Structuring Large-Scale SproutCore Project Teams

written by Peter Bergstrom

Writing large desktop-like applications in SproutCore comes with a unique set of challenges that you wouldn’t encounter writing a smaller application. A smaller project with one or two contributors is a lot more flexible and requires less planning; a large project with many contributors and moving parts is a completely different beast.

I’ve worked on many SproutCore applications, both large and small, since 2007 and I’ve seen where a project can get into trouble when it grows larger both in scope and in team size. The goal of this post is to share some of my personal experience developing a large SproutCore application.

The Bliss of Smaller Projects

The benefits of smaller projects with one or two developers are relatively obvious. A small team makes it easy to stay on task for the limited scope of the project. Everyone knows what is going on because communication is easy and each developer has the opportunity to wear every hat in the project. Also, the developers working on the project know the code well throughout, mainly because two developers can transfer knowledge and be most effective if they are pair programming.

The Challenge: a Large Application

If you are given the task of creating a larger SproutCore application, such as a calendaring client, one or two developers cannot possibly deliver the application in the required time frame. In some cases, more than 100,000 lines of code may be required, much more than a small group of developers can manage.

In this case, the team must grow to a size where you can meet your timelines while not adding so many people that the project slows down. Since there is so much to do, you need to split up responsibilities; instead of having developers wear all the hats in the project, developers wear one or two hats, and act as the person the rest of the team can trust to deliver their specialized part of the code or functionality.

This is true of working in any large team; the goal of this post is to highlight the particular roles that need to be filled when creating a SproutCore project in particular.
Continue reading