The things I learnt writing open source software.
Posted on 2019-07-31, By Aaron Clifford.
As some of you may know the Nominet .uk right of registration period is now done and dusted, when it was announced there was concerns over smaller registrars being able to take part in the release due to a lack of freely available software, there was a couple of paid releases (which by all accounts were great) however for the one man band looking to register a few domains here or there, there just wasn’t an option available.
This is where I decided I would write my first ever free to use, open source software. Having worked in development for the best part of 20 years the chance to write and release code seemed like a great idea, having written the code, released it, bug fixed and provided support for setup I’ve a new-found respect for the creators of open sourced software.
The task didn’t seem that complicated at first but as development started I quickly realised I was going to need to get my maths hat on for calculating the exact time to start sending the create requests to the EPP. Although on the face of it, it didn’t seem that complicated the further I dived into the code and tested the software it became clear there was a plethora of potential issues that could and did arise.
My expectation would be I’d spend an afternoon writing the script, release it and be done with it. My naivety thinking everyone that was using it would be as technically minded and competent with servers, running code and investigating errors meant that the support and bug fixing I had to provide far surpassed my expectations.
During development I worked with a few registrars setting the script up, bug testing and then fixing them bugs. The support I received during this time is what got the script to a point that it was usable, and from feedback quite successful with a couple of people using the script showing up in a top 50 list of tags catching the “top names”.
For me it was one of the most interesting things I’ve worked on, not just because it’s in the industry I know about, but the positive feedback, openness and support in development was impressive in an industry that is usually very cloak and dagger.
It’s not only opened lines of communications with other individuals and registrars but also expanded my knowledge of the requirements of different people within the industry.
I’d like to thank the people that donated during and after the development and release and I hope everyone that used the software was able to register some of the domain names they were after. My best name was probably Cheese.uk which I have already moved on to a new owner via auction.
The now useless software can still be found here: https://github.com/AaronClifford/nominet-ror-epp-software