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Current Funding and Development Status

C.A.M. Gerlach edited this page Jun 6, 2018 · 2 revisions

The problem

Anaconda, Inc was supporting Spyder with a team of four developers working part time for the project for a year and a half. Unfortunately, that sponsorship ended in mid-November 2017. As Spyder was, is and always will be a community-developed and supported IDE, this was far from a mortal blow to the project, but it did impact the pace and breadth of development. Developer effort previously spent on our stable of Spyder plugins, like spyder-notebook, spyder-reports, and spyder-terminal, among others, was refocused on the core Spyder IDE, and the development and release of Spyder 4 was put mostly on hold.

The solution

To help make up for the loss of funding, we are appealing to the community for support, asking users who found Spyder valuable to back our project on OpenCollective, in order to accelerate development and help us add more of your most-requested features for Spyder 4. We appreciate all the help you can provide us and can't thank you enough for supporting the work of Spyder devs and Spyder development.

We're extremely grateful for your positive response so far. We've gone from zero to a budget of well over $4500 per year and rising at an increasing pace, thanks to the continuing contributions of over 80 (and counting!) individual and institutional backers. We also had several new core team members and community contributors pitch in to help carry the load, and we've also gotten financial support from great organizations like organizations like NumFOCUS and Quansight.

While we've got a ways to go to match the level of funding we've received under Anaconda, your support has helped make possible several of the new major features we've planned for Spyder 4, and allow us to commit to releasing it much sooner than we would be able to otherwise. Stay tuned; we're considering rolling out new donation tiers and rewards at some point soon so you won't want to miss that.

How much funding is needed

Currently, we're targeting an initial goal of $7000 USD per year to fund our baseline development activities, including completing Spyder 4 and funding at least one junior developer working part-time on Spyder. As an eventual stretch goal, $35 000 USD per year would get us back up to the level of funding seen under Anaconda, i.e. four developers working part time for the project.

While that may seem like a lot, its only a small fraction of what other projects require for the same level of output; a single developer in the USA earns an average of $80 000 USD per year or more, while the Spyder core developers live in Colombia, where the cost of living is a small fraction of that in North America and Western Europe. That fact, combined with the relative strength of the dollar, allows even modest funding to go many times further than it would for most other projects.

The importance of external funding

Thanks to Anaconda’s funding, Spyder has grown by leaps and bounds during the last year and a half (in scope and number of users), and we’d like to share with you some metrics you’re probably not aware of:

  • Since the release of Spyder 3.0 (in September 2016), we have added ~3000 new commits, an increase of 40% with respect to the total number of commits in the entire history of the project.
  • We are merging ~50 PRs per month. This is similar to the amount of work in the Jupyter notebook and JupyterLab, which have several developers working full time for them.
  • We are receiving ~250 new issues per month on Github. This is similar to the most important libraries in the Python scientific stack (e.g. Pandas, Matplotlib and Scikit-learn) and much higher than the Jupyter notebook and JupyterLab.
  • People are opening between ~2 to 6 new questions per day on StackOverflow with the spyder tag. Carlos Cordoba (Spyder maintainer) has made more than 3000 points this year answering Spyder questions alone, a 62% increase with respect to his overall score in seven years in the platform.
  • Three new core, voluntary developers have joined the project during the last four months.

Thus, Spyder is in very good health and has signs to grow even more. But these numbers also make quite evident that we need a team to maintain a project with so much input from the community.

Our progress so far

On the development side of the project, while our overall pace is modestly lower than its peak under our Anaconda funding, we've been quite active fixing bugs and adding new features and enhancements over the past six months. By the numbers, from November 2017 through May 2018, we've pushed approximately 1200 commits to master (Spyder 4), comprising over 37 000 lines added and 16 000 removed, and 900 commits to 3.x (Spyder 3), with over 16 500 additions and 10 000 deletions. Users have opened over 1375 issues (bugs, feature requests and other feedback), of which we've managed to resolve more than 1330, or nearly 97%.

Github commit timeseries for Spyder, with high activity over the past few years

Further, over 250 pull requests from almost two dozen unique contributors, some old, some new, have been submitted since that time—fixing bugs, adding new or enhanced functionality, or making other improvements—of which 226 have been merged to the main Spyder codebase. This work has coalesced into four separate official releases during that period, with another only days away. Finally, we've recently blown past the 3000 Github stars milestone a few weeks ago (we're now at nearly 3200), with almost 700 unique forks to date.

Learn more

For even more on the past and present situation, our progress, recent funding related annoucements and the future of Spyder, check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of our State of the Spyder series on our official blog.

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