In recent years a segment of the ImageJ developer community has repeatedly inquired as to ImageJ's future. The program has been successful enough that it would greatly benefit from modern open source software best practices: a publicly accessible source code repository, a suite of unit tests with a continuous build integration system, a central repository of extensions, clear guidelines on how external developers can contribute to both those extensions and to the core program when warranted, and a development roadmap addressing feature requests and tasks from the community.
Listening to the ImageJ community, it is clear that:
- There is substantial demand from developers for a next-generation version of ImageJ with a cleaner, more modular API, so that ImageJ can be leveraged not just as a standalone analysis program, but as a robust, extensible library in a variety of contexts.
- The ImageJ user community has invested a lot of time and energy to develop complex workflows within ImageJ, and they oppose any change that would break them. Thus, any effort to improve the software must maintain compatibility with existing code.
- Further, any next-generation version of ImageJ must maintain community unity, and not fork the project. All components of this project will be developed as upgrades to core ImageJ.
- The ImageJ community as a whole would substantially benefit from a central effort to organize and serve program code (both the core application and its plugins), keep track of bugs and feature requests, and better leverage external developer contributions.
For more details, see our presentation from the 2010 ImageJ Conference.