Spree Commerce

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Farewell Ryan Bigg

Posted on July 20, 2014 by Sean Schofield

Ryan Bigg
Next month we will be saying farewell to our good friend and long time Community Manager, Ryan Bigg. Ryan has been the Spree Community Manager for almost three years now having joined Spree back in November 2011. Ryan was working on a Spree store for his former employer when we approached him about taking over the community. He has been making a huge impact on the Spree community ever since. Unfortunately Ryan insists on living in Melbourne, Australia and the years of working remotely and in relative isolation have taken their toll. After August 15 he will working out of the local Melbourne office of his new employer.

Bigg shoes to fill

Over the past several years Ryan has made 3,735 commits to the Spree project adding 169,402 lines of code (and removing almost and equal amount of code as well!) More importantly, he has helped keep the Spree open source project moving forward, freeing Brian and I to raise venture funding and grow the company. During this time Ryan has also participated in over 2,000 discussions on spree-user and he has responded with over 7,000 commments on various GitHub issues. Ryan led the effort on namespacing, the API redesign, splitting Spree into mountable engines and the recent refactoring of promotions and adjustments.

Moving forward

Jeff DutilWe will be looking to hire another full time community manager for Spree. In the meantime, the Spree community will continue to move forward with the continued involvement of myself and Brian Quinn. While Brian and I are less visible in the day to day running of the community, we are still very much involved behind the scenes and this involvement will continue.

We’re also going to have long-time Spree contributor Jeff Dutil assume the role of interim Community Manager. Jeff recently joined Spree Commerce after a long stint at Rails Dog where he was originally hired by Brian and I before we sold the company and got out of the consulting business. He has been contributing to Spree for several years now but you’re going to be seeing even more of him while we conduct the search for a new Community Manager. Spree veterans Peter Berkenbosch and Washington Luiz will also continue to drive the project forward.

A new beginning

The Spree project is one of the most active projects on Github and our community has grown from over 100 contributors in 2011 to over 550 contributors at present. Spree has become something much bigger than the individual who creeated it (myself) or the person who lead its development since late 2011 (Ryan). Spree has been the top Ruby e-commerce solution since its beginning in 2007. It has improved over the years as the previous developers stepped back and made room for a new generation of developers joining the project. We’ve seen the same progression with Ruby on Rails as DHH turned over the reins to Yehuda Katz who then passed the torch on to Aaron Paterson. Change in open source is normal and in fact it’s beneficial. I’m personally excited for the next person to join the team and make their mark.

Spree 3.0

Lately, many people in the community have been asking us what’s next with Spree? There has been a lot of talk about a possible rewrite of the backend interface. Sameer Gulati, who is the Chief Product Officer at Spree Commerce, has been actively talking to many of our users about possible directions in which to take the backend interface. There have also been lots of companies using Spree with JavaScript frameworks such as Angular.js (on the frontend and backend) so that remains another interesting possibility. Finally, Ryan, Brian Quinn, Jeff and Washington have also been working on some interesting experiments aimed at finding out what it would take to turn Spree into a truly modular, service-oriented architecture that is completely driven by API.

No decisions have been made as to what Spree 3.0 will contain nor when it will be released. We’re still gathering requirements, conducting experiments and of course consulting with the community. The one thing you can count on, however, is that Spree will continue to advance. The project will evolve incrementally for a while and then eventually take another big leap forward, just as it always has, and just like any good open source project must.

We wish Ryan the best of luck in his new endeavor and we look forward to where his replacement will help take us next.