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The “TomEE for the Holidays” campaign ended on January 16th of this year. It was great to see so many new Contributors (close to 50) join the TomEE project. In addition, participation from veteran contributors skyrocketed resulting in a level of communication and collaboration that would make any open source community proud.

With the success of the “TomEE for the Holidays” initiative, the question became obvious: “How can we (Tomitribe) maintain a high level of participation and comradery in the project?” There were many things that made “TomEE for the Holidays” a success. Encouraging people new to open source to join TomEE was extremely important. Many of the new Contributors have never participated in open source before, yet they jumped in and have continued to make important contributions.

Our continued commitment to a positive and helpful community was also key. The veteran Contributors reached out and helped the new Contributors to be successful with a generous welcome, pointers on getting started, and guidance throughout.

Finally, recognizing achievements and contributions in a way that everyone could celebrate made a big difference. When a new community member made their first merged Pull-Request, we celebrated the contribution with a fun tweet and customized banner like the one below.

Continuing to welcome people new to TomEE and providing a positive and encouraging environment will be easy to maintain because that’s just how the TomEE community behaves. The question became: “How do we continue to recognize not only first-time contributions but continued efforts by all of TomEE’s community members?” We decided that a great way to do that is to implement a digital badge system.

While we will continue to recognize first-time contributions, we will also recognize on-going efforts and special contributions from community members by awarding digital badges and announcing those awards on the @tomitribe twitter channel.

The Pull-Request Badges

The first category of recognition is merged Pull-Requests. A merged Pull-Request is essentially a contribution of code, examples, or documentation that are added permanently to the TomEE project as a whole. When a Contributor, YOU, have a pull-request merged, it means you have made a substantial difference and that your continued actions are deserving of acknowledgment visible to all in the TomEE community.

The first set of pull-request badges, designed by Ryan St. James, will celebrate new Contributors that are just getting started as well as those who have have been consistently collaborating. Each badge recognizes a certain threshold in the form of merged Pull-Requests. There are six new Pull-Request Badges with plans to expand the program to higher level contributions. The bar for obtaining these badges rises as the contributions become more substantial, making the process fun and challenging.

1st Pull-Request Badge

The badge for “1st Pull-Request” recognizes a person who has taken the leap of joining the TomEE community and, possibly for the first time, contributing their time and talents to an open source project. As is the case with all awards, when someone earns this badge it will be announced on our twitter channel.

The 5th and 10th Pull-Request Badges

The next hurdle is getting beyond the first contribution and making 5 and 10 merged pull-requests. This badge shows that you, the Contributor, are committed (no pun intended) to the TomEE project and have already donated a good deal of time and effort.

The 20th and 40th Pull-Request Badges

Moving forward the challenge gets bigger and the badge becomes more iconic. At 20 merged pull-requests, the badge features the Millennium Falcon and at 40 the starship Enterprise.

The 100th Pull-Request Badge

At 100 pull-requests you are rewarded with our highest honor (so far), the TARDIS badge.

Badges, Tweets, and the Hall of Heroes

When a TomEE contributor is awarded a badge it is announced on the Tomitribe’s twitter channel (@tomitribe). We will also feature that contributor and their badges on the “Hall of Heroes”, a web page dedicated to recognizing everyone’s efforts. We are still working on the design of that web page, yet we think it’s going to be a great way to show our appreciation and promote TomEE community members.

Recognizing Other Contributions

There are other categories – beyond pull-requests – that are worthy of recognition. For instance, long-standing Contributors who may have passed 100 pull-requests long ago should be recognized. Those recognitions will be announced organically as we figure out what is important and should be recognized. Join the conversation and help us define other award badges.

The Launch of “TomEE for Every Day!”

This week, the recognition of contribution levels beyond “1st Pull-Request” goes into effect beginning with the “5th Pull-Request” badge and after that the 10th and, soon, 20th. Keep an eye on the Tomitribe Twitter channel to see who is getting these awards!


Sometimes contributing to open source feels like a thankless task. Your code goes in and better software is the result, but who really knows? Who remembers? While some people may not care, I think most Contributors want to be recognized for their hard work – especially when it’s time donated to the OSS Project. We hope the new digital badge initiative will help us to thank TomEE’s generous Contributors.

If you are interested in joining the TomEE community then join the mailing lists and introduce yourself! You might want to start by reading “It’s Easy! Get the TomEE Source Code and Join the Community” and the “Contribution tips” article on TomEE’s Community page.

Richard Monson-Haefel

Richard Monson-Haefel

Richard has more the 24 years of experience as a professional software developer and architect. He has written five books on enterprise Java including EJB, JMS, web services, and software architecture. He has served on the JCP executive committee and multiple expert groups, is the co-founder of OpenEJB and Apache Geronimo, was a Sr. Analyst for Burton Group (aka Gartner), and is a celebrated public speaker.

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