Goals for our first alpha release

I just got back from Libre Graphics Meeting 2011 where, among other things, I spoke on a panel about free network services. One thing made clear during the conference this year is that interest in GNU MediaGoblin is clearly high!

We should couple this excitement with realistic expectations. We’ve mentioned that we’re planning on having a public alpha in September / October of 2011. But what can users expect in that alpha release?

To start out with, here’s what we have at the time of writing:

  • Rather good infrastructure
    • MongoDB basic integration
    • A hopefully-extensible storage interface (though we only have basic files supported yet)
    • a good custom "unframework" that matches our needs very well, very Django-like
  • You can register
  • You can submit an image and that works, but barely, and it’s boring
  • User galleries
  • Individual media pages
  • Good docs
  • Some project public facing & communication stuff like docs, website, bugtracker

Not bad for a project that merely announced itself publicly two weeks ago! But there’s plenty left to do.

Here are goals for the September / October public alpha:

  • Be able to upload and display images (just images for the alpha, and this mostly already works)
  • Have a really slick theme (Jef van Schendel is making this look very likely!)
  • RSS / Atom feeds you can subscribe to
  • Translation infrastructure (in progress!)
  • Commenting (threaded??)
  • Database migration tools
  • Creative Commons licensing ability
  • Decent homepage including "featured" photos/artwork
  • A way to check conversions: ones that are in progress, ones that fail, etc (currently images convert fast so not a huge deal, but no way to check on things that might take longer like video
  • Password recovery
  • RDFa markup
  • Some way of culling spammers? An audio/visual CAPTCHA? :(
  • A hosted example on mediagobl.in (with heavy warnings that things are likely to simply break, don’t use this for your permanent stuff yet)

Things I would love to see happen but doubt we’ll get done by then, but useful to think of as near-future things:

  • A watch-list of other users you want to follow (think a StatusNet timeline, but for media)
  • starting work on OStatus integration (presumably simply PubSubHubbub support to start with)
  • Slicker, in-place AJAXy uploading
  • An API
  • Multiple media types, especially video

If you haven’t seen Jef van Schendel’s mockups for http://mediagoblin.org/ you really ought to see them now. These aren’t permanent designs, but I think they show that we’re already well on our way toward looking awesome. (I’d note that I’ve also made some ASCII art mockups of the frontpage and an individual view but it’s possible that only a limited portion of our audience would appreciate this.)

I’m fairly optimistic about us meeting our goals, but that is largely dependent on how many people step up and contribute. If you’re interested in helping with the project, we could really use your help There’s plenty to do… graphic design, code, and so much more… even just spreading the word can help! But please, seriously, do join us and help make the dream of GNU MediaGoblin a reality!