[typo] Typo is getting poor!

Matt Rose mattrose at folkwolf.net
Fri Jun 16 15:45:29 EDT 2006

On Fri, 16 Jun 2006, Scott Laird wrote:

> On 6/16/06, Scott Bronson <bronson at rinspin.com> wrote:
>> Some people are volunteering to update the documentation, others are
>> rescuing obsolete themes from TypoGarden.  This is wonderful to see!
>> Typo may have more life in it yet.
>> But what about Typo's biggest problem?
>>     http://www.typosphere.org/trac/browser/trunk
>> No commits since May 20th, and not a peep from anybody with commit
>> access.  Well, one single peep.  :)
>> http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.web.typo.user/2677/focus=2686
>> r1055 is just not suitable for running a production blog and nobody
>> appears to be merging the patches in Trac.  How can this be fixed?
> I supposed it's time to jump in here.  I've been insanely busy with
> with work for the past couple months.  Even worse, I'm oncall for work
> this week, and just haven't had the energy to deal with this thread.
> As I see it, we have a few problems (in random order):
> 1.  Typosphere needs more detail.  Adding a blog would be nice, as
> would more documentation.  We've discussed this before, but no one has
> stepped forward to get it working.  Technically, this is pretty easy.

This effort seems to have a lot of people behind it.

> 2.  No one is actively committing things to SVN.  There are 3
> semi-active developers on Typo right now (my, Piers, and Kevin), but
> none of us have much time right now.

I would love to help here, and I can apply properly formatted patches to 
trunk, but I don't know enough about the entire typo codebase to really be 
able to hack on it yet.

> 3.  Bugs are getting fixed/patches aren't being applied.  This is sort
> of complex.  First, it's been *really hard* to find patches, thanks to
> all of the spam in Trac.  Kevin's beat the spam back quite a bit, but
> it's still hard.  Perhaps we'd be best off if people would discuss
> patches here.

I've found a few.  I've also been doing a cleanup of trac, closing off old 
bugs that have been fixed, as well as closing off bugs that are obviously 
not bugs.  I think I've picked off most of the low hanging fruit though.

> 4.  We're missing documentation, and Typo's hard to install.  This is
> mostly my fault.  I've been trying to fix the install process for
> months and just haven't found the time.

Do you have any code that you can throw onto trunk?  I'd love to be able 
to at least try what you've got, and open bugs and/or write patches for 

> 5.  Typo isn't very stable.  This is a bit different from "bugs aren't
> getting fixed."  It's proven to be difficult to install Typo in
> different environments reliabily.  Over the past year, I've seen a
> huge number of *weird* bug reports just really don't make sense.  It's
> like the combination of Apache+FCGI+Ruby+rails+ruby FCGI+Typo+DB is
> tough to get reliable.

I think we need to put a bug triage in place.
A lot of the bugs we haven't been able to track down because we don't know 
enough about the environment to place the problem.  I've seen a lot of 
well written bugs that include all the necessary information, but I've 
also seen a lot of bugs that don't include the necessary info to even 
determine whether or not it's a problem with typo, or fastcgi, or rails, 
or lighthttpd, or what.

> 6.  Typo has a huge resource footprint.  For some reason, Typo seems
> to leak memory.  I don't know how to debug this.  In some
> environments, Typo can jump up to 50+ MB, while others seem relatively
> stable.  Unfortunately, *there's no way to tell where the memory's
> going*.

I haven't seen this.

> 7.  Typo has gone down the "more features" route rather then the
> "small and fast" route.  I don't know how to address this.  It is what
> it is, largely because we've added the things that we want and people
> have asked for.  Most of the "bloat" is my code, including things like
> sidebars and plugable text filters.

These features are actually what differentiate typo from WP.  Feature 
differentiation is good, and doesn't necessarily mean more features, it 
just means that Typo has different features.  For example, our post editor 
sucks, but that was part of the design decision.  Most typo users use an 
external blog tool to post to typo, so they don't need a good post editor. 
I think we need to find areas where we can add features that users want, 
without bloating the code.

> 8.  There's no stable 4.0 release, even after months.  This is
> basically my fault, too.  People have been waiting for the installer
> that I haven't been able to finish.  With any luck, I'll have some
> free time once I'm back off being on-call, and I'll be able to spend
> 10-15 hours on the installer.  Until then, can people help with bug
> fixes?  If we can get a list of bugs that are really broken, and
> ideally a list of patches that need applied, then it'll be *vastly*
> easier to get changes applied.

I've spent a good part of today going through the trac site, and I have a 
list of 7 defects that have a milestone of 4.0


5 of these defects have patches.

There are 4 enhancements with a 4.0 milestone, only one blocks the 
release.  That one is, umm, yours.


> 9.  We need maintainers with time.  Right now, I think there are 6 or
> 7 people with SVN write access.  4 of those are basically done with
> Typo, leaving 3 of us semi-active.  If a couple people could step up
> and demonstrate that they (a) have time, (b) know what they're doing,
> and (c) are good at dealing with bugs, then I'd be glad to add them to
> the commit list.

I don't have that much time, I don't really know what I'm doing, but 
I am good at dealing with bugs.  It's what I do professionally.

> So, what am I missing?

All we're missing now is a plan.

I really think we should look at putting out a beta of 4.0 soon.  I can 
help clean off bugs, and start to come up with a test plan for the patches 
that are in trac.  I have NO IDEA how unit testing is done with rails, or 
ruby, but I'll take a look.

Thanks for composing this response.

> Scott
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Matt Rose     mattrose at folkwolf.net    Visit my blog!  http://folkwolf.net
He's an obese Jewish househusband who must take medication to keep him
sane. She's a tortured motormouth Valkyrie from the wrong side of the
tracks. They fight crime!

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