The Frontend Working Group is responsible for stewardship of the frontend of the Open edX platform. The working group exists as a technical advisory board, curators of our frontend strategic roadmap, and to empower the community to execute our shared challenges and opportunities.
The working group:
Is public and open to members of the Open edX community.
Has a backlog of tasks sourced from the community.
Maintains a public roadmap and strives to improve overall community alignment around it.
Acts as a technical advisory resource.
Prioritizes empowerment and facilitation over the “Do It Yourself” execution of its backlog.
The frontend working group strives to improve the Open edX platform through:
Approachability: Our platform should be comprehensible and simple to work with, providing powerful functionality without requiring a long ramp-up period or specialized domain knowledge.
Composability: Our shared libraries should be composable, reusable, and un-opinionated in service of our ability to leverage them into new use cases.
Extensibility: Our ability to extend our platform while maintaining a small, stable core is a central tenant of the Open edX architecture.
We accomplish these outcomes by identifying and prioritizing areas of greatest need or opportunity across the community, and then finding the most appropriate way of executing against that, whether that’s through consulting with a stakeholder to have them help build it, blended development, or working on it ourselves.
Joining the Frontend Working Group is a great way to participate in and support the Open edX community, improve the health of our platform, upskill and learn about our ecosystem. We welcome members of all skill levels or stages of their careers; you don’t need to be an “expert” to join.
Membership is flexible. If you show up, engage in our conversations and participate in the working group, you can consider yourself a member! We don’t maintain a roster of this; we want folks to feel comfortable allowing their time to ebb and flow as necessary given their other commitments.
That said, knowing the capacity we have available helps us plan! If you’re able to have a more formal time commitment or are working to engage more with the rest of the community, we’d love to have you formally devote a portion of your time to working on the priorities of the group. We suggest a time commitment of 20 hours a month, or 8%, toward the priorities of the group. This level of commitment lines up with the expectations of the Core Contributor program.
We will regularly revisit time commitments from members to understand our ongoing capacity and will maintain a list of what folks can commit.
Editorial note: we’re just getting started! The folks listed here are those who have officially committed to spending at least 20 hours a month toward the working group’s priorities.
Commit/Merge privileges on all frontend-focused code repositories.
Ensure the approved review process is upheld and be on-call to address issues with recently merged PRs. Follow the merge timing guidelines.
Maintain best practices for design, security, accessibility, and compliance on merged code.
Review PRs and suggest technical changes in designated repositories.
Co-establish technical direction of designated repositories.
Documenting and reviewing decisions in ADRs (and OEPs) and maintaining READMEs, How-Tos, etc.
Co-maintain a prioritized backlog of needed technical improvements of designated repositories.
Negotiate and allocate a regular percentage of time toward technical upkeep, including refactoring and other items listed in this column.
Ongoing upgrade and feature maintenance and other ownership costs of designated repositories
Appropriate onboarding for using our frontend technology stack.
Educate others to help spread frontend domain knowledge throughout and beyond the working group.
Training on new workflows/technologies.
Participate in the formalization and documentation of training and best practices.
The tasks, roadmap, and workings of the Frontend Working Group are open to the Open edX Community. In the spirit of this, our communications should be inclusive. This means preferring asynchronous over synchronous and public over private.
Issues: The working group uses the Frontend Development on GitHub, which can group issues from any repository or organization. Alternatively, issues can be created in the group’s own frontend-wg repository in the openedx organization.
Frontend Working Group working sessions are mainly used to communicate about ongoing frontend work, but also for roadmap planning, process improvements, and whatever else it takes to keep the working group running.
Sessions are held weekly. One every two weeks on Thursday at 15:00 UTC, and the other on alternating weeks, also on Thursday but at 11:00 UTC. They are staggered in this manner so that potential attendees can pick the time that is more comfortable for them.
For more specific details (such as meeting room URLs), either subscribe to the Open edX Working Group calendar (which contains all working group meetings, not just frontend ones) or be on the lookout for session-specific issues on GitHub (such as this one, for instance). Meeting minutes are posted to https://openedx.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/COMM/pages/3593961516, and those include video recordings, chat logs, and transcripts whenever possible. Upcoming sessions are also listed: if you intend to add an item to the agenda, feel free to edit the corresponding page accordingly.
