Tuesday, 2008-10-14

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James--Crooktlarsen: Hi, I've some questions about past user-stories to run past you if you're not totally snowed under.14:31
James--CrookThere are some gaps in the numbers, and I'm wondering about the ones that are 'missing'.14:31
James--CrookIt's relevant to mentor summit, people will be likely looking for user stories to work from - and/or writing new ones14:32
tlarsenJames--Crook: Some have been implemented.14:38
tlarsenJames--Crook: when they get marked "Fixed" or whatever, they don't show up in the default view.14:38
James--CrookOh...  my mistake.  I thought maybe there had been quite a few that had been rejected as not suitable.14:41
James--CrookSo does that mean that there have been virtually no stories coming in from outside?14:41
James--Crook..if so we should try to change that before the summit, because otherwise peopel won't have much idea what to 'hackathon' on.14:42
tlarsenJames--Crook: Yes, the stories have been written by existing Contributors at this point, for the most part.14:50
tlarsenJames--Crook: Well, there are 40+ outstanding User Stories already.14:50
James--Crook..yes but many of them are very similar, and my expectation about what will motivate people at the summit is that they will want to do14:51
James--Crookthe 'spectacular' things.14:51
James--CrookThere will be people there who are incredibly fluent at client side javascript for example.14:52
James--CrookAs I see it, virtually no one is looking at Melange other than the dozen or so names that we see on this IRC channel.14:53
*** lh changes topic to "Want to make Summer of Code and the Highly Open Participation Contest better? Melange is the next generation GSoC and GHOP web app - Code and more at http://code.google.com/p/soc/ - Want to contribute? Start here: http://code.google.com/p/soc/wiki/GettingStarted - Logs at http://ibot.rikers.org/%23melange"14:55
James--CrookPartly it is a question of what the objective is for the demo at the mentor summit.  I'm working on the assumption that the intention is to get many people each contributing something, so more people are taking ownership of the project.14:55
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tlarsenJames--Crook: That is not actually my intention ("to get many people each contributing something").  That is something that lh wants, though.15:05
James--Crooktlarsen:  What is your intention for the summit?15:05
tlarsenJames--Crook: I am wary, because the software is so incomplete at the moment.  This is a classic "mythical man-month" problem.15:05
tlarsenJames--Crook: I don't have one.15:06
tlarsenJames--Crook: Ask lh what her intention is.15:06
lhi think it is worth seeing what we can get out of more contributors. we don't have to to take their patches.15:06
tlarsenI am working on Melange at the best pace that the current set of contributors can work on it.15:06
James--Crookwell whatever I would like people to feel that Melange is something exciting to work on, even if people do feel15:06
tlarsenThat pace will be *dramatically* reduced with a rapid influx of "help".15:06
tlarsenlh does not agree with me, though.15:06
lhobjective for the demo is to get more contributions afaic - people are going to have to use it, so they ought to improve it. that was the main complaint we heard about the current web app.15:06
James--Crookthat they have a bit of a mountain to climb to meet the reviewing standrards etc.15:06
lhtlarsen: i think we can manage the incoming help appropriately. these are smart people with years of experience.15:07
James--Crooktlarsen: I think it depends on what kind of help we get and how we ask for it.15:07
tlarsenlh: I wish we could just open source the existing, working web app, and have our only job be to review patches that make it better, but we can't, for well-known reasons.15:07
James--CrookSo it is vital to not ask 'hey please all just pile in'!15:07
lhtlarsen: agreed.15:07
lhJames--Crook: also agreed.15:07
lhi think the best approach is to let people log as many user stories as they want15:08
tlarsenJames--Crook: Yes, but that is what the approach comes across as currenty.15:08
lhwe then do some extensive triage15:08
tlarsenJames--Crook: I personally cannot handle a pile-on.15:08
James--CrookI don't think that's lh's intention.15:08
lhthen let folks know that they can do whatever they want, but we are only reviewing patches in priority order, and we set the priority15:08
tlarsenlh: "we" will need to be "you"15:08
lhpeople are welcome to do as they like15:08
James--Crooktriage... yes.15:08
lhtlarsen: i dont follow15:08
lhoh wait yes i do15:08
lhtlarsen: i know, i'm ready for that. i control the firehose for you.15:09
lhalready planned on that.15:09
tlarsenlh: The coders (me, Pawel, Sverre, Allen, ...) can code all sorts of things, but there is no direction from you, the primary user, in terms of the relative importance of features.15:09
tlarsenlh: That is why we agreed on IRC to the current approach.15:09
James--CrookOK.  Let's get specific about what we can do.15:09
tlarsenlh: It is top-down, with common features needed to get the site running.15:09
