Defense Digital Service revamps Code.mil with clearer, more accessible guidance

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When the Defense Digital Service team launched Code.mil in February 2017, the goal was to propel the Department of Defense into the open source software community.

The team set up a repository on GitHub, got to work on a licensing agreement and by mid-March the first open-sourced project was posted.

But where there was excitement among the DoD engineering community, there also was a slight problem — the guidance on how to release code as code open source just wasn’t very accessible or clear.

“We at DDS are receiving emails and calls on a weekly basis from outstanding members of DoD military members and civilians that are developing code and want to participate in this open source community,” DDS engineer Jordan Kasper told FedScoop. “They want to use open source tools and they want to share what they’ve worked on — within the DoD, across the federal government, and with the wider developer community outside of government.”

So on Tuesday DDS took to Medium with an announcement — Code.mil has received a revamp.

“This relaunch of Code.mil is a reorganization and refresh of that content into a much easier to understand website that provides much clearer guidance with specific steps, links, and differing paths based on project status,” Kasper said.

The site, for example, includes a step-by-step guide showing users how to get permission for projects, choose a license and more.

The DDS team is also working to make it easier for DoD engineers to find and utilize existing open source projects, Kasper said. Code.mil is thus collaborating closely with Code.gov, the home for the federal government’s open source code, and the office of the CIO at the DoD to inventory custom code projects that come out of the Department.

What comes next with this project? It’s ongoing, Kasper said — DDS maintains the defense agency’s GitHub repository and “regularly” helps get projects online.

“The Defense Digital Service continues to field questions from programs across the DoD and provide better and better guidance on how to open source code,” he told FedScoop.

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Code.mil, Defense Digital Service, Department of Defense, GitHub, open source, Pentagon
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