VTK/Managing the Development Process

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The text on this page is preliminary.
It is subject to change.

The day-to-day, low-level software development process for VTK has been in place for many years, involving the usual development, dashboard testing, and bug fixing cycle provided by CMake/CTest/CDash. What VTK is missing is more structure around how larger functionality changes are incorporated into VTK. The following describes the process for the high-level (or project level) development of VTK. The goal is to better communicate code changes to the community as they happen, which encourages more community involvement, and document all major functionality changes in VTK.

Process Overview

At the start of each project (i.e. any major piece of functionality), groups and individuals with commit access to VTK must first submit development plans to the VTK documentation system, described in a separate document. These submissions will trigger a useful message to the VTK developers list, giving the name of the project and an abstract. This is where discussion of the initial idea may happen by the community, before implementation begins. New projects are monitored by key individuals (VTK topic leads), who will be responsible for tracking various areas of VTK. When necessary, they will solicit the attention of the Architecture Review Board (ARB), and may delay significant changes to await ARB approval. As development continues, the development plan must transition into a document describing implemented functionality. Individuals who commit code but do not document their plans and implementations will be monitored by the topic leads. They will be warned, and if the behavior continues, their write access may be revoked.

VTK Topic Leads

A set of developers chosen by the ARB will act as topic leads for different sections of VTK. Topic leads are responsible for:

  • Tracking code changes in their topic to see that they use appropriate VTK architecture and are well tested.
  • Tracking new projects related to their topic, and ensuring that appropriate Kitware personnel and/or ARB members are notified of changes.
  • Before each ARB meeting, topic leads must provide a document to the ARB describing recent development in their area, as well as any plans for new development.

Tentative Topic Leads

  • Pipeline (Filtering subdirectory) - Berk Geveci
  • Base (Common subdirectory) - Berk Geveci
  • Rendering (Rendering and VolumeRendering subdirectories) - Francois Bertel and Utkarsh Ayachit
  • GenericFiltering - David Thompson?
  • Widgets - Karthik Krishnan
  • Infovis (Infovis, Geovis subdirectories) - Jeff Baumes
  • Views - Jeff Baumes
  • Parallel - Ken Moreland?
  • Build Process (plus Utilities, Wrapping subdirectories) - Brad King or David Cole?
  • Visualization Algorithms - may need further break-down
  • Computational Geometry Algorithms - Will Schroeder or Bob O'Bara?
  • Imaging Algorithms - Someone from the medical community?
  • Readers and Writers (IO subdirectory) - Berk Geveci and Utkarsh Ayachit
  • GUISupport - Qt - Jeff Baumes?