James--CrookFirstly, I can cope with say 100 new stories.  Some rubbish.  One or two gems.15:09
tlarsenlh: Once we have that, there will be a lot more room for people to bolt-on specific stuff.15:09
James--CrookI don't mean writing the code :-)15:10
lhtlarsen: it was my understanding that this was the best we could do before the summit. without that foundation in place we cannot get things done. setting priorities for the nicer to have than the basics should, IMHO, come after the basics are there.15:10
lhtlarsen: perfection.15:10
lhJames--Crook: agreed. there is always lots of rubbish in issue trackers15:10
tlarsenJames--Crook: Oh, I'm fine with GSoC mentors contributing User Stories, but not GSoC students.15:10
James--CrookAnd the one or two gems get approved and refined.15:10
tlarsenJames--Crook: Anyone can subscribe to the melange-soc mailing list.  Anyone.15:11
James--Crooktlarsen: Great.  So actions for me:15:11
tlarsenlh: It isn't about perfection at all at this point.  It is about fundamentals, and "there's no there there."15:11
James--Crook1) I post (again) about stories on the melange-soc list.   Ask for more.  There will NOT be a deluge.15:12
James--Crookand if there is, I will be very glad and will 'cope with it'.15:12
tlarsenlh: A tight, focused team will move much faster than having to sift through dozens of potential patches each day, most of them questionable.15:12
James--CrookNOT patches.  Stories.15:12
tlarsenJames--Crook: Yes, work with lh and pick out the ones that are well-written and turn them into issues.15:12
lhtlarsen: that's what i planned on.15:13
James--CrookAction 2 (for me).  I post to gsoc-mentors and point people to the request...15:13
lhJames--Crook: thanks for offering to help about that15:13
tlarsenI think most people don't realize how many full-time man-months (interns) went into the current web app.15:13
tlarsenJames--Crook: sounds good to me.15:13
James--Crookactually, I'd like people to post them direct as issues, like I did, and we weed out the duds.15:13
lhJames--Crook: agreed15:13
lhi have to go to lunch, i am sorry15:13
tlarsenJames--Crook: if the issue tracker could delete issues, I'd be all for that, but it can't.15:13
lhi will be back soon.15:14
lhtlarsen: we mark as obsolete15:14
James--CrookMeanwhile you and Sverre and co can code.15:14
lhor wont fix15:14
lhor even "go away"15:14
tlarsenJames--Crook: I really don't want the closed issues cluttered with a bunch of rejects.15:14
James--CrookDo they not get filtered out?15:14
tlarsenFine.  I don't actually care about it that much.15:14
James--CrookYurk.  Tool issue.15:14
lhwe just pick the right label and filter it out15:14
tlarsenI'll just ignore the issue tracker, basically, and let people point out ones that need my attention.15:14
lhi am in favor of "no go away"15:14
James--Crookme too.15:15
James--Crook(in favour of no go away)15:15
tlarsenI want to code the app, not decide what the app is.15:15
James--CrookI know that.15:15
tlarsenMy objections tend to be about difficulty of implementation, performance bottlenecks, things requiring schema changes later, etc.15:15
James--Crookgo on...15:16
tlarsenThe traditional "patches welcome" model is not for rapid development of something not even at version 0.1.15:16
James--CrookI too think we should not be saying 'absolutley any patch is welcome'...  I mean even one that has no story motivating it, nor obvious reduction in code size/complexity15:17
tlarsenA firehose of interest will derail this project quite effectively.  It would basically be a DDoS attack to the existing committers.15:17
James--CrookSo there are various ways to counter that.  One is to give a really boring talk at the summit.15:18
James--CrookAnother is to ask for the right kind of help.15:19
James--Crookplease, I'd also like to know more about the specific problems, the concerns that casual committers tend to NOT pay attention to.15:19
tlarsenJames--Crook: I really want to be an individual contributor, not a community manager.15:20
James--Crookyou mentioned performance bottlenecks, schema changes later15:20
tlarsenJames--Crook: No one is taking that role at the moment, so it falls to me.  Hence, I take a very conservative view of offers of help.15:20
tlarsenJames--Crook: Without care, we can end up implementing things in App Engine that exceed the maximum request deadline, require queries that are too expensive, etc.15:21
tlarsenThat is the stuff I want to avoid, using a code review model like the one we are already using among the existing contributors.15:21
James--CrookSverre and Pawel would be relatively unaware of such issues.  Correct?15:21
tlarsenThe thing is, most open source stuff, and most products at Google actually, are "shipped when they are ready".15:21
tlarsenBut, that isn't the case with Melange.  There is a big time pressure that feels very unnatural.15:22
tlarsenAt the summit, my plan was to show the app in whatever state it is in.15:22
James--CrookThe review process in Google is outstanding, and it is something open source could learn from.15:22
tlarsenThat got co-opted into it needing to do certain things "to get new contributors interested", and I don't think that is the way to go.15:22
