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Shutting Down Mendicant's Tech -- 2013 February 22

This is a repost of Jordan Byron’s reflection on sunsetting Mendicant’s technical infrastructure

A week ago today I sent an email the the Mendicant disucssion list announcing my plans to sunset the organization’s aging technical infrastructure. Many of the resources earmarked to be closed (university-web, community, anita, mendibot) had not been active for close to a year. One site, however, has seen continuing use despite the fact we’ve neglected it.

Six individuals called out support for PuzzleNode, including James Gray (@JEG2). A small group of us rallied together and came up with a plan to move PuzzleNode onto heroku’s servers. Three pull requests and a few days later the migration was complete. I’d like to again thank everyone who helped make that happen. I really didn’t want to see PuzzleNode go and I am glad that there are others who feel the same way.

So while we did save one app there were several others which, I am sad to say, have been shut down. Let’s take a quick look at each of them and discuss why we created them in the first place:

University Web

University Web is a Rails application which was the home of (Ruby) Mendicant University for the better part of two years. I gave a fairly decent overview of the app in my 2011 Ignite RailsConf talk about RbMU Tech. Here are some fun , and totally pointless, facts about the project:

First Commit: July 27, 2010 by Greg
Number of Contributors: 26
Number of Commits (on master): 1,242 (989 of those mine!)


Community is another one of Mendicant’s Rails applications. It was designed to give our students and staff a place to share the things they’ve been working on as well as links to other works that they find interesting. Essentially it was Mendicant’s personal version of RubyFlow. I’ve kept a static archive of the site online at community.mendicantuniversity.org. More pointless stats. Yay!

First Commit: November 23, 2011 by Me
Number of Contributors: 10
Number of Commits (on master): 296

IRC Bots

Mendicant also ran two IRC bots: Mendibot and Anita. Mendibot, not to be confused with Medibot, fed logs into University Web, helped us with timezone math, plus a bunch of other fun little features. Anita was slated to replace Mendibot and had its own sinatra backend which could display transcripts in html, markdown, and json.

While it does make me a little sad to see these applications put to pasture I find solace in the fact that they helped so many people realize their true potential. I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished with Mendicant and I am so pleased to see former unicorns doing great things out in the world. What the future holds for Mendicant is yet to be seen, but I know I can’t wait to be a part of it.

<3 Jordan