ExpressionEngine Reactor, For Developers by Developers


It’s our pleasure to formally introduce the ExpressionEngine Reactor team to the Community. In a nutshell, the EE Reactor team is a group of devs who can contribute directly to ExpressionEngine using a system modeled off Open Source contributions. For EllisLab, it is modeled from the CodeIgniter Reactor team. We’ll go into more detail about what EE Reactor is but first let’s meet the team.

Greg Ferrell,
Leevi Graham, Newism & EE-Garage
Brian Litzinger, BoldMinded & The Nerdery
Jack McDade,
Erik Reagan, Focus Lab, LLC
Rob Sanchez, MightyBigRobot & CartThrob

EE Reactor got its start from a tweet by longtime Communty member @stinhambo:

@EllisLab I’ll call for an #eecms Reactor group again… There are plenty of devs hungry to contribute to the core.

I was skeptical that people would want to contribute to a commercial product in a similar fashion to an open source project, but after encouragement from the #eecms Community (@mediagirl in particular) I put out a feeler on Twitter and immediately received responses from developers wanting to participate. Professionally speaking, it is hard for me to remember a time I was more thankful about being wrong.

I took the idea to the EE dev team, we hashed out a plan, and started interviewing people to be the first team to try this grand experiment.

I discovered that people contribute to projects for three basic reasons. First, because they love the project. Second, because they benefit directly by such contributions. And thirdly, because they geniunely want to help others succeed.

All six members of EE Reactor have a long history of doing incredible work in our community, making a living from their work, and helping others succeed. We’re humbled that they want to do this directly for ExpressionEngine.

In this way, EE Reactor is no different than any open source project. People contribute to Open Source because they love it, it helps make them successful, and they want others to succeed. The primary difference is that the owners of open source projects make their living from services (more or less) and EllisLab makes its living from product sales.

Is that one difference a deal killer for this type of contribution? That’s what the EE Reactor experiment is going to find out. We’re going to keep the team at six members until we have a release or two out there and can evaluate whether it is working or not. If it works, we’ll look at how we can responsibly expand the program to the list of developers interested in contributing.

Though the EE Reactor team can contribute to any area of EE, we’ve all agreed that we’re going to start with Reactor focusing on code that makes life better for the the EE dev community. “For Developers by Developers” describes the initial approach perfectly. This is an area that the EE Reactor team knows intimately and there is a clear path they can dig into that fits perfectly with EllisLab’s dev team’s plans for EE.

As of the time of publication, the EE Reactor Team has nine confirmed contributions scheduled for release in EE 2.4 (late January). If you want an inside look at some of those contributions along with other items slated for EE 2.4, subscribe to the EllisLab Newsletter for a first look in the December issue.

Steven, I owe you a beer & thanks to you and everyone helped get this project going. As always, we’re here to serve you and make your professional lives better.

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