James--CrookI cringe at the memorty leaks we have in Audacity (open source app I work on).15:23
tlarsenMy goal for this project all along was to at least get it to the state where we could run GHOP and GSoC, and then let contributors fix what they didn't like, and have GSoC students sign up for a "Melange organization" and let GHOP students do Melange tasks.15:23
tlarsenPretty much everything that I know of that Google has open-sourced is in working order before we "un-hide" the Google Code project.15:24
tlarsenThis development model for Melange is very different from that approach, and I don't like it at all.15:24
tlarsenThis isn't what I thought I was signing up for, basically.15:24
James--CrookSo.. at the summit, we show the app... let people know 'it's not ready'.  We can do some other things too.  I'd liek to get someone from Nmap involved, as we are currently naive about security.  I know enough to know that we are.15:24
tlarsenI'm making the best of it, though, because I care about the Google Summer of Code program, and I think having the web app open-sourced is in the program's best interest.15:26
James--CrookSo we need to find a way to solve some of that.  I've got some ideas.15:26
tlarsenI, too, think that the way Google develops software works very well.15:27
James--CrookIn open source, code often has started out as one person's pet project, and is quite mature before it gets released to general scrutiny.15:27
tlarsenI am not willing to compromise that belief to do this project "the way it is done in the open source world" if those ways are broken.15:27
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tlarsenYes, and that didn't happen with Melange, and it is a sore spot with me.15:28
tlarsenI feel very pressured to do something that does not seem like the best way to get this done.15:28
tlarsenGears, GWT, protobufs, etc.  None of these were done this way.  I did not want to be some sort of guinea pig.15:28
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tlarsen(and I consider all of those to be "successful" open source projects now)15:32
James--CrookI need to think about this.  It may end up as an e-mail, or I may want to talk again before that.  I'm understanding a lot more of what I see in the project space now, now that I'm getting a better picture.  To some extent we're stuck with the project being open at this stage, and I think it's impossible for you on your own to solve the consequences of that.15:32
James--CrookI don't think it's possible to go closed-doors again at this stage.15:32
tlarsenI suspect that as soon as Melange doesn't need me specifically any more, I will move on.15:32
James--CrookIf that is going to happen then I want to make sure we have captured specific 'care-abouts' that other people are not aware of yet.15:34
James--CrookTalk again later.15:36
tlarsenOK, later.15:38
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SRabbelierlh, tlarsen: school is catching up for me16:31
SRabbelierI need to finish this take-home examn :(16:31
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solydzajstlarsen: ping.18:45
tlarsensolydzajs: Hello.18:45
solydzajstlarsen: Hi :-) I didn't have time to talk to you. How was your backpacking trip ?18:45
tlarsenLONG. :)18:46
solydzajs:-) but you made it18:47
solydzajshow long it was ? 50 miles ?18:47
solydzajstlarsen: I wanted to ask what are you working on right now ?18:50
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tlarsensolydzajs: 50 miles, and pouring rain on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, plus an injured adult leader that required an extra *10* mile hike back to the van the first day.18:54
tlarsensolydzajs: So, two of us actually hiked 60+ miles, including 20.2 miles the first day (and into the night until 3:00 AM).18:54
solydzajstlarsen: oh my :-) nice trip. was it hard for kids ?18:54
tlarsensolydzajs: They all survived.  It was harder on the one other adult (not me :).18:56
tlarsensolydzajs: To answer your other question, I am working on the Question, Answer, Quiz, Response Models.18:58
tlarsensolydzajs: by the way, +1 to the "no roadmap" document :)18:58
solydzajstlarsen: heh :-)18:58
solydzajstlarsen: I'm fixing some code after Sverre's commits, but I'm almost done18:59
tlarsensolydzajs: As I learned a couple of months ago, "code talks, documents walk", when the documents describe code or coding to do.18:59
tlarsensolydzajs: I like the docs that James is writing, about community and the like.18:59
solydzajstlarsen: I like them too, really informative18:59
solydzajstlarsen: who is James btw ?;-)19:00
tlarsensolydzajs: James--Crook19:00
tlarsensolydzajs: Our first Documenter.  He is a "Project Member", but only has permission to edit the wiki, basically.19:00
solydzajstlarsen: isn't he from audacity project ?19:01
tlarsensolydzajs: Yes.19:01
solydzajstlarsen: okie dokie :-)19:01
solydzajstlarsen: regarding SiteSettings and HomeSettings logic, basicaly I can create HomeSettings but right now it's going to be the same as SiteSettings :-)19:02
James--Crook+2 on using issue tracker as roadmap.  A conventional roadmap is only possible when you have a detailed design spec.19:02
