Djblets 2.0: Now supporting Python 3 and Django 1.11

We quietly released Djblets 2.0 a few days ago, now supporting Python 3 and Django 1.11. This is a major milestone for Djblets, as we’re finally leaving behind the formerly-necessary legacy version of Django 1.6, with our sights set on future major releases keeping up with the latest Django has to offer.

What’s Djblets?

Djblets is an add-on package for Django that provides a great deal of additions useful for building large, extensible web applications, like Review Board. This includes:

  • Dynamic site configuration and settings
  • Extension support for applications
  • Base for designing REST APIs
  • Consent-based, privacy-first foundation for features
  • Feature flags with extensible backends
  • Avatar rendering and extensible backends
  • Datagrid UIs
  • Database fields for Base64 content, atomic counters, and more
  • Mail sending additions supporting DMARC and smart From/Sender header spoofing
  • Rate limiting
  • Unit testing improvements

And plenty more.

What’s New?

Quite a lot!

  • Support for Python 2.7 and 3.6 through 3.9
  • Support for Django 1.11 (the last version to support Python 2.7)
  • New configuration forms CSS/JavaScript component library
  • New UIs for managing extensions and integrations
  • Extensions can now provide schema changes as evolutions or Django’s migrations
  • A new form widget for selecting related objects (for populating a ForeignKey or ManyToManyField)
  • Utility property for defining aliases (with optional conversion and/or deprecation warnings) to other properties
  • Utility property for defining properties requiring certain data types, with validation
  • Improved way of defining types for REST API fields
  • New template tags and filters for working with object data and custom template variables

Plus lots of new features and minor bug fixes.

The full list is in the release notes.

See the documentation or start using Djblets in your own project!

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RBTools 2.0: Ready for Review Board 4.0

RBTools 2.0 is out, bringing compatibility improvements and new features for all users. The biggest improvement is the support for Review Board 4.0’s upcoming multi-commit review requests.

Multi-Commit Review Requests

Review Board 4.0 beta 1 is coming in the next few weeks, and with RBTools 2.0, developers will be able to post a series of commits to a review request so that they can be reviewed individually or as one squashed change, depending on what the reviewer chooses to do.

Those changes can also be landed, preserving their history or squashing them back into a single commit.

To stay with the old behavior and squash the commits before posting to a review request, you can pass –squash to rbt post or rbt land (or set SQUASH_HISTORY = True or LAND_SQUASH = True, respectively, in .reviewboardrc).

This is available for both Git and Mercurial, and will require Review Board 4.0.

RBCommons users will receive multi-commit review request support in 2021.

Custom Certificate Authorities

If your Review Board server uses a self-signed certificate backed by an in-house Certificate Authority, you can now configure RBTools to recognize it through the --ca-certs, --client-key, and --client-cert options (or CA_CERTS, CLIENT_KEY, and CLIENT_CERT in .reviewboardrc).

Easier Repository Setup

rbt setup-repo has been redesigned to better help people configure their local repositories to connect to Review Board. It offers a more helpful guided setup, making it easier to find the right repository and generate your .reviewboardrc file.

Default Branches in Git

RBTools now understands the init.defaultBranch configuration for Git, helping you transition your primary branch from master to something like main.

Better Mercurial Integration

Compatibility issues are fixed, repository detection is faster, and custom scripts can benefit from performance improvements by connecting RBTools to the Mercurial command server.

And Better Perforce Integration

RBTools can work with a wider mix of configurations utilizing SSL and brokers.

There’s also a new reviewboard.repository_name Perforce counter that can tie a depot to a Review Board repository, which can be used if .reviewboardrc isn’t an option.

Plus…

  • Variety of improvements for Python 3 compatibility (including support for Python 3.9).
  • Additional Git arguments for fine-tuning rename detection.
  • Custom formatting for rbt status, which is useful for scripting.
  • rbt land and rbt patch now accept a review request URL, instead of just an ID.
  • rbt patch can print a patch from a review request without needing a local copy of the repository.

See the release notes for more information, or download RBTools 2.0 today.

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New Release: Django Evolution 2.1

Just a few months ago, we released Django Evolution 2.0, the first release to support database upgrades using both Django’s migrations and our own evolutions.

Django Evolution 2.1 builds on this by introducing enhanced dependency management for evolutions and migrations. Now, an evolution (or its app) can specify other evolutions or migrations that must be applied either before or after.

Django applications that make use of swappable models can benefit from this, as an evolution defining that model can now be applied before a migration that requires it.

