MonoDevelop is an idea so cool, I swore I thought of it. Basically, it’s a cross-platform IDE that initially caught my eye because of another product made by Mono: MonoGame, which is basically XNA reincarnated. But this isn’t about singing Mono’s praises or even chastising Microsoft for how they handled XNA (that’s another article). No, this is all about the the people behind MonoDevelop and the code itself. That’s right children, FOSS strikes again.
As a body of code, MonoDevelop is a beast. But honestly, shouldn’t it be one? I mean, it’s an IDE. It got a few points on Callaway’s Coefficient of Fail for being humongous and I guess I have to be OK with that. Outside of being huge, I must say that it’s quite a hospitable body of code. That is to say, I feel comfortable perusing it. Comments abound, and I’m always confident that I know where I am. Maybe that’s just me being a guy, but kudos to the people keeping tabs on internal documentation. Also, every file has the licensing info right there. Normally I don’t care much about that but for this monster of a project, it’s a big deal.
In the interest of ending on a happy note, I could just stop, but I won’t. I want to emphasize what went wrong when analyzing this community. Namely, the community itself. The IRC chat was so dead, a tumbleweed would have felt awkward. Nobody said anything for the longest time. I’d like to think that I just got unlucky. On top of that, the community seems to be like five people. The more I delved into MonoDevelop, the more it seemed like a secret club of five dudes in their tree-house hacking away at a project for fun. The whole thing kind of soured the experience, even though I personally love Mono. As an outsider, this makes me want to shy away from working on it, and that alone—the perception of a project’s community—is sometimes more important than the actual community.
I know I sound like a hater now, but I’m being critical because I love this team and this project. Besides, all things considered, it only got a +25 on the CCOF. Not that bad really.