't want to get stuck on the term 'bug', but since Alfresco Share is platform rather than a product and you use it 'as is' it's an issue.
Intermediate II
So what you're suggesting is that Alfresco can never replace a page in a major release of Share? From 4.2 to 5.0 the search page completely changed implementation and capability and you're saying that we should have supported all existing customizations (of which we know nothing about)?

I think it's pretty clear what a bug is... and I think if you look at the *genuine* bugs that have been raised for Aikau on both JIRA and GitHub you'll find that they've all been fixed.
Active Member
[…] my last blog post I talked about the perspective I’d gained by working in another team at Alfresco that has been […]