Just a short comment on Pat Gainer's work on ascorbate developers: see his articles here and here. One beautiful aspect of Ascorbic Acid is that it works both as a developing agent and as a preservative for Metol, that's why Pat was able to formulate sulfite free developers with acceptable shelf life. Unlike Sodium Sulfite, Ascorbic Acid is neither a silver solvent not an alkali, therefore Pat Gainer's recipes use TEA (Triethanolamine) as solvent and alkali.
If all that doesn't make much sense to you right now, don't worry, after reading a few of the recommended books it will!
PS: If maximum simplification is what you are looking for, use 2g NaOH with 2g Metol in one liter of water. If you can't get NaOH, use 10g/l Na2CO3. Expect some fog, some loss of film speed and poor grain, but you should get some results.