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VuFind Developers Call Minutes: April 19, 2011

Attending: Jeffrey Barnett, Lutz Biedinger, Demian Katz, Daniel Lovins, Tuan Nguyen, Eoghan Ó Carragáin, Luke O'Sullivan, Preetha Rao, Graham Seaman


1. VuDL in JIRA

The VuDL project is going to share VuFind's JIRA (see here). Please let Demian know if this causes problems for anyone.

2. Integration Testing Update

A new version of the PHP Sonar plug-in has been released (0.4). Demian has upgraded the VuFind Sonar server. The most visible improvement is a fix for a bug in duplicate code detection which was causing contents of the Smarty “compile” directory to show up (though the old bug has been replaced by a new bug, so the problem isn't really solved – see SONARPLUGINS-1093).

Preetha has made further progress on building tests of the record module. Some people expressed interest in trying to run the tests so we can discuss them in more detail on future calls.

3. New/Updated JIRA Tickets

  • VUFIND-173 - Eoghan has contributed a patch for variable search result page size. Demian will review soon.
  • VUFIND-310 - Eoghan's multi-view code has been committed to the trunk (though it is disabled by default).
  • VUFIND-397 - A minor bug fix to the Author module to handle quotation marks in author names.
  • VUFIND-398 - Through the use of little-documented Solr features, this patch allows advanced searches to take advantage of Dismax, yielding much higher-quality results. More about the functionality can be found in this blog post.

4. New Mobile Theme

Functionality is basically complete (focused on search and account functionality) except for cart functionality which will have to be added here at the same time that it is added to other themes. Demian will review code to check for minor problems. Eoghan will also do some testing. Luke is willing to help with development once his other patches in progress are completed.

Also currently missing – WorldCat and Summon support; Demian will look into adding these eventually if nobody else gets there first.

5. Cart Functionality

Luke has built a patch for VUFIND-283 built on some of Tuan's previous work. Currently it only works in the Blueprint theme, but it is fully functional with and without Javascript enabled, and it only requires login for saving to favorites. Demian will review in the next few days and we will try to get some of the back-end code committed to trunk to ease future development.

6. Architecture Improvements

Demian has been reading Zend books and should be ready to start prototyping soon. Vaswani's “Zend Framework: A Beginner's Guide” is not recommended as it spends very little time discussing the Zend architecture, though it does cover some relevant topics and generally provides good chapter-end links. Pope's “Zend Framework 1.8 Web Application Development” does a much better job of explaining the behavior and philosophy of the framework and seems to be the best available starting point.

We also discussed the idea of bundling dependencies with VuFind by default, rather than using an install script to download them on the fly. Bundling components solves the problems of dependencies moving around or disappearing and makes the distribution more stable (since we know exactly which version of each component is in use). The biggest cost is more maintenance on the developers' side, but this saves a lot of end-user problems. The general consensus on the call was to use the bundling approach in the 2.0 release to simplify the installation process.

7. Solr 3.1 Update

Demian began experimenting with Solr 3.1 in VuFind. The new major version causes problems with custom Solr components used by VuFind – the alphabetical browse handler and the custom Unicode filter. Mark Triggs has already updated his alphabetical browse handler, but Demian still needs to test it. The custom Unicode filter may be able to be replaced by Solr's new built-in ICUFoldingFilter, but that may significantly change some search behavior – careful investigation is needed. SolrMarc is also showing some problems with the direct index writing method, so we may need to consider switching to HTTP post-based updates. After these issues are sorted out, there may still be further problems related to other changes to Solr's behavior (i.e. terms component output, highlighting differences, etc.).

Demian has set up a new branch for experimenting with Solr 3.1 (https://vufind.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/vufind/branches/solr3/), but no changes have been committed there yet. Once an error-free configuration exists, it will be made available there for testing before getting pushed into the trunk.

8. Next release: 1.1.1 vs. 1.2?

Since VuFind 2.0 is still a fairly long way off (Summer, 2012 is the current target date for a beta), we need to plan our strategy for the next release.

Important note on release numbering: Demian's view is that subsetting a minor release indicates bug fixes that do not require a new upgrade script… while a full minor release indicates significant changes that require an upgrade. That is to say, for upgrade purposes, 1.0 and 1.0.1 are equivalent, but 1.0 and 1.1 are not.

In the first month after the release of VuFind 1.1, there haven't really been any bugs serious enough to justify a 1.1.1 release (unless you count the SolrMarc Dewey indexing problems, which affect a fairly narrow group of users), and there are soon going to be changes that will make upgrading complex (particularly the Solr 3.1 update and expanded ILS driver functionality). We discussed whether we want to continue targeting a 1.1.1 release, or whether it makes more sense to jump directly to a 1.2 release. The general consensus was that we should skip 1.1.1 and update the next release number to 1.2; we can always build a 1.1.1 version by copying and patching the 1.1 release if there is sufficient demand.

9. VuFind SciVerse App

Demian has been approached by Elsevier to help develop a simple app for the SciVerse platform to embed VuFind results into the platform. This will be open sourced and made available to any interested VuFind libraries. SciVerse is based on the OpenSocial standard, so the app is also probably easily adaptable to related platforms like Google. It currently works by using RSS feeds, the least-common-denominator approach for compatibility with the broadest range of VuFind installations. If you are interested in working on something more elaborate, please let Demian know.

10. Other Topics?

Luke's QR code logic is in use at the SWWHEP VuFind instance; for example, try this link. There was some discussion of what data should be encoded in QR codes (links or text); this option should probably be made configurable if QR codes make it into the trunk.

Next Call

The next call will be Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 10am Eastern Daylight Time (GMT - 4:00).

developers_call/minutes20110419.txt · Last modified: 2015/12/09 12:13 by andre_l