I maintain a LGPL library for rapid development of large scale .NET applications, It's a general purpose class library containing functionalities that are used at the DAL and BLL level.

So, in practice, it's a library focused towards server-side/middle-tier developers - it doesn't have any shiny or trendy stuff and as such I don't expect it to ever become majorly popular.

However, I would really like to expand the library and get more ideas for possibly useful functionalities to add.

Larger, more user oriented libraries have a ton of users and a ton of ideas.

How do I get more people to contribute ideas for my more niche library?

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    You could start by linking to your project in this post. People might find it interesting and want to help out. – John Kraft Apr 22 '11 at 20:37
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    No, it would be spammy... ;-) But if you are really curious, it's not difficult to find out which library it is. – Sklivvz Apr 22 '11 at 20:39
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    There's your answer: Shameless self promotion. Also, going with a more liberal license might help. "GPL"-anything is generally a no-go at MS shops. – Christopher Mahan Apr 22 '11 at 20:44
  • Actually it's LGPL. Big difference there. – Sklivvz Apr 22 '11 at 20:48
  • For the curious: The library is linked in Sklivvz profile. – Robert Harvey Apr 22 '11 at 22:17

If your library is even remotely useful for somebody they most likely have feature requests put in your issue tracker.

If you can generalize their specific needs into general use-cases - instead of just putting in the little thing they need - you have a very good start for extensions and how to do it.

  • According to our logs we have around ~100 users but zilch suggestions. – Sklivvz Apr 23 '11 at 13:22
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    In that case, you probably fill the niche you have quite nicely. Considered starting a new library instead? – user1249 Apr 23 '11 at 13:23
  • @Skliwz Are you sure the 100 users are actually using the library or did they download it to try it out but do not use it? What about sending them emails for their feedback and? – M.Sameer Apr 23 '11 at 16:53
  • I don't have their emails :-) – Sklivvz Apr 23 '11 at 17:22

If you can't bring yourself to promote your project when someone specifically asks you to, that's half your answer right there.

The other half is that ideas are grown in a fertile community, not a sterile one. What tools do your users have to communicate and collaborate? Do you have an issue tracker? A mailing list? Users aren't going to go out of their way to contribute. You have to make it easy.

  • I've asked the mods first and they preferred this way. – Sklivvz Apr 23 '11 at 17:11
  • I don't mean in this instance specifically, I'm suggesting that it is probably a common trend. – Rein Henrichs Apr 23 '11 at 17:12

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