Dr. Gareth S. Bestor (@Xiphware)
Master Business Systems, Xiphware
What contributions (e.g., issue triage, tech support, documentation, bug fixes) have you made to the ODK community?
I've been involved in the ODK community for approximately two years, initially on Slack and now the ODK Discourse Forum, the later of which I have been a moderator for the past 6 months. I frequently respond to Support questions from the wider community, and recently I submitted PRs to expand the functionality of javaRosa/Collect. I have also been using and providing some testing and feedback on the new ODK Central, particularly around its REST APIs.
How do you believe your contributions have benefited ODK?
As a result of trying to implement XForms (on a non-Android platform), I gained some insight into the inner workings of XForms/XPath which I've been able to share with the ODK form-building community, as well as contribute to technical discussions around ODK spec issues. From my own work on implementing and designing an iOS XForms client, I've been able to provide some, hopefully useful, UI design thoughts and feedback for ODK Collect GUI improvements.
What do you believe the top priorities for ODK are?
I believe the so-called "ODK Spec" is a critical facet of the ODK ecosystem, as it pervades virtually all the tools and enables the compatibility of reusing forms across ODK's various tools. This Spec also dictates the compatibility of and interoperability of third-party tools, which I think are crucial to ODK's long-term viability and increased adoption. I also believe the increased modularization of ODK tools will ultimately be very beneficial, and that Central is a great step in this direction (away from the more monolithic Aggregate).
How will you help the ODK community accomplish those priorities?
As a consequence I am keen to see and help the increased formalization of the ODK Spec and how it - and related APIs such OpenRosa, Collect REST, etc - can be clearly defined and documented. Such formalization should help foster the development of an broader ecosystem of interoperable 'ODK Compatible™' tools (and not necessarily rely on the small team of ODK developers to write them).
How many hours a week can you commit to participating on the TSC?
1-2 hours (in addition to current participation on Slack and ODK Forum moderator)
What other mobile data collection projects, social good projects, or open source projects are you involved with?
I was a Senior Software Engineer in the IBM Linux Technology Center for many years, writing open source Linux systems management tools for CIM (Common Information Model) and Linux virtualization management (Xen, KVM); most of this code continues to ship in Linux distros. Presently I'm the Senior Software Architect at Master Business Systems for GoMobile - an XForms-based mobile forms solution for iOS, Android and Windows.