solydzajsJames--Crook: hi :-)19:03
James--Crooksolydzajs: Hi.  How goes it?19:03
solydzajsJames--Crook: nice wiki pages ;-)19:03
tlarsenJames--Crook: Heh, and the utter crap floating around in the wiki was my *very* unsuccessful attempt to write a detailed design spec initially.19:03
solydzajsJames--Crook: pretty good, fixing code :-)19:03
tlarsenJames--Crook: that *totally* failed, because I couldn't get any meaningful input from the "customers".19:04
James--Crooktlarsen: ... only possible when you get feedback.19:04
James--Crooktlarsen: yes I can see that.19:04
tlarsenJames--Crook: Yeah, nothing like having some brainstorm meetings, then trying to write a design doc, and having no one to review it.19:04
solydzajstlarsen: it was before I joined right ?19:04
James--Crooktlarsen: I don't know if you're subscribed to gsoc-mentors list...19:05
James--CrookI linked to the user stories request from there, so with a bit of luck we'll have some input from peopel who've used the original app.19:06
James--Crooksolydzajs: How are you dividing the code work amongst you so as not to tread on each others toes?19:07
tlarsenJames--Crook: I am not.  I stay off of the gsoc lists, because they are *way* too noisy.19:07
tlarsenDinner time, be back later.19:07
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solydzajsJames--Crook: I talk with Sverre and Todd and decide who is working on what features.19:08
James--Crooksolydzajs: cool.  What about feature overlap, e.g. read-only-pages (with tables in them) has overlap with questionnaires?19:09
James--CrookI'm guessing here that questionnaires will evolve to be like google forms...19:10
James--CrookBut the user created pages are something similar too - the same code that adds a block of html between two tables on a user created page could equally do the same thing in a questionnaire19:11
solydzajstrue, I'm not that far in coding :-) basically right now I'm focusing on "Promote to Host" functionality and creation of Programs19:13
solydzajsand Todd is working on questionnaires19:13
James--Crookah, I'd misread the response from Todd as being from you.19:14
solydzajsJames--Crook: when do you arrive for Mentor Summit ?19:15
James--CrookHad you worked on Django and GAE before?  It's one of the things that bothers me.19:15
James--CrookI'm actually arriving in SFO on Thursday, but I have to work Friday (at Actel HQ, which happens to be in MV)19:16
James--Crook[I am on the Amarin Thai list - will probably go straight from Actel to Amarin Thai]19:17
solydzajsI started to experiment with GAE when it was released and that's about it. But right now I feel pretty good in this environment :-)19:17
solydzajsI'm at SFO on Friday 3PM19:18
solydzajsJames--Crook: where are you from ?19:18
James--CrookFrom UK, but living in Dublin last 17 yrs.  You?19:18
James--Crook..completing sentence... one of the things that bothers me is that for most people there is a significant activation-energy to geting involved at all in Melange (GAE, Django.... ) making it hard to contribute smaller pieces.19:21
solydzajsFrom Poland, living in Wroclaw city19:24
James--Crookbeen to a mentor summit before?  (me not, this is first time for Audacity)19:25
solydzajsJames--Crook: yes that's true, I guess we are looking for people who are passioned about GAE, Django or GSoC/GHOP and are willing to learn new things19:25
solydzajsJames--Crook: nope, first time too. First time in GSoC for NUI Group. But I was a student in 2006 and 200719:26
James--CrookStudent become mentor.  Very cool.19:26
James--CrookWhat time is it in your TZ?19:28
solydzajs1:30 AM19:29
solydzajsjust 1h difference between you and me19:29
solydzajsIf I remember correctly19:29
James--CrookI've one or two things to do before I go to bed.  Get a good night's sleep!  Talk with you tomorrow I hope.  Bfn.19:31
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tlarsenToo bad James--Crook left.19:39
tlarsensolydzajs: Well, for something that Google-scales but is open source, Google App Engine was pretty much the only game in town.19:40
tlarsensolydzajs: As for a learning curve for GAE and Django, I do wonder what people thought the current GSoC web app was, just a couple of scripts?19:40
tlarsensolydzajs: It is tens of thousands of lines of code, built on top of an even more complex framework that is the "Google platform for Python" for lack of a real name.19:41
solydzajstlarsen: yep I can imagine that. Everything accessing BigTable directly without nice abstraction that we get in GAE19:42
tlarsensolydzajs: Heh, Bigtable is just as nice.19:42
tlarsensolydzajs: The "abstraction" equivalent to db.Model is protobufs, and it is just as flexible (and multi-language).19:43
tpbTitle: protobuf - Google Code (at code.google.com)19:43
tlarsenNot more difficult, or better or worse, just different.19:43
solydzajstlarsen: yep I read about it and it was open sourced.19:44
tlarsenAlso, EZT templates instead of Django.  Django is much nicer.19:44
solydzajstlarsen: I'm going to bed 2AM here :-) I will catch you tomorrow20:02
tlarsensolydzajs: G'night!20:02
solydzajstlarsen: G'night :-)20:02
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