By Deane Barker on August 20, 2004

GroupOrg – Features: Yesterday I mentioned that the PHPCollab project had forked. Today, I find out that my very own open source project, InfoCentral, which I handed off to someone else two years ago, has forked.

There has been quite a bit of drama surrounding InfoCentral lately, with the guy in charge wanting to re-write it in Java, and no one else really that interested (this is all second-hand, but this is what I heard). So, about half the developers walked away from InfoCentral and created GroupOrg. They’re starting from the InfoCentral codebase and working from there, keeping the app in PHP.

InfoCentral is a good program but needs to be seriously-rewritten. I wrote the thing six years ago before I had done any OO programming, and its a mess of function-based code.

I’m happy these guys have decided to evolve it and keep it within PHP. They have both my thanks and my blessing.



  1. Hi. This is Chris Gebhardt, current InfoCentral project lead. Just wanted to clear up the situation a little. Yes, there is a lot of emotion / testosterone running strong these days and tensions flying once in awhile. We are all trying to keep that in check and not let it get personal. Here is the “official” scoop:

    Yes, I am in a (relative) minority on the Java decision. There are a few past InfoCentral forum members, a couple new recruits, and some of my personal friends ready to help, however. I’m not going it alone. I believe that the results of this effort will prove my points, so I have refrained from going into long-winded explanation. It suffices to say that I believe that, all things considered, the future goals of InfoCentral have moved beyond the capacity of PHP in terms of both development managability and technical functionality.

    Regardless of what happens in the future, my thanks go to Deane for starting what became such an active community in the first place!

  2. Hi! I’m a pastor of a small (100-200 attenders) church plant that meets in a mobile situation with home offices. I just stumbled across InfoCentral & then GroupOrg tonight before heading to bed… and I’m excited about this as a possible replacement for our current Windows-only Access-based software. When we moved from a central office network to home offices with DSL connections, that stuff became much less usable for us. Something we can host on our webserver would work much better. So… I’m going to look into it! And, I must say, our web guy is much more comfortable with PHP than Java…

    Thanks, Deane, for starting something like this… I just wish I’d heard of it sooner! :)

  3. Hey there-

    It’s good to see that Chris posted to your blog entry, to explain his preference to Java. I appreciate the fact that he’s taken the time to describe, in a detailed fashion, the reasons he prefers to move to Java and take Infocentral to a 2.0 version. This sharing of information helps everybody involved (especially the end-users) as to why changes are taking place. It’s very healthy, I believe.

    Chris, myself, and Lewis Franklin (the project manager of GroupOrg) have had several lengthy IRC chat sessions discussing the meat and potatoes of PHP vs. Java in regards to Infocentral. I believe we each have several valid viewpoints, none of which can really be argued. As with all living organisms, Infocentral must grow, and growth sometimes involves separation. I sincerely wish Chris and his team the best of luck in making Infocentral 2.0 the best application it can possibly be.

    Thanks- Eric Jennings Developer – GroupOrg

  4. Deane,

    I meant to write sooner, but I didn’t when I first came across your blog entry and I’m a very forgetful person.

    We appreciate your thanks and blessing. We also would appreciate any feedback you would/could give. I can think of no one better than the original author to help us make sure that we are on track with keeping the vision of simple and powerful management software for churches and non-profit organizations. In regards to that, let me also invite you to take part in our IRC discussions. Our next discussion will be Saturday, September 11, 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern.

    I shall stand down from my soapbox and say once again, thanks for your encouragement and thanks for starting this great project so many years ago.

    In His Grace, Lewis Franklin Project Lead – GroupOrg

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