Interaction with our community is essential for Checkmk. We can only make Checkmk better as a monitoring solution with your feedback. The central interface between us and you is our community manager Faye Tandog. She is very focused on further expanding and improving how we collaborate in different ways. At the Checkmk Conference #6 Faye gave a great talk about what we have experimented in the past few months, and what we have in mind for you in the future.
Thanks to Faye we were able to significantly strengthen our efforts in the community. Last year we started moved the public Checkmk git repository to Github. Within Github, we also set up Travis CI for immediate feedback on your contribution and added contribution guidelines to ensure we're transparent to you.
Faye gave a great lecture about what we have initiated in the past few months, and what we have in mind for you in the future.
In the future we want to align Checkmk’s product roadmap even more closely to the needs of the community, and at the same time provide community members with the tools to participate more closely in the project. With this, daily product development discussions – like those in our Werks – should serve as a possible basis for further interactions. This means that we would like to discuss product updates in a forum to enable two-way communication. In this way we want to increase transparency, and orient our product development even more towards the needs of our users.
To have more active the discussions with you, last year we migrated our mailing list to our new Checkmk forum. There at any time you can ask questions to other Checkmk users, exchange information about monitoring with Checkmk, and provide tips and suggestions. In the almost six months since the forum was launched, there were over 900 registrations. During this time over 1,300 topics and 5,800 posts were created. That’s great, please keep it up!
Another point of our community strategy is to make it easier for you to share your own code for Checkmk. We have revised the Checkmk Exchange. The new design should make it easier for you to find plug-ins for your monitoring environment and to upload your own plug-ins.
We also want to further expand our presence at events – be it in the form of meetups, or participation in community and industry conferences in order to seek more personal contact with you.
In her talk, Faye not only went into the things we have done in the recent past, but also explained our future plans for the community. Here we would like to introduce four different contribution types to you. Every Checkmk user should have the opportunity – depending on his skills and interests – to actively participate in the development of Checkmk.
In principle all active users in our forum are support contributors. They generally have a lot of experience in dealing with Checkmk, and they support, for example, beginners with their first steps with Checkmk, or users who have a problem with monitoring with Checkmk. According to Faye, they are keen not only to find answers to problems, but to develop solutions for them. Our goal is to offer these support contributors more recognition for their achievements and their helpfulness around Checkmk, for example through special badges in the forum.
There are a variety of options to contribute to Checkmk which are not related to classical "code contributions, e.g. giving feedback, reporting bugs, translating the product. For example, we also want to address users who are interested in making Checkmk available in their own language. For the translation of Checkmk we are currently working on an appropriate tool and an associated workflow. With our new website, we also want to improve contributing to the Checkmk documentation.
Many of our users have programming experience and are able to create their own extensions for Checkmk. With the revision of our Exchange page and improving how we handle contributions on GitHub we want to make it easier for you to contribute code. At the same time, we hope to work better with various contributors. Another point we are working on are the development guides for the development of plug-ins, which should then be based on the new Check API. Here, too, we are very interested in expanding our work with you.
By this we mean users who create content related to Checkmk – such as blogs, reviews and videos, etc. We also have a lot planned for this group. For example, we want to use the forum to establish local Checkmk communities around the world. Users who create technical content via Checkmk should also receive the information they need from us in the future.
With these four contributor roles we have the firm intention of strongly-promoting the potential that we see in you, our community. We would therefore like to invite you to discuss this in our forum. Only with your help and feedback can we make Checkmk even better.
In the past few years, during the Checkmk Conference it has always proven useful for us to ask you for your opinion of the current plans concerning Checkmk. This year, our founder Mathias Kettner presented you with some tech previews in his lecture on the new user experience (UX) in Checkmk 1.7. We were very pleased that you again diligently shared your opinions, suggestions and wishes with us at the Checkmk Conference #6. In our next blog post, we’ll take a look at the ideas around the new UX.