The group is currently in the process of moving towards a more asynchronous approach, with the intent of not only reducing the need for synchronous working sessions but to transmute those that remain into meet-ups. These tend to be less frequent but more generally interesting: show-and-tell and discussions around emerging technologies, rather than just discussing problems.
A lot of this already happens naturally in GitHub, the forum, or in this wiki, but because not everybody subscribes to those, the nexus of this asynchronous communication will be the #wg-frontend channel on Slack. Whenever anything important is happening, regardless of venue, it will be linked to publically in the group’s channel, so that:
Anybody can catch up with current frontend events by simply scanning the latest threads;
Discussions can still happen where they’re most useful and accessible (PR reviews remain in GitHub, long opinions in the forum, etc)
And while any kind of discussion, however impactful, is encouraged in Slack, keep the following in mind:
Prefer to have discussions in the public channel, rather than in private: this makes us more open, and thus, more inclusive, with all the advantages that brings.
Because of item 1, it’s okay to tag specific people in your public messages. A private message is no less annoying, and it can never be as directly useful to the community at large as a public one.
If a discussion is particularly important, document it in a more permanent and accessible medium such as in a forum thread, a wiki page, or an issue (maybe even an OEP or ADR!) in the appropriate repo on GitHub. Slack is great for fast, efficient communication, but bad at grouping and indexing it for future reference.
Unless otherwise noted, the Frontend Working Group will make decisions by lazyconsensus.
Lazy Consensus means that when you are convinced that you know what the community would like to see happen you can simply assume that you already have consensus and get on with the work. You don't have to insist people discuss and/or approve your plan, and you certainly don't need to call a vote to get approval. You just assume you have the communities support unless someone says otherwise.
When a decision must be made, proposals are presumed to be approved unless any specific objections arise. The method may be summarized as “silence is consent”. Lazy consensus empowers members of the Frontend Working Group to take initiative while lowering the cost of governance.
If there are objections to any given proposal, further deliberation will be conducted amongst group members to weigh the pros/cons of each proposal. When objections to a proposal do occur, individuals are encouraged to come up with at least one alternative proposal for discussion.
In practice, with lazy consensus, an individual may make a proposal with adequate supporting details and state that, without explicit objection, the proposal will start to be implemented within a reasonable amount of time (for example, 72 hours) to allow other members of the Frontend Working Group to review the proposal and to make any relevant objections. This approach ensures enough time is allotted to account for differing time zones and asynchronous review of proposals.
Decisions will be communicated to the appropriate channels and stakeholders (see “Communication” section above).
The Frontend Working Group will hold itself accountable primarily by two means:
Developing, prioritizing, and making meaningful progress toward a backlog of frontend-focused initiatives.
Understanding and benchmarking the “state of frontend development” for Open edX engineers as discovered by metrics and KPIs like those described above. This includes frontend developer surveys to gauge net-promoter score (NPS), improved efficiency of UI development through Paragon, and common accelerate metrics such as deployment frequency.
Frontend accelerate metrics (i.e., lead time, MTTR, deployment frequency, fail rate)
MFE adoption in the community
Speed up UI development
Reduction in a11y issues
Downloads (i.e., “popularity”) of core frontend libraries such as @edx/frontend-build, @edx/frontend-platform, and @edx/paragon.
How does the Frontend Working Group differ from the FedX Working Group?
The FedX Working Group is the prior iteration of the Frontend Working Group and was internal to edX only. The only part of the FedX Working Group that remains is the weekly “FedX Meeting” for edX employees. This meeting is a “scrum of scrums”-style update from engineers in the edX organization where we talk about what our squads are doing, any challenges that we’re facing, decisions we made, or impacts we may have on other teams.
The moniker “FedX Working Group” will be retired in favor of “Frontend Working Group” - this is an acknowledgment that this is now a public working group, and is no longer “frontend at edX”.
How does the Frontend Working Group differ from the Paragon Working Group?
The Paragon Working Group (PWG) is a design-led group that meets to manage the design system side of Paragon and vet new components according to edX’s product development needs. Members of the Frontend Working Group who work at edX may wish to go to the PWG’s meetings to help participate in that part of the process, but that is a choice they can make and has no impact on their membership in the Frontend Working Group. PWG has its own charter, goals, and governance.
Please refer to the following page for the latest updates on the group’s activities: