Scout Adopters we didn’t know about.

At BSI (the company behind the Scout Framework) we have recently discussed our knowledge about the community of Eclipse Scout users and found that it is too limited. This was one of the lessons we learned from our first Scout User Group Meeting. For this meeting we have invited our Scout customers and colleagues. By customer we mean individuals from companies that have paid for services in relation to Scout (consulting, trainings, change requests, project bootstrap, …). And by colleague we mean people we already met (at conferences or democamps) that where doing something with Scout. This get together was important, informative and supported the networking between customers/contacts. However, we found that the real challenge is to contact and learn from Scout adopters that we do not know (yet).

Eclipse Foundation Policy and Set-up.

Both the legal and the technical set-up at the Eclipse Foundation allows interested people to use any Eclipse project without any form of identification. This is great for adopters, but makes it hard for the project teams to learn more about their users. From the conversations I had with the Eclipse Foundation staff member, a registration form is something that we will never have at eclipse.org because this is against the Eclipse policy. So we had to find another path to contact our adopters.

In order to start learning more about our Scout community we decided to try to use the Scout Forum as a starting point. The reason for this decision was based on the observations that we have most of our existing interactions on this channel and that we enjoy a friendly and constructive atmosphere there. And since about 2 months, we ask our regular forum visitors (when we think that they must have built something serious with Scout) to tell us more about themselves and their project. We have made the experience that a good place to ask this question is at the end of a precise answer to a specific question. Then, they can write us an email scout@bsiag.com or fill a “Made with Scout Survey”. The proposition is of course visible and open for everybody at the forum, but asking specific individuals works much better.
We believe that this is a fair compromise to the community members, as they are free to answer or not and their answer does not affect the quality of the answer we continue to deliver.

What are we doing with the Survey Data?

Not much, really. Often we exchange some emails and then agree on a phone or skype call. In the call we are most interested in the background of the people, their experience with Scout so far and what they are currently working with Scout. This external feedback then helps us to improve the Scout experience and to focus our investment on those aspects that are considered valuable for these individuals. Of course, we are only at the beginning of this journey but so far this approach proved to be a valuable experience for both sides.

Some success so far?

In late January I got an email from József Agg. The Application he made with Eclipse Scout is a backend system for a Hungarian travel agency publishing content with JAX-RS to web CMS front end.
The attached screenshots are really impressive, that is why I would like to share them in this blog post.