ChangeLog: January 23, 2020 — Student Sprint and Django Upgrade

What a week it’s been. We have two topics to go over: Last weekend’s student mentorship sprint, and a status update on the big Django upgrade.

The student sprint was great!

Last weekend was our student sprint for CANOSP, kindly hosted by the Startup Edmonton in Edmonton, Canada. There, we met up with our new students from the University of Alberta and University of British Columbia, and spent the weekend getting to know them, teaching them about Review Board and how we do things here, and letting them loose on projects.

Students working hard on projects

David giving an architectural overview

David giving an architectural overview (close up)

We may have been sleepy most of the time (these start early!), and VERY cold (had to sit by a stack of ice cubes to keep warm), but everyone had a lot of fun, and have since been hard at work on their projects.

The main focuses for this semester are accessibility and usability. We’re working to make the product easier to use, improving keyboard navigation, and experimenting with ways to offer useful inline help. Much of this work is slated for Review Board 4.0.

Django upgrade time!

This week also marks the end of Django 1.6 in Review Board. We’ve been working for a long time on getting onto a newer version of Django, which has been a much more complex project for us than for most, and we’re finally ready to bump our Django requirement to 1.11.

Diff showing the change to upgrade to Django 1.11

For those paying attention, Django itself is at 3.0.2, but 1.11 is the last version to support Python 2.7. While Python 2.x is now end-of-life’d, that doesn’t mean it’s not in active use in enterprise, and frankly, many of our users are just not ready to upgrade. So Review Board 4.0 will continue to be providing compatibility for 2.7.

By the weekend, we should be on 1.11, and then we’ll be getting ready to test this in production. If all goes well, a beta will follow soon.

If you build extensions for Review Board, you’re going to need to make some changes to support Django 1.11. We have a bunch of useful information on Django updates on our wiki, which we’ll also include in the release notes. Make sure you give the beta a try and begin porting early.

We offer support contracts that cover development assistance, if you need it.

Back to work!

If you have any questions, or anything you’re curious about and want us to cover, please reach out on our community forum.

We’re also on Reddit (/r/reviewboard), Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (featuring student project videos!) if you want other ways to keep up with what we’re up to.

Read More

ChangeLog: January 16, 2020 — Review Board Status and New Students

Hi everyone. Welcome to the first ChangeLog of 2020! We skipped last week due to the new Review Board 3.0.16 release, so let’s dive in and get caught up.

Review Board 3.0.16

Last Tuesday, we released Review Board 3.0.16. It’s been a long time since 3.0.15, and there are two reasons for this:

  1. Most of our attention of late has been on completing the remaining architectural work on Review Board 4.0 (Python 3 and Django 1.11 porting) and RBCommons user roles and billing updates.
  2. We’ve been trying to carefully design and implement some large backend improvements for repositories and repository configuration, in collaboration with another vendor, and wanted to get it right before we released.

We’ve discussed the repository improvements before, so read that if you want to learn a bit more, but the gist is that we’re giving SCMTools (repository backends) a lot more flexibility in how they present repository configuration, how they’re registered for use in Review Board, and how extra data for repositories get stored. This will lead to some significant improvements in the coming months for a couple of our supported repository types.

Now unless we find some major bug fixes in 3.0.16, it’ll probably be a little while until 3.0.17. We have a backlog of RBTools work we plan to release, and we’re still trying to get 4.0’s architectural rework done.

Review Board 4.0 Status

Most of the rewritten administration UI is in a usable state, and we’re just getting it all ready to be reviewed and landed. After this, we’ll be bumping our Django dependency and performing a bunch of real-world usage tests, just to make sure there isn’t some big breakage some place.

(If you want to learn more about the administration UI work and how it relates to Django and the release, read the ChangeLogs from October 24, 2019, October 31, 2019, and November 7, 2019.)

Once we’re happy, we’ll ship 4.0 Beta 1. Almost there!

New Semester, New Students

Every semester, we take on a batch of CS students eager to work on some real-world project, currently as part of the CANOSP program run by the University of Alberta, Canada.

It all starts this weekend at a get-together in Edmonton, Canada, where we’ll be helping five new students get set up, go over architecture and standards, and start them on their projects.

We’ll talk more about what they’ll be working on next week, but they mostly center around quality-of-life improvements to Review Board.

Wrapping Up The Week

If you have any questions, or anything you’re curious about and want us to cover, please reach out on our community forum.

We’re also on Reddit (/r/reviewboard), Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (featuring student project videos!) if you want other ways to keep up with what we’re up to.

Read More