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Showing posts from June, 2009

E-mail notifications for SVN & Trac (SDI 07 part VI)

Much of the email I get is actually not from users directly, but generated by some automated system in response to some event. We are all used to getting these kind of emails - if we sign up on a new Internet sit, buy tickets online or somebody throws a sheep at us on Facebook . Since email is nearly ubiquitous and has many powerful tools for sorting, filtering, archiving or processing messages, it is a natural channel for delivering such automated notifications. Since we set up an email distribution system in the last 2 episodes of our series on startup software development infrastructure, we can make use of it as well to distribute event notifications from the key systems in our software development workflow, which are the issue tracking and source code version control systems - Trac tickets and svn respectively in our case. To enable email notification for every change to a trac ticket which concerns us, we only need to edit the notification section in the Trac config file at /

Archived Mailing Lists (SDI 07 Part V)

In the previous episode of our series on startup software development infrastructure, we have setup the basic email deliver system. The next step is to provide a solution for archived mailing lists. Mailing lists have long been a backbone of the Internet community and there are mature solutions for managing very large-scale mailing lists. The classics are Listserv and Majordomo where users can manage their own subscriptions by sending emails with embedded commands and more recently Mailman has become very popular because of its web interface for managing mailing list settings for both users and administrators. Mailman even has a built-in web-based email archive. Since we are targeting our solution for very small teams, we can get away with an even simpler approach. We expect our teams to only have a handful of members and where people joining and leaving are very rare events. In this case, we can simply use the mail alias functionality built into the email server. To maintain

Local Email System (SDI 07 Part IV)

After setting up Subversion and Trac for managing source code, the next episode in our series on startup software development infrastructure is about email. Email or some other form of archived group communication is essential for a team to remain in sync on any of the important details of the project. Using email for remote collaboration is about as old as the Internet itself and benefits from well established habits and usage pattern. Most open source projects are using mailing lists as their main or sole channel of communication, which means that most open-source software development tools are well integrated with an email centric work flow. Systematically conducting all important technical discussions on archived mailing lists can bridge gaps in both space and time. Email can reach team members who are not here right now - traveling or in a remote location as well as future team members who can read up on old discussion threads to figure out why things were done a certain way.

Code Review App as a Service

I just noticed that Rietveld, one of the open-source code-review applications dicussed in an earlier post is now availalbe as a hosted virtual private application to any organization which uses the Google Apps service. Since I use Google Apps for the @kugelfish.com domain, I tried out the new service by adding it to my domain from the link at this page . As for all virtualized apps, the administrator needs to create a new CNAME in the domains DNS records under which the new service will be mapped - e.g. reviews.kugelfish.com. While there are many good arguments for an organization to use a hosted solution like Google Apps for providing their public email service, I am a bit more skeptical about outsourcing critical development infrastructure. Specially as in this case the SLA explicitly says that there is no SLA, since these are experimental labs applications - a step down even from the usual Google Beta label. But for organizations where code reviews are not yet a fully integrated