Where can I propose an open source project and collaborate on software requirements before starting to code?


I'm searching for a website to start a new open source project--I want to start the developing of a "Sport Training Log".

I have some software development skills, but not everything I need (I don't know web coding).

Does anyone know a good starting point to meet some people, propose the software and then start the development all together?

For example, I have Python, C, and C++ skills, and a little training experience, but I want to make a web-based application, so I can't do all the stuff alone. I don't think I'm the only one who wants to make a sports training log, but I don't have necessary skills to do everything myself. I'm searching for a site that would manage the idea and get interested people to contribute to the idea and then, eventually, contribute also to developing the code.

What I mean is a step before the FOSS approach.

Even before we start writing the code, I'd like to collaborate on the software requirements for this project, and, after a useful and global review, we can all start together developing it? Why should I start developing the software with features X, Y, and Z, while other people who need features Y, Z, and Q start a separate project?

Why not put the open source community a step ahead. If you can open source the code development, why shouldn't you also take the more professional approach of open-sourcing the software requirements process?

Open Source Project

asked Dec 20 '10 at 21:24
111 points

5 Answers


SourceForge and GitHub are two websites where people get together to work on open source projects. They both have the most important features you need to collaborate both on design and on code.

Before you start writing code, you can collaborate on design using freely available tools like:

  • Wikis - for collaboratively editing requirements documentation and specifications
  • IRC and other chat software - for holding online discussions
  • Skype - for online voice and video discussions, including screen sharing

That said, the fundamental problem here is that the requirements and design phase of a project is hard to open source. Designing new things is best done by a team of people working together in one place. That's why so many open source projects are functional clones of something that already exists: the design is already done, the spec might just be "clone Microsoft Word" or "clone Unix", which is very easy to collaborate on. Collaborating on design is much trickier.

My recommendation would be to get three or four designers together in one physical location for a week or so to hammer out the design (and get to know one another) before you go home and start working on the code independently.

answered Feb 6 '11 at 13:28
Joel Spolsky
13,482 points


I suggest you use http://kickstarter.com or a similar website to make a proposal and gather some funding. This will enable you to more easily manage your project and set achievable goals, even hiring programmers if you need to.

In second place, you should start the project and host it somewhere public (let's say github) and try to spread it via twitter, freenode IRC network and that kind of medium.

Finally, if your project's suitable, you might want to try approaching relevant bloggers on the field to get some publicity. This will serve a double purpose since if they think you're going nowhere that might be meaningful. So, use this as a interest meter also - but keep in mind it could be just due to an early stage of the project.

answered Jan 7 '11 at 10:21
704 points


I think ESR wrote an essay like 10+ years ago talking about how to run an open-source project. I can't find the link, but I remember that it was a good article.

You can pay people money to work on open-source software. A lot of freelance programmers (like me) might discount their rate if they like the idea.

But if you want other people to work on your idea without money, you need to get them excited about your idea and then give them easy ways to contribute.

Make a blog and write articles about why your app will be awesome. Make some screenshots of the app and upload them to your blog.

Start a github repository and upload all the screenshots there. Ask people to upload different screenshots for the same features.

Create issues in that github repository for all the different features of your app.

answered Dec 20 '10 at 23:23
W. Matthew Wilson
104 points
  • who/what is ESR??? i dont want ppl working on my own idea, i want ppl contribute to a common idea "training log software" and start all together developing it! after my ideas and other ideas all are explained. – Boos 13 years ago
  • @boos: I think he means Eric Raymond. His book, The Catedral and the Bazaar describes the Open Source community and the motivations that drives a person to participate in one open source project. It is a very interesting lecture, but to get you up to speed, here is the conclusion: Just Start; There are people who naturally participate in the open source project they use. If your project is interesting, they will find you. You just focus on you. – Nerian 13 years ago


If I may suggest...I would try visiting TechCofounder.com. TechCofounder is "an online directory of passionate developers interested in launching a new startup". It is a way to find people to augment your current skill set. As an example, if you are a business person with a great software idea, but no idea how to implement it, you can share your idea with talented software people. I've tried it out, and I've had a lot of success on it.

answered Feb 6 '11 at 16:13
333 points


This question might be more suitable on programmers.stackexchange.com.

In short, it's best to just start and try to learn what you need as you go. Once you've built something useful or promising you may be able to entice other people to get involved (websites such as Sourceforge have "Help Wanted" sections).

Programmers generally don't like working for free on other people's projects. If they wanted to build the same thing as you, they probably would have started on it already.

answered Dec 20 '10 at 21:49
Dan Dyer
657 points
  • OK, i ask it on programmers, pls read the question again i made an update about the idea behind the question . – Boos 13 years ago
  • @boos Are you planning to make a business out of this idea? If not, you probably won't find much advice here. I understand why you want to get other people involved, I just think you may struggle to find people who want to work for nothing on somebody else's project unless you already have something to show. People who are motivated to create open source software follow their own whims. – Dan Dyer 13 years ago
  • Why not ? ppl can be interested in start a project from scratch in a collaborativ environment because for example want a training log with some requirements and dont want to make it alone, and dont want wast time projecting is own little training log alone with feature XYZ and otherwise in a collaborative way project with some people features with option XYZUAWQNC with more ppl and more features involved, so a better one peace of software! – Boos 13 years ago
  • @boos Maybe you'll attract people before you start, but most successful open source projects start with somebody building *something*, even if it's not a complete solution, then other people get inspired to contribute to that. People will be more amenable to helping when they see that you are capable of delivering and have done some of the hard work already. I've seen lots of people attempt to build an open source team up front before starting the project, but I don't recall any that have been successful. Sometimes it's easier to get started with one person and a vision and then add to that. – Dan Dyer 13 years ago

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