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Contribution management web interface?

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Contribution management web interface?

Postby elgaton » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:35 pm

Split off from the topic Notice of user removal from the FlightGear forum.

(Cross-posted to the -devel mailing list to gather feedback from core developers as well)

I believe one feature the current SVN development process lacks (and one of the motivations FGMEMBERS was originally born) is Web integration/an interface to manage contributions. I'm a technical user, and have no problem sending SVN/Git patches to the -devel mailing list for review, but I understand that might be an issue for new authors/developers who aren't used to it (especially if, as Ludovic Brenta and others suggested yesterday on the -devel list, direct aircraft development in FGAddon will be encouraged), but are familiar (or can quickly learn) popular Git interfaces such as GitHub.

Specifically, I was thinking about interfacing a code review system (such as ReviewBoard or something similar) to the Aircraft repository; this way, contributors could submit merge requests and get a quick feedback via an easy-to-use Web interface, while aircraft maintainers could review patches (keeping an eye on quality/copyright issues...) and apply them. The same system could be used, in the future, for core code reviews, should it be judged useful.

Of course, there would still be some downsides, such as:
  • more maintenance (a code review system needs to be installed on a server and kept up to date);
  • if the system is used for other FlightGear Git-hosted projects in the future, it becomes very similar (albeit not identical) to the "Merge request" feature on SourceForge (so the use of that feature should be discouraged for consistency);
  • some code review systems might not have a native Windows submission tool (developers could still manually upload a patch and submit a review request, but it would not be as easy as running a single command).
Still, I think this might help future development, but I'd like to hear other points of view - this is just an idea for now.

(Full disclosure: I'm the Italian translator of ReviewBoard).
Last edited by elgaton on Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Contribution management web interface?

Postby Johan G » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:33 pm

Considering how well the web interface for submitting to the scenery database seem to work, something like that would probably be of great help.

Before the scenery database web interface, pretty much all contributions would have to go through one single person and painstakingly be added to the database. In some cases it could take months before models would be added to the TerraSync scenery. These days it rarely takes a week (unless there are some kind of problem).

The two web interfaces would probably be fundamentally different though due to the very dissimilar content though.
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Re: Contribution management web interface?

Postby wlbragg » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:20 am

Here is a little food for thought as to why this is a good idea and why fgaddon isn not ideally positioned to be a development repo as it stands now.

I have been allowed to work toward adding the DaSH into fgaddon, I alone, for now, have commit rights (not withstanding all other fgaddon contributors with access rights). But the copyright holders and all the users they envision working on the DaSH don't. So for now there would have to be a 3rd party repo involved with lax access rights and I alone would be responsible for updating the fgaddon repo. While the idea that fgaddon is meant to be a development repo, per conversations on some recent threads and the dev list, it really is limited on how that can be. It can only be for a select few if you want to keep tabs on commits. We need a way for many unvetted contributors to develop into a single project in fgaddon or we need to have a separate work area for that to happen.
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Re: Contribution management web interface?

Postby pommesschranke » Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:39 pm

On github I can edit and commit files directly in the browser.
That is very user friendly.

Sourceforge does not have that feature. And I don't have commit rights for fgaddon.
I did read the wiki page about fgaddon and I still don't know how to submit fixes
or improvements to aircraft in fgaddon.
(except mailing it to the devel list)
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Re: Contribution management web interface?

Postby bugman » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:45 pm

wlbragg wrote in Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:20 am:While the idea that fgaddon is meant to be a development repo, per conversations on some recent threads and the dev list, it really is limited on how that can be...


Oh no it's not:


You'll be amazed by the power that the centralised Subversion repository has when combined with the SourceForge infrastructure! It's far more flexible than anything on the competitor's infrastructure (GitHub). And if Alessandro gets a contribution management web interface up and running, the FGAddon development scenario flexibility and power will be unrivalled ;)

Regards,

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Re: Contribution management web interface?

Postby bugman » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:49 pm

pommesschranke wrote in Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:39 pm:On github I can edit and commit files directly in the browser.
That is very user friendly.
Sourceforge does not have that feature.


This may change soon:


pommesschranke wrote in Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:39 pm:And I don't have commit rights for fgaddon.
I did read the wiki page about fgaddon and I still don't know how to submit fixes
or improvements to aircraft in fgaddon.
(except mailing it to the devel list)


I'm right in the middle of a complete rewrite of the FGAddon wiki article. If you have suggestions, that'd be appreciated.

Cheers,

Edward
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Re: Contribution management web interface?

Postby Thorsten » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:21 am

While the idea that fgaddon is meant to be a development repo, per conversations on some recent threads and the dev list, it really is limited on how that can be.


I think while it can be used that way, I'm not really a fan of the idea (Edward suggested to have a separate /scratch/ area on FGAddon for day-to-day development - that would make more sense to me).

The reason is twofold.

First, I have the subjective notion that whatever I pull from FGAddon basically flies, but may have quirks which are still to be sorted out - and I would make bug reports on that accordingly. Basically the idea seems to be that people use FGAddon in the time before a release and as such ensure some degree of testing.

That may not be the desirable state for a devel repository. Here I may commit breaking changes if there's a major re-structuring going on, and I don't want any feedback since I know it's broken.

So that would require to work in two separate places (can be GIT branches, SVN directories, or different repos) so that there's one 'semi-stable, feedback please' and the other 'go only there if you want to develop yourself'.

Second, I may want to temporarily use non-GPL material that can't readily go to FGAddon. Say I am contemplating designing an effect and want to see and discuss with collaborators how it looks like - I can readily get a non-GPL texture, so I can use it as a placeholder and study whether the thing is worth doing and then do the work of acquiring a GPL version.

I think we can do all these things on FGAddon if so desired, but it's not straightforward right now - but I don't think the idea that the day-to-day development is done elsewhere is going to die any time soon.
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Re: Contribution management web interface?

Postby wlbragg » Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:31 am

bugman wrote in Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:45 pm:Oh no it's not:

Bear in mind I posted my thought on this before I saw [wiki] FGAddon development scenarios
But that actually supports what I am saying.

Thorsten's post also strengthens my argument.

Thorsten wrote in Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:21 am:I think while it can be used that way, I'm not really a fan of the idea (Edward suggested to have a separate /scratch/ area on FGAddon for day-to-day development - that would make more sense to me).


My point was more to the fact that it won't be fgaddon that we are working in, especially with many contributing developers, it will be forks, "separate /scratch/ areas" on SourceForge, forks of fgaddon, in all cases that the developers are not granted fgaddon privileges.

I'm not even saying that is a bad thing or faulty in any way. It is really the only way it can work and maintain gate keeping and control with out some kind of management interface.

It is still a development repo, but the developing is mostly going to be done at least once removed from the main fgaddon repo with it being the beneficiary.

At least that is how I see it working for me.

I am please to see some of the flexibility presented in the wiki article.
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Re: Contribution management web interface?

Postby Hooray » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:18 am

I agree with Torsten:

http://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/mai ... /34474493/
Torsten wrote:The software itself looks neat and would be useful.

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