Thursday, October 20, 2011

Project Hosting: Hosted for the Very First Time

This week added another tool to my programming toolbelt: project hosting and software configuration management.

When working on my dissertation project, I used Subversion (SVN) locally to keep track of different versions of the project's source code. This meant I didn't have to worry about making a big implementation mistake because I could always rollback to a previous verion. Since I was the only programmer, I only committed weekly. The commit notes made for a good log of each week's work.

But this week, I setup a test project at Google Project Hosting for my BusyWeek robocode robot.

Setup went pretty smoothly. Google provides a pretty standard and simple interface to all their services, so nothing was too surprising there.

The built-in wiki and bug-tracking tools are pretty nice. (I haven't had a chance to explore the bug-tracking yet, though.) The wiki markup can be annoying--but isn't that true of every wiki system? Personally, I found the requirement to indent every * list bullet by two spaces rather annoying. And I couldn't seem get my numbered list to continue if I included a code block within one of the points. While all the various wiki markups are supposedly easier, I find I prefer HTML in these cases because then I have clear and explicit control. But this was all pretty minor stuff. The Preview button was a lot of help here, so that I didn't fill the revision history with minor edits.

It's also a little strange that editing a wiki changes the revision number on your software. However, I suppose the contents of the wiki and the contents of the code base are highly related, so this approach probably provides a clearer project history.

I did get side-tracked in selecting a license, though. I still haven't found a simple license that I really like, especially among the OSI licenses. Since my Ant build files and one of my test files is based on a DaCruzer robot project, I figured I had better use the same license. (This is fine, since I like the Apache 2.0 License.) However, neither my project or DaCruzer actually includes any of that license information in the source code itself. I should probably look into that at some point.

Anyway, it's exciting to actually have a project hosted somewhere now! Fun stuff.

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