When I started developing WaterOnMars, the fashionable toolkit for web GUI work was the version 2 of Twitter Bootstrap. Of course, by the time my project reached a truly usable state, the version 3 of bootstrap was released and the version 2 stopped being maintained. Another example of the perpetual obsolescence developers have had to face since the dawn of time (e.g the 70’s).
Version 3’s major feature being its first class support for mobile platform and my main usage of WaterOnMars being via a tablet, migrating was really tempting but I had no idea how much work I’d have to put into it.
I did it a few weeks a go though and the good news was that it’s been much much easier that I thought.
Despite spending currently more time using my WaterOnMars feed reader than developing it, I’m still making small improvements to it. And to make my life easier I could count on a solid little project: fabric !
fabric is a Python based command-line utility designed to help running commands remotely: typically to deploy a web app on a remote server.
So I’m using it to deploy WaterOnMars on my personal server and also to deploy the demo version on heroku. But more recently I added fabric’s configuration file (the “fabfile”) to the sources of the project as an officially maintained helper for development tasks. It’s now usable to run the test suite, to launch the web app locally, to set-up the db and to deploy it on custom servers.
A new minor release of Yapsy has arrived (announced on Sourceforge).
As it happens this is the first one entirely done with the new PEP440 compliant versioning scheme that still makes it possible to release both python2 and 3 versions under the same version number.
A few days ago I came across some news about OpenHatch and discovered this non-profit that aims at helping would-be open-source contributors to find projects to contribute too.
I must say that I find this idea really nice. Of course that’s yet another open-source project directory coming after sourceforge, github, ohloh etc but what I like here is that they also try to formalize a way to define entry points for beginners (with specific tags on issues and a small pre-formatted FAQ).
So I decided to give it a try and see if I can attract would-be contributors to some of my projects, especially wateronmars, yapsy and shivasmiles. I expect that for all of these projects there is still a long way to go to make them perfectly welcoming to beginners, but the first step is done and we’ll see if we can do something out of that.
Another reason I like this “openhatch” idea is that in my actual job, when I interview people to hire, the ones that have contributed significantly to open source projects usually stand out. It’s far from being a strict selection criteria of course but usually a good sign anyway.
I’ve been using wateronmars on a daily basis for approx. 3 weeks now and here are my first impressions:
- Christmas time is the worst possible time period when to test a news reader (most of the feeds I’m subscribed to where on a break then)
- considering a beta test period before bragging about one’s software is a must (the last two big shameful bugs were detected and corrected during the first week)
- it’s really great to use a news reader again ! (I stopped trying other readers after the shutdown of Google reader)
Apart from that wateronmars has improved a little with some bug fixing and some speed optimization but most of all I’ve added a new way to display the sieve that is specific to mobile devices. It can be seen on the demo site (and even without a mobile device by selecting the “carousel” view).
By customizing a little Twitter Bootstrap‘s carousel and pluging in the TouchSwipe-Jquery-Plugin library it was relatively easy to handle a”(touch) swipe”.
So we can now go through the news as with a pysical newspaper, and it’s become my main way to use wateronmars :)