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Offline Parsifal

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Status update, March 2014
« on: March 08, 2014, 03:37:41 AM »
I know it's been a while since we talked about where this forum is going. The Zetetic Council and Tintagel have been doing a nice job of driving the Society forward, but due to time constraints from work (for me) and study (for pizaaplanet), fixing and improving the forum has largely stagnated recently.

For this month, this is unlikely to change for me. I'm moving house in a couple of days, which means I'll have very little time to spend on FES, and then it's back to work which is going to be very hectic for the rest of the month. However, I'm hoping for some time off in April, at least some of which will be spent improving the site.

The first order of business will be to get a bug tracker up and running, because that will allow more efficient tracking of problems, including allocation to specific people, setting of priorities and more granular updates on individual issues. I'm probably going to use RT for this, due to a combination of familiarity on my part, and simplicity of the software itself (most bug trackers out there try and fail to be comprehensive project management suites).

From there, I'll put all the current issues in S&C into RT and assign priorities. The bug tracker will have unrestricted public read access, so everyone will be able to see what's being worked on and what priorities have been assigned to which issues. Then, based on that, we'll start picking other tasks to work on in order to improve FES for everyone.

This will also make it easier for any of you to get involved with the technical side of things, as it will be clear which issues haven't been assigned to anyone yet.

As always, if you have any suggestions on how we can better move forward, feel free to raise them in S&C.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 03:39:18 AM by Parsifal »
There is free speech and there is being an annoying twat. This user is exercising his right to the latter.

Re: Status update, March 2014
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014, 12:21:35 PM »
The forum has bugs?!

Re: Status update, March 2014
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 08:58:12 PM »
Daniel 2.0
You don't think I'm going to post here sober, do you?  ???

I have embraced my Benny Franko side. I'm sleazy.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Status update, March 2014
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 09:01:58 PM »
The forum has bugs?!
One that I can think of that might actually affect an everyday user. The Youtube embed code occasionally tries to embed things that it shouldn't. Besides, the temporary fix of page numbering needs to, well, actually become temporary :P
Read the FAQ before asking your question - chances are we've already addressed it.
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Offline Parsifal

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Re: Status update, March 2014
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 04:50:01 AM »
The forum has bugs?!

All software has bugs. SMF is noteworthy for being on the buggier end of the software scale.

Daniel 2.0

Here's a sneak preview:

http://bugs.tfes.org/

I just need time to set access rights appropriately, both for people to browse the current bugs and to take and work on them, then move all the current issues in S&C into the tracker. Shouldn't be more than a day's work, but that's a day I don't have right now.

Oh, and HTTPS for the bug tracker, the forum and the wiki is coming soon (probably this month), now that I've found my passport and can prove my identity to my SSL certificate provider.
There is free speech and there is being an annoying twat. This user is exercising his right to the latter.

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Offline Parsifal

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Re: Status update, March 2014
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2014, 08:21:57 PM »
I got some time to work on FES things this month, though I'll confess to have been working on interesting things rather than getting the bug tracker sorted. Soon, I promise.

What I've been working on instead is breaking up the forum codebase. Our current git-based source tracking works well for making changes and deploying, but it has major shortcomings when it comes to maintaining those changes against newer versions of SMF, as I found when I tried playing around with SMF 2.1 alpha.

My solution is to separate logically distinct parts of our changes. I've already worked out which git commits apply to the core SMF code and converted those into a set of quilt patches, and created new git repositories (currently private, but they will be on GitHub once we start using them) for the two themes we're maintaining, which will be separate to our SMF patches. This has numerous benefits, including improving the reusability of our code and the maintainability of our patches.

The final piece of the puzzle is static assets. There are a small number of assets which need to live on the same host as SMF itself for one reason or another, which will be tracked in their own git repository (this will stay private, as it will additionally contain Settings.php with the database password -- not strictly an asset, but it can be treated as one for the purposes of distribution). The remaining assets, including all theme images and CSS, smileys and avatars, will then be outsourced to Amazon S3 and served via CloudFlare, improving page load times and reducing the load on the server.

I'd also like to say that pizaaplanet has been doing a spectacular job of maintaining both Tintagel's FES theme and the Christmas theme in CN. I hadn't realised just how much time he'd put into those until I separated our change history, and I noticed I've been focused on fixing and improving SMF itself. Almost all of the maintenance that has gone into the forum theme in the past four months is pizaaplanet's doing.
There is free speech and there is being an annoying twat. This user is exercising his right to the latter.