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Time to do release 2.7?

By drh on 2018-09-15 13:00:48 [link]

SQLite version 3.25.0 has just come out, and has been incorporated into the Fossil source tree. And, though incomplete and still possessing rough edges, the new Forum and Email Alerts features of Fossil seems to be working. So perhaps now would be a good time to do a release. Feedback?

As you know "releases" are not really a thing with Fossil. The self-hosting website for Fossil (and the websites for SQLite and some other projects) tend to run off of the latest trunk check-in. In fact, for a long time, I didn't do "releases" of Fossil. I just encouraged users to download and use the latest trunk version. But many users are more familiar and comfortable with the concept of only using "official releases" and so I started making releases so that people would venture to try Fossil out. We have not had a release in a while, and things seem to be working pretty well at the moment, and so now seems like as good a time as any.

The goals of the Fossil design include:

  1. Easy to use
  2. Easy to administer
  3. "It just works"

I feel like (2) and (3) are a little off in the current code, at least in the area of the Forum and especially the new Email Alerts. We need to work toward making these features more automatic. We need to work toward improving the out-of-the-box experience for site administrators. The current setup process for Email Alerts in particular is tricky and not well documented.

And there are still important features missing:

  • There is not attempt to handle email bounces

  • There is no mechanism for users to recover lost passwords

  • An external mail-transfer-agent is still required for alerts. Fossil does not (yet) know how to send emails directly.

Probably there are other important missing features that do not come immediately to my mind.

Nevertheless, now seems like a reasonable time to cut a release in order to get Fossil into the hands of a wider audience.

Perhaps the new release should be accompanied by a Technote explaining its limitations and the "work-in-progress" nature of the newer features.

By skywalk on 2018-09-15 13:56:22 [link]

Yay!
"As you know "releases" are not really a thing with Fossil."
Why not adopt a nightly build approach and put them in the unversioned download area?

By wyoung on 2018-09-15 18:09:37 and edited on 2018-09-15 18:12:31 [link]

As you know "releases" are not really a thing with Fossil.

Since the 2.6 release, there have been several times that trunk has had problems significant enough that they'd have been quite awkward if released as binary packages.

There's value in stabilizing a major change set, testing it, and finally marking it stable.

perhaps now would be a good time to do a release

There are several things that I'd either like to get to soon myself, or see someone else get to soon, but whether any are release blockers is up to you:

  • Flat chronological forum view for mobile

  • Close the hamburger menu on Esc or click outside the menu. I have not closely studied Florian Balmer's patch for this, but something like that anyway.

  • Block quotes should be specially styled in forum posts: in the rendered HTML, it's often unclear whether a given paragraph is a quote or an indented block of new content. (This post is a fine example of this.) Florian Balmer's made a couple of posts hinting at a way to do this. (Example) We should have a <div style="content forum"> style to allow <blockquote> to be handled differently on Forum pages than wiki, etc.

  • Get the test suite to run without errors on macOS and maybe one Linux flavor, probably either Debian 9 or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

  • The sitemap could still use more work. (Potentially endless time-sink.)

  • Maybe some documentation work; more below.

The current setup process for Email Alerts in particular is tricky and not well documented.

Read through the Email Notifications → Quick Setup section of the Fossil Forums document. Then:

  • Should this be extracted to a separate document?

  • Does it need to be expanded, and if so, what does it need to cover?

It purposely doesn't try to replace the docs linked in the section just above that linked one.

no attempt to handle email bounces

I expect the integration needed to do that to be different for each MTA we choose to support, unlike the de facto sendmail -ti protocol.

recover lost passwords

That sounds straightforward to do, but I don't see it as a blocker. There's a manual workaround which works today, and which may eventually cause someone enough itchy irritation to go and scratch it.

Fossil does not (yet) know how to send emails directly.

I remain convinced that it will take a lot of work to get an internal SMTP server that talks to enough other SMTP implementations that you can safely recommend cutting over to it from one of the major MTAs we support today. This should not block the release.

Speaking of SMTP MTA integration, you didn't reply to my question about whether tools/email-sender.tcl is updated on fossil-scm.org.

Probably there are other important missing features that do not come immediately to my mind.

If only we had a way to record, comment on, and triage feature requests... :)

By wyoung on 2018-09-15 18:22:59 [link]

My post above gives us new data about my guess as to whether email-sender.tcl has been updated on fossil-scm.org.

The alert for my initial post above was truncated, which might appear to support the guess, but then I edited the post and the alert for that was also truncated, despite having many characters added before the truncation point. Either I managed to add juuuust enough to force a line wrap to put a leading dot at exactly the right position to re-trigger the problem, or we have a separate truncation problem.

By drh on 2018-09-15 18:53:27 [link]

The email-sender.tcl script has been updated, and the process restarted, as of a few moments ago.

By wyoung on 2018-09-17 08:35:37 [link]

Block quotes should be specially styled in forum posts

I've just checked in a change to the default skin to do this. For a demo, see the following threads:

As you can see, it uses transparent tinting so that nested block quotes get darker and darker. I think it's a pretty neat effect, myself.

By drh on 2018-09-22 18:16:15 [link]

Version 2.7 is out.

At this time, please feel free to start checking in enhancements for the next development cycle.

By jungleboogie on 2018-09-23 00:48:06 and edited on 2018-09-23 00:58:39 [link]

What about using your announcement feature to announce it?

Congratulations on another release.