The future of As Built Report
In my previous post I shared how I came to start As Built Report and my reasons for doing so. It's been a few years since its inception and some of you may be asking what does the future hold for the project?
Before I delve into what may lie ahead, let me take a moment to reflect on the project's progression so far, by extending a sincere thank you to all the contributors who have given their time and effort to this project. Whether you have contributed code, reported bugs, provided feedback, written a blog post, or simply participated in discussions, your efforts have not gone unnoticed.
A special thanks to Jon!
I'd also like to give a special thanks to Jonathan Colon for his ongoing contributions to this project. His code contributions have not only significantly expanded and improved the report library, but his ongoing dedication has undoubtedly kept this project alive! I am grateful for his dedication to the project; from bug fixes to feature enhancements, his contributions have been critical in the project's development and has kept it moving forward.
While I am extremely grateful for the contributions to As Built Report, I must also be open and honest about some of the current challenges I am facing with the project and how these may impact its future.
As we all know, life can be hectic, and we all have our own set of priorities. As I sit here in isolation, suffering from the effects for COVID, it's clear that this project is no longer high on my priority list. After experiencing two years of the world's most severe lockdowns here in Melbourne, I realised that spending long periods of time in front of a computer screen, constantly thinking about work, was negatively impacting my mental health. I had no discipline in switching off from any of this. I became exhausted and burnt out!
Since the end of lockdown, most of us have changed our working habits and work-life balance in some way, whether it's working from home, limiting our screen time, or getting out and about more frequently. I continue to work on incorporating all of these into my daily routine, but the one I'm most strict about is spending less time in front of my computer. While I have always put my family first, I cannot say the same for my health. Changes need to be made.
When I first started As Built Report, I was working with a wide range of IT infrastructure on a daily basis and would often have the time and access to develop many of the reports you use today. However this is no longer the case, as I have taken on a new job role earlier this year and am now solely focused on Azure-related projects. As a result, I no longer have the time or access to this infrastructure to keep many of these reports up to date.
So herein lies the challenge! Without access to the IT infrastructure and with less time in my daily schedule, I can no longer maintain this project and will need more help from you, the users, to keep this project alive and relevant!
I created and shared this project in response to the overwhelming positive feedback I received following my VMworld presentation in 2018. Following my presentation, many people apporached me and asked how they could get involved. I didn't have any set expectations at the time, and I've always wanted this tool to be freely available for everyone to use, but in the past few years, I've noticed that most users expect myself or Jonathan to develop or fix reports, rather than exploring ways to develop or fix a report themselves. While I am grateful for those who have contributed thus far, I continue to believe that there is still a large amount of untapped potential within our user base that could elevate the project further.
But... what does this all mean?
To be clear, I have no plans to abandon this project, but I would like to take a step back. I'd like to encourage users to become more involved so that this project can be maintained and used by everyone without relying so heavily on me. To do so, I recognise that I must make it easier for people to contribute and remove any barriers to their contribution. I am still committed to further improving the project documentation and have now made it easier for users to seek assistance and collaborate via GitHub Discussions.
So how can you help?
Despite my best efforts, the documentation may not be as user-friendly as it could be. Clear and accessible documentation is a shared responsibility, and I invite users to contribute by improving and expanding on the documentation on this website and within each of the GitHub repositories.
Testing and Feedback
Extensive testing is crucial for identifying and addressing issues, and I encourage users to volunteer in testing code in different environments, and providing feedback prior to code being released. Testing the project in different environments, providing insights, and reporting issues helps improve its reliability and performance.
I've noticed a significant gap in code contributions, issue resolution, and report maintenance and development. Contributing directly to the codebase is a fantastic way for those with coding skills to make a significant impact. Whether it's fixing bugs, adding new features, or optimising existing code, your knowledge is highly valued and sought after.
If there is something you'd like to see in the project, please share your ideas and suggestions; however, please keep in mind that contributors are donating their time to this project, so there are no guarantees that your request will be met.
Spread the Word
Help expand our community by sharing your positive experiences with this project. Whether through social media, blog posts, or word of mouth, your advocacy contributes to the project's growth.
A final thanks!
In closing, I'd like to again thank all of the awesome people who have contributed to this project. Your help and contributions are invaluable, and I look forward to welcoming more contributors in the future who are willing to donate their time and energy to developing and expanding the As Built Report project.