It's been a little over a month since I pinged Kohsuke about an "official Hudson blog"; my role has been nothing more than writer and editor of a community resource, while I have invested a lot of time in Continuous Blog it is not "mine" so much as it is "ours." I feel I have a responsibility as the current maintainer of this resource to be as open as possible about what's going on with CB. When I sat down to write the inaugural post, Welcome to Continuous Blog, I set forth a few goals:
- Help advocate the use of Hudson to the larger internet community
- Be a central source for tutorials and helpful information to Hudson users of all skill-levels
- Recognize the numerous contributors to the Hudson project for their efforts
Being a community resource, I wanted to review our progress on those goals along with some other interesting details about Continuous Blog and my community efforts. My metrics for achieving these goals are largely based on web traffic to this blog and retweets via the @hudsonci twitter account. First a minor overview of some of Continuous Blog's traffic, then I'll get to reviewing the goals.
Visitor trend via Google Analytics
Over the past month Continuous Blog has seen just under 10,000 visits from a number of different sources, the top sources being:
- Feedburner links posted to @hudsonci
- Direct visits
- Referrals from the "blog" link on hudson-ci.org
- Links from the Java.net community portal and associated weblogs
In addition to general web traffic, Continuous Blog has around 350 RSS subscribers.
To put these numbers into perspective, Hudson has seen commits from 173 different developers and the @hudsonci twitter account has about 1,100 followers.
### Hudson Advocacy Looking at the traffic sources and the volume of traffic coming from what I would consider "the wider internet community" I'd say I failed to meet my own expectations. The majority of traffic seems to be coming from "within the community", which is certainly not a bad thing by a stretch, but I was hoping to start to see more visitors who are less likely to be using Hudson already. There are signs of this (I think) in the low number of search referrals, roughly 370 visits. To me this indicates the early age of this site, small number of external links to Continuous Blog and the content isn't "interesting" enough to come up in searches for terms like "continuous integration with python".
The vector for improvement in advocacy, in my opinion, is to focus more on tutorials and user guides in the next month. Mike Rooney's post on Keeping your configuration and data in Subversion was both discussion provoking, but one of the more visited pages over the past month. I'll be reaching out to more power-users from differing backgrounds to try to get some more tutorials on using Hudson for Python, Ruby, and Cocoa development while continuing to bug some of you Maven2 pros about guides.
Central information repository
I feel I failed to meet my own expectations here as well, it has only been a month (feels like an eternity!) so the amount of information we've been able to aggregate is small, but growing.
I have likely spent too much time covering Hudson community news, which I feel is important, to put a human voice in front of commits and releases, but it is not what I originally intended to spend the majority of my time doing.
Recognition of contributors
In my opinion, this goal I've met. When writing up each Hudson release I've made certain to give credit where credit is due, to those that contributed, Through the "spotlight" series of posts I've also made an effort to highlight power-users of Hudson, trying to glean interesting details about their installations from them for our benefit. Unfortunately I've done a poor job highlighting the contributions from individual plugin developers, something I'm still not certain how to correct.
If you've been following the blog you have no doubt noticed the regular occurrence of certain types of posts, these regular series are:
- "This Week in Plugins"
- This post is halfway script generated, pulling all the release details out of SVN history to help me generate a post. The intention of the post being to cite new or notable plugins, while giving an informative listing of "what's happening" in plugin development for the past week.
- "Spotlight On"
- The only interview-formatted series I've got going right now, I've been trying to find companies or organizations who are using Hudson in interesting ways and are willing to let "us" peek behind the curtains a bit. This started more from curiosity, but I think it's fun to let Hudson users brag about their set ups.
- Hudson 1.xxx Released
- Pretty straight-forward reporting on a release of Hudson, depending on the contents of the release there may be some calls to action or editorializing on what's gone into the release.
- Links for
- Roll-up of links shared or retweeted via the @hudsonci account, uncertain whether this is worth the time spent.
My two questions to the community in general would be:
- Do you dislike any of these?
- What else would you like to see on a regular basis?
I'm certainly open to suggestion, I'd like Continuous Blog to continue to be interesting to the Hudson community and if certain kinds of posts are boring or uninteresting, I can cut them from the line-up.
The largest challenge of Continuous Blog is time. As it stands the majority of content I write or edit in some capacity, which is a larger amount of time than I expected to spend. All said and done it takes me between 6-10 hours a week to write for CB, keep tabs on @hudsonci and peruse the mailing list for interesting things. This probably isn't maintainable, and if for some reason a bus hits me (not uncommon around here), this blog would go dark for a while.
This can be easily fixed by simply adding more contributors to the blog, I'll post more on how to write for Continuous Blog in another post.
All said and done, I am looking forward to another month of writing and following the Hudson community. I'm grateful for all those who've asked questions, been interviewed, wrote content and participated in discussion in the comments. For those of you in the Bay Area, I do hope you come out for the meet-up in mid-March, for the rest of you, I'll catch you on IRC :)