Monday, 6 August 2007

Sourceforge an adventure into the unknown

Although I have used Sourceforge for a number of years to locate applications and also find fixes to the said applications, I tended to be a list squatter, only interacting anonymously. But now with this project I am having to learn all the nuances of the systems and how to administer them.

Even though Sourceforge may not be the best repository to put our project into it is one of the most well know, as I have already mentioned in a previous blog post. So it is better the devil you know etc... My first delve into Sourceforge was a number of months back now when I registered my self and then the project. This simple straight forward and painless. Sourceforge stated that it may be hours to days before the project was registered, in our case it was accepted and live within hours of the submission. Feeling really chuffed I didn't really touch anything else for a bit. Yes I know that if the project is to be successful the more activity needs to take place, but hey I'm one developer on a funded project, with enough work to do without sitting on Sourceforge.

Anyway, my next delve was to set up a list for feature requests and set up the few other lists for people to use when the project moved forward again. This was still a painless process... But just last week I decided that I really should be using Sourceforge to store all the code, so I bit the bullet and began. In my past roles I had used CVS, and at home we set up SVN so how hard can it be! Well this was just the beginning of the pain and some self inflicted!

After diligently sitting and reading through all of the instructions on Sourceforge, and then down loading and reading the instructions for tortoisesvn. I tried my first upload of the information, which didn't work! I went through all of the information again trying to find out what I had done wrong. Eventually I worked out my error, as I didn't read one element of the document, mainly due to the statement at the top of the section that said new users of the subversion system did not need to read it. However, the answer to my problem was within this section...the URL structure!

It was a little after my initial jubilation of getting the code on to Sourceforge that a colleague pointed out that I had not edited the config file. At this point I had uploaded a couple of URLs and passwords that I did not want public. This is when the real pain started...

I knew from reading the documentation that deleting anything was going to be difficult. My next set of pain started closely after when my brain let me down and my historical knowledge of *nix machines reared its ugly head. Here I was sat at work scratching my head, I had managed to make a connection with putty, and back-up the repository, I just couldn't work out how to get the subversion admin filter to work, or locate exactly where I was in the file structure. At this point it seemed best to go home and get my hands on all the better tools I have there.

Once at home I soon followed the instructions, and then requested Sourceforge run the data import for me. As with setting the project up on Souceforge this took no time at all. But I did get a error...after rereading everything again I was trying to run the import on files which where not in the correct place. Once this was figured out then the files where moved and the import request process run again. This time everything was successful, for the import at least, but I had just uploaded all the incorrect data again. I went through the information again, worked out how to get the svn version I wanted, and went through everything again, this time with the successful out come that I required.

Once I got passed the fact the documentation is mainly written for people who use systems like this, day in day, out and expect anyone using the system will have the same knowledge and experience, it is actually straight forward. Administering the rest of the site has been fairly easy once you start thinking the way they want you to. But I do get the odd moment, like this morning when I lost a request that had come in. I have since found it again, but only through starting again.

If you are interested at looking at the Sourceforge area for the project, you will find it at:


Ross Gardler said...

Sourceforge can be a real pain to find your way around. Well done for getting as far as you have. It's worth noting that the SF support mail lists are pretty good (or at least they were last time I used them).

I must congratulate you on turning off the SF features you are not currently using - most projects just don't bother and this is misleading for visitors.

Nic said...

Thanks Ross, I am slowly finding my way around the administration of the project area. I think that turning off the un-used features is the easiest bit though.