See the guide on adding dependencies to learn more.

Other highlights include:

  • Compatibility with Python 3.9
  • Workarounds for MySQL/MariaDB bugs in Django 1.8 through 1.10
  • Enhanced transaction management, providing safer upgrades and recovery in the event that something goes wrong

See the release notes for the complete list of changes.

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Announcing Django Evolution 2.0

After 3 years of development, and a pretty massive rewrite, we’ve released Django Evolution 2.0.

Django Evolution is an add-on for Django that helps developer make and maintain changes to the schema of the database.

This is similar to (and predates) Django’s own migrations support, but allows for faster database upgrades and supports older versions of Django. It’s better suited for the needs of self-installable web applications (such as Review Board) that may go years between upgrades and need to minimize the amount of downtime.

This new major release of Django Evolution introduces:

  • Support for Python 2.7 and 3.5 through 3.8
  • Support Django 1.6 through 3.1
  • Full management of both evolutions and Django’s migrations, using the evolve command
  • Superior compatibility with a range of versions of SQLite, MySQL, MariaDB, and Postgres
  • Full API for fine-tune control of evolutions (useful for apps with extensions, or installers that manage an app’s database)

There’s also all-new documentation, and a full breakdown of the changes in the release notes.

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ChangeLog: May 21, 2020 — Trial Limit Increases, New Releases, Student Wrap-Up

If you’re a regular follower of ChangeLog, you’ll notice we’ve gone from weekly to semi-monthly, and may be wondering what’s going on. Don’t worry, we’ll return to our regularly-scheduled ChangeLog in time.

We’ve been focusing heavily on wrapping up Review Board 4.0 development, testing things internally, and helping many of our support customers get out from under a backlog of internal support requests within their companies.

And just taking care of ourselves during a global pandemic.

So here’s some of what we’ve been busy with lately:

  • Increasing Power Pack and RBCommons trials
  • Several new releases (RBTools, kgb, and introducing babel-plugin-django-gettext)
  • Review Board 3.0.18 release preparation
  • Review Board 4.0 beta and RBTools 2.0 beta preparation
  • Wrapping up our semester with CANOSP students

Higher Power Pack/RBCommons Trial Lengths

We’ve increased the amount of time you have to give Power Pack or RBCommons a try. Now, when you download a Power Pack license, or sign up for a team on RBCommons, you have two full months to fully explore and use the products.

We’ve applied the new trial period to all existing RBCommons customers who are still in their trial.

If you’re a Power Pack user, and have a trial license, come talk to us for an extension.

New Releases

RBTools 1.0.3

Last month, we released RBTools 1.0.3, which was long overdue. We’re going to try to release RBTools releases more frequently going forward, and we have some good stuff prepared for 1.0.4 for Perforce users coming up soon.

We also have two new releases for some tools we use to help build Review Board: kgb, and introducing babel-plugin-django-gettext.

kgb 5.0

kgb is a Python module that helps with writing unit tests, adding support for function spies. This lets you spy on any function or method, whether in your own code or elsewhere, and track all calls made to the function and inspect the results of those calls.

It’s also used to override what happens when a function is called, mocking results or behavior. This goes far beyond the capabilities of Python’s own mock patching, and instead alters things at a bytecode level. Super useful when you want to fake results from urlopen, for example.

kgb 5.0 introduces support for:

  • Python 3.8
  • New spy assertion methods, providing detailed output when they fail
  • Support for spying on “slippery” functions (functions generated dynamically when referencing the function itself — common in some API-wrapping Python libraries, like Stripe)

babel-plugin-django-gettext 1.0

We use Babel to let us build modern JavaScript and export it to older browsers. Something Babel allows for is custom plugins to transform JavaScript, and we’ve introduced a new plugin to help us write better localized text.

babel-plugin-django-gettext lets us mark up strings using modern JavaScript tagged template literals (backtick strings) and convert them to use Django’s gettext localization methods.

When using the standard gettext support, lines are not allowed to wrap, meaning you end up with some very long lines of text to maintain, and if you want to include the contents of variables in the text, you have to wrap in this interpolate() call, which is a pain.

This plugin takes all the annoyance out of this. Instead of writing:

var s = interpolate(
    gettext('This is localizated text, and we can freely wrap lines how we want, or include variables like %(foo)s.'),
    {'foo': foo},
    true);

We get to write:

const s = _`
    This is localizated text, and we can freely wrap
    lines how we want, or include variables like ${foo}.
`;

Better, right?

If you use Babel and Django, give this plugin a try.

