10.3 My role in the project

I started to participate in the HISP network at a time when talks about implementing DHIS on a totally new platform had recently started. The attitudes in the Norwegian node of HISP, which were going to be the central node in DHIS 2 development, was clearly in favor of implementing DHIS 2 using Java. There was some early talks about using a Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) framework and Enterprise Java Beans (EJB), but this was abandoned because J2EE and especially EJB has a notorious reputation for complexity. Not long before I left for Ethiopia it was more or less decided that DHIS 2 should be implemented using Java, but using lightweight FLOSS frameworks in place of J2EE. The Spring framework was a good contender, so I was given some literature about Spring that I brought to Ethiopia. Curious as I was about this framework I spent some time in Ethiopia learning this. The helper application I made in connection with the adaption of DHIS 1.3 in Ethiopia was made using this framework.

When I came back from Ethiopia I was interested in spending some time working with the DHIS 2 development. At the University of Oslo they had just started to give the DHIS 2 development course so I singed up. I also participated somewhat in the planning of this course and the major thing that concerned me was that DHIS 2 should be extensible. This was the reason for forming a group to look into the possibility for making a plug-in framework for DHIS 2. The reason for my concern was the issues relating to the ICD codes in Ethiopia. The lack of extensibility in the core of DHIS 1.x had mandated a choice between making a separate application feeding on the DHIS database or making a fork of DHIS.

The group formed consisted of me and an other master student, Ole Petter Aasen. Aasen took the university course from another city in Norway named Lillehammer while I was located in Oslo. Aasen was in Lillehammer because he had a job there. We met face to face before the course started and only one time during the course. Most of our interaction was done through IM, and a lesser extent e-mail. We also kept some wiki pages about our plug-in module and had a project in the issue management system, which was a course requirement. After the INF5750 course had come to an end I was essentially on my own in experimenting with the creation of a plug-in framework.