One of the hardest things for any project author is to figure out whether their perspective on a project is aligned with perspective of the project’s users. Henry Ford supposedly knew better than his customers what they needed, but if that’s true I’d say he was a rather special case. I’m often guessing what people need and would find useful, what their issues are and what tools are they using. From time to time I guess right, but often I guess wrong. A couple of notable examples immediately come to my mind.

I always assumed that people didn’t care much about the minimum supported Emacs version, as it’s pretty easy to upgrade Emacs, so I was dropping support for older Emacsen quite aggressively. Last year, however, I got some feedback after my “Clojurists Together” funding round that people who were working in corporate environments were really suffering, because they couldn’t upgrade the software on their machines. I was enlightened.

I always assumed that people don’t care much about changing the keybindings of some commands and I was doing this quite a lot in the early days of CIDER. Now I know better…

Similarly when I introduced cider-nrepl many years ago I thought that having people set it up manually won’t be a big deal, and I grossly underestimated how complex this task was for many people. Fun trivia - automating this setup in CIDER 0.10 was one of the most celebrated changes ever.

At some point I foolishly believed that everyone read CIDER’s manual before starting to use it. If only that were true!1

I’ve always loved the concept of surveys like “State of Clojure” and the insight they bring. I’ve meant to do something similar for CIDER for quite a while now - probably for at least 5 years. For one reason or another, however, this task just kept sitting in my backlog. Until today…2

Please, allow to me to introduce to you the first ever State of CIDER survey! It’s far from perfect, but it’s a start. I’d really like to connect with more of you - the people who are actually using CIDER. I want to understand what’s the environment you’re working in, I want to learn what’s your background and how are you using CIDER. I want to learn what do you like and what do you hate. Long story short - I want to align the things I’m working on with your needs.

I also want to get a feeling for how many people would be consider supporting the project financially down the road. I’m hoping to inspire a few more companies and individuals to pitch in to our OpenCollective and GitHub Sponsors campaigns. I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one… The subject of the economics of OSS development is something I plan to discuss at length in a dedicated article.

The survey will be open until the end of next week. Looking forward to your responses!

  1. Not that I ever read any manual before diving into something. 

  2. All the credit here goes to the “Clojurists Together”. Having goals to work towards makes a big difference!