Google Summer of Code Report #1

Here is my first official Google Summer of Code report. As I still had classes, the first week of coding was rather slow. However, after my first phone call with my mentor, Matt Zimmerman, things started to pick up. I spent most of my time working on a dashboard/portal for the Debian Derivatives Exchange (DEX). We decided that the best approach to this would be to store as little information ourselves as possible. Instead, we will try to pull most of our information from other sources, such as Debian’s BTS. The main advantage to this is that package maintainers do not need to change any of their workflows, but they still get to benefit from DEX’s work. Currently, I have a python script that gets a list of usertags and bugs for debian-derivatives@lists.debian.org from the BTS. This script will end up getting run by cron. It stores the information it gets in static HTML files. Finally, JQuery and Javascript are used to present the final dashboard to the user. I created a mockup showing how this looks. I also have a functioning website that looks and acts like the mockup, but the code is not publicly available yet (see below).

DEX uses Alioth to host its git branches and website. I have spent some time trying to familiarize myself with the recent changes that have taken place on Alioth, as well as trying to figure out the best way to store and execute my script to generate the website. So far, it looks like people are still deciding on the best way to handle having websites that are updated from VCS hooks (due to things being split between vasks and wagner). I will continue to look into this, and might try using an alternate host until things settle down.

Next, I plan to work on updating the dashboard to provide a way to edit, store, and display certain extra fields of information. This is necessary for certain pieces of information that are not appropriate for adding to bugs and in a few other cases. I will also be taking some time to talk to a few people who were active contributors to the last DEX project. This will allow me to learn more about their experience, find out what changes they feel should be made to make things run smoother, and get feedback on my current Summer of Code work. Finally, although I have been posting updates on my Summer of Code work to my blog [2][3], Matt thinks that having all of this information in one place will be useful. As a result, I will be creating another wiki page about the project that will contain all of the information people need to know. This page will be updated as the summer progresses. I am also hoping to have my code available in a public VCS by the time of my next progress update so that people can check it out and provide feedback.

In addition to the dashboard, I will be working on creating a few other tools to assist with the creation and tracking of new DEX projects. I will also be coming up with a way to generate graphs to visually allow us to track our progress on projects versus time as well as show the work done by people at the individual level. This last task is part of a goal to get more people involved in the DEX project.

While we may only be a few weeks into the actual Google Summer of Code, I have already learned a lot of new things. I am looking forward to working more with Matt and other members of the community over the course of the summer.

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