[Note: This is a cross-post taken from the new Development Tracker Blog. Future updates relating to the Development Tracker will be posted there]
For a little while I have been working on a side-project that hopes to answer the question: “How can I find out what other people are developing within the particular online community I am a part of?”. Specifically, how to discover developments within the 3D Printing space.
I think one of the key reasons for the recent explosion of interest, and success, in 3D printing is the open-source, share-a-like mentatility that pervades the ecosystem. The RepRap Project is proudly oriented around the GPLv2 license; Makerbot’s Thingiverse promotes sharing things regardless of whether they were made on, or for, a Makerbot printer; and Github makes collaborating on a project easy. And there are many more applications and services out there. All of these services are either free, or have generous freemium options, which makes the barriers to entry lower and helps to foster a rich sense of community.
Diversity and competition help drive innovation, but tracking what is happening across these sites, plus the myriad of blogs, wikis and forums, can be tricky. RSS feeds, mailing lists and search engines can help, but can be either overlooked or, until the Semantic Web really takes off, provide insufficient context and related material.
Development Tracker is a simple, online, open registry where developments can be submitted, categorised, discovered and tracked. Whether a complete project, a part, a document, a technique, or software, all can be entered, linked together, and made available for the community to find. The application holds metadata about each development, and links to the projects page – which could be a blog, a github project, a thing on thingiverse or even a forum post. Links can also be made between entries, allowing hierarchies and groups to be formed.
It is very early days for the project and there are many features to come which should help make the application ever more useful. Some of these ideas can be found on the future page. As new features are introduced the blog will be updated, and there is also a twitter feed.
This application has been developed as a contribution to the 3D Printing ecosystem and I hope it provides a useful service. Feedback from the community is crucial in determining how it develops, and so please look over the application, browse or search for entries already there, or add new ones you feel are relevant, and please let me know of any bugs, ideas or other comments you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org