Help Hackfest

2011-01-31

The documentation team will have a hackfest in Toronto from March 17 to 22. Most of the core contributors are already planning to attend. We’ll finish the desktop help for 3.0 and work on as many application help documents as we can. This could mark the first time in years that we ship a point-oh release with complete documentation.

We’re interested in colocating a developer documentation hackfest. We need to add more content and polish to the new developer demos and finish the Platform Overview for 3.0. Time permitting, we can also review and improve our reference documentation. This can only happen if we have people.

So if you have experience with our developer platform and developer documentation, and would like to spend a week making Gnome a more enticing platform to developers, please email me at shaunm at gnome dot org.

Blip Up and Running

2011-01-14

A long time ago, I started working on a universal project tracker called Pulse. (There’s even a half-broken stale-data copy of it running here, for now.) After a series of refactors and rewrites, as well as a name change owing to the ubiquity of the name Pulse, I had Blip. Over the last week, I’ve been setting up an honest-to-goodness live Blip instance on my VPS. This is the real deal. Information is currently updated hourly.

Highlights:

What does Blip do?

Blip scans stuff for information. You hand it some initial set of information (like some jhbuild modulesets) and it crawls everything it finds. It records history. It finds documents and parses them for status information. It finds translations and records their completion. It finds mailing lists and scans their history. (Mailing lists aren’t being scanned on my instance right now, because I’m working on some changes.) It associates all that information with people, and lets you see what everybody’s been up to. If you have an account, you can even watch projects and people.

What else does it do?

Blip can do anything you teach it to do. Everything it does—every piece of data it collects and every report it generates—is done with plugins. The built-in plugins handle a lot of generic cases. The blip-gnome package is a collection of plugins that make Blip play better with the sort of stuff you see in Gnome. Need another document format? A different translation setup? A different version control system? Just write some simple plugins. Or contract a Blip expert to do it for you. :)

What’s next?

A few summers back, Florian Ludwig did a bunch of work on Pulse for the Summer of Code. One of the biggest things he worked on was integrating issue tracking systems like Bugzilla. Unfortunately, this stuff hasn’t yet made the transition to Blip. I’d really like to go to Yelp’s Blip page to get a glimpse of bugs not just on bugzilla.gnome.org, but on downstream trackers as well. I’d also love to track releases, along with distribution patches and packages for those releases. Features like these will make Blip a one-stop overview for developers in our crazy distributed world.

Open Help Conference