Checkmatrix for 'eStep friendly' projects.

This matrix shows what parts of the software sustainability checklist should be taken care of at (perhaps slightly before) what state of a project.

Though very generic in scope and context, this is an eScience Center specific list. This allows us to keep the number of "states" low.

Explanation of project states

  • Prototype phase. The first step in most software development is trying out different things with no intention in keeping the intermediate results. Signs you could be in this phase:
    • You switch programming languages.
    • You throw away all of your code once in a while
    • You work on the code by yourself
    • You are waiting with showing other people your code until you "clean it up a bit first".
  • Pre-release phase. Eventually you get software you intend to keep. Signs you could be in this phase:
    • You have multiple developers.
    • You have external contributors.
    • You are working up to a release.
    • Users ask you if the software is done yet.
  • Maturity phase: Software that has reached maturity, has a clear function and scope, and is used. Signs you could be in this phase:
    • The software has a release.
    • The software has users: people actually using your software/code
    • You have external contributor
    • The software is actively used and contributed to by so many people that it becomes a community project rather than an eScience Center project.

These states happen in order and are exclusive.

Version Control

Item / Phase Prototype Pre-release Mature
use git as version control system (vcs) X
use GitHub flow branching model (use feature branches and pull requests) X
public vcs repository (github) X
meaningful commit messages X


Item / Phase Prototype Pre-release Mature
semantic versioning X
tagged releases (github releases) X (Keep a CHANGELOG) X
one command install (pip, npm etc) X
package in package manager (pypi, npm etc) X
discuss release cycle with coordinator X
release quick-scan by other engineer (is documentation understandable, can it be installed, etc) X
notify Lode for dissemination (news item on site / annual report, etc) X


Item / Phase Prototype Pre-release Mature
Apache 2 license X
compatible license of all libraries X
NOTICE(.txt or .md) listing licenses, request citation of paper if applicable X


Item / Phase Prototype Pre-release Mature
home page with all the necessary introduction information, links to documenation, source code (github) and latest release download (eg. pages) X
project discussion list (github issues, mailing list, not private email) for all project related discussions from the beginning of the project X
for services: a demo docker image in dockerhub (with Dockerfile) X
for websites: an online demo X
Pitch presentation (1 to 3 slides) X
Few sentences about the project for the technology pages on our website X


Item / Phase Prototype Pre-release Mature
unit tests X
build tests X
continuous integration, public on Travis X
continuous code coverage and code quality metrics public, minimum 70% coverage required X
end2end test for (web) user interfaces X
track dependencies (with David or other service depending on codebase language) X


Item / Phase Prototype Pre-release Mature - clear explanation of the goal of the project with pointers to other documentation resources. Use GitHub flavored markdown for, e.g., syntax highlighting. X
well defined functionality X
source code documentation X
usage documentation X
documented development setup (good example is Getting started with khmer development) X
contribution guidelines egzample X
code of conduct (contributor covenant) X
documented code style X
meaning of issue labels used X
DOI or PID (making your code citable) X

Development setup

Item / Phase Prototype Pre-release Mature
using the eScience Center coding style is required X
editorconfig X
applied code style in automated way if possible (i.e using linters and code formaters) X
dev environment docker images in Dockerhub (with Dockerfile) X

Use standards

Item / Phase Prototype Pre-release Mature
exchange format (Unicode, W3C, OGN, NetCDF, etc) X
protocols (HTTP, TCP, TLS, etc) X