Art Lowel: From commitment to committer

January 13, 2017
Open RepositoryDSpace ExpressCustom DSpace
After years of commitment to the DSpace project, Art Lowel officially receives the status of DSpace Committer

Art Lowel joined Atmire back in 2006, when the company was only a couple of months old. We just settled in our first real office and realised we needed an extra team member to get all of the work done. So we hired Art as the first Atmire employee ever.

Art always had a keen interest in user interfaces, which is likely the reason why he started developing his own theme when XMLUI came out. Later on this theme was contributed back to the DSpace community and became better known as Mirage 1. At that time Art probably did not know he had started a new trend in XMLUI, but it turned out that way as many institutions implemented his Mirage 1 and would use it for years.

With a growing focus on the mobile first paradigm it was clear the Mirage 1 theme would not fit the bill in the future. So in 2013, when he recently became Atmire’s R&D manager, Art began developing a successor of his popular theme. This time it would be an entirely responsive one, which focusses on multi-device use of the repository. It will probably not surprise you this new theme was the Mirage 2 responsive theme which was eventually also contributed back to the DSpace community. Through the uptake of Art’s Mirage 2 theme by over 300 repositories it became the preferred XMLUI theme for universities and research institutions around the world.

Towards a Unified UI

Up to now DSpace still operates with two separate user interfaces. This means there are currently two sub-communities each developing for a user interfaces. If a new feature is integrated in one interface, it will also have to be ported to the other one. This does happen on a fairly robust basis, but despite all the effort there are still some functional differences between both user interfaces. This is why the DSpace community decided the time has come to create a new user interface, built upon modern day technology and replacing the current two UI’s.

Because of his experience in user interface and theme development, Art is Atmire’s main contributor for this new Angular 2 user interface. He is facilitating the collaboration of the DSpace 7 UI working group members in bi-weekly calls. The main goal of this DSpace 7 UI working group is to have the new user interface ready for inclusion in DSpace 7. As an unofficial secondary goal they will also try to bring a first version or concept to the Open Repositories conference in Brisbane.

Committer status

All of his hard work, dedication and the positive uptake of Art’s previous user interfaces led him to obtain the title of DSpace committer a month ago. As the 5th Atmire member to obtain this DSpace committer status, we are happy to have him on our team.

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