We’ll be releasing a new version soon with even better support for ngettext (used for strings that are based on singular/plural values) and combining with other tagged templates (like dedent).

Review Board 3.0.18 Release Prep

We’re getting close to a new Review Board 3.0.18 release. There’s a lot going into this one, but some highlights will include:

  • Preparation for GitHub and Bitbucket API/feature deprecations
  • Compatibility fixes for GitLab, Subversion, and Perforce
  • Improved API support for working with repositories
  • Faster SSH communication
  • Faster condensediffs for large MySQL databases
  • Lots of bug fixes

Expect 3.0.18 within the next two weeks.

Review Board 4.0 Release Prep

Work continues. We’ve had some people test 4.0 early, and found some regressions that pertain to extensions. We don’t want to release with those regressions in place, so we’re still iterating, but the good news is that the core product is looking pretty good now.

Remember, this release is a major architectural rewrite of the product, with equally major dependency updates, so there’s a lot to get right.

Meanwhile, we’re getting RBTools 2.0 ready for beta. This is meant to be used with Review Board 4.0, and features all the multi-commit review support, from posting changes to landing them. We’ll be shipping both at the same time.

CANOSP Student Wrap-Ups

We’ve talked before about the CANOSP student program we work with in Canada. Well, we’ve wrapped up our semester, and I can speak for the team when I say we’re going to miss working with this group.

By the way, if you’re looking to hire some strong developers coming out of college, we have plenty we can refer.

To wrap up their semester, they’ve put together some final demos of the work they’ve done, and we’d like to show them off.

Hannah Lin

Hannah worked this semester on a prototype for a new first-time setup guide for administrators, and some keyboard accessibility improvements in the diff viewer and modal dialogs, amongst other improvements. She’s also continuing on after the semester, working on a formatting toolbar for input fields.

Katherine Patenio

Katherine worked away on RBTools for most of the semester, fixing some bugs that shipped in RBTools 1.0.3, and completely reworking the rbt setup-repo experience (which we hope to ship in RBTools 2.0).

She also did a lot of work on investigating improvements to supporting users with different kinds of color-blindness, which she covers in this demo.

Monica Bui

Monica focused primarily this semester on keyboard navigation improvements in the New Review Request page (part of a big effort toward improved accessibility), and prototyping new guidance for filling in fields on a blank review request. We think that will pair nicely with work planned for Review Board 5.0.

Xiaohui Liu

Xiaohui worked on standardizing how we handle keyboard shortcuts, introducing a new registry on the page that anything can plug into to register shortcuts. This even offers a handy help screen, giving users an overview of all the keys can happily press to get their work done faster.

Xiaole Zeng

Xiaole’s projects covered help and accessibility improvements, such as adding a new Help menu to the top-right of every page (which could provide access to useful, relevant documentation), and making the review request infoboxes on the Dashboard less annoying and more keyboard-friendly. We’re looking to ship some of this in 4.0.

And that’s it for the moment

We’ll be back to a weekly format once we’ve gotten some of these releases wrapped up, and of course any time we have something pretty exciting to talk about.

In the meantime, if we can help with anything, reach out. You can also follow us on the community forum, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube if you want other ways to keep up with Review Board and Beanbag.

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RBTools 1.0.3: Mercurial Features, Commit Editing, Python 3 Fixes

Today’s release of RBTools 1.0.3 is a big one, featuring enhancements for Mercurial support, a vastly improved commit editing experience when landing changes, and several compatibility fixes for Python 3 and various types of repositories.

Landing Commits on Mercurial

rbt land now supports landing commits on Mercurial repositories.

You can land a local change from a Mercurial branch or bookmark, or a remote change from a review request. This will first verify that the change has been approved on Review Board before allowing it to land. Once approved, a new merge commit containing the information and URL of the review request will be placed on your destination branch.

This can also close the branch/bookmark being merged in on your behalf. See the documentation for details.

Improved Commit Editing

Patching a commit with rbt patch -c, or landing a commit with rbt land -e has always let you edit the message for the commit, but the experience was sub-par.

Now RBTools will mimic Git or Mercurial’s standard editing environment, helping your editor show the syntax highlighting or line length limits it would normally show.

Deleting all text in the editor and saving will cancel the patch/land operation.

You can also set a custom editor when working with RBTools by setting the new $RBTOOLS_EDITOR environment variable.

Compatibility Fixes

We’ve fixed a number of Python 3 compatibility issues. These largely centered around:

  • Changes in Python 3.8
  • Windows environment differences
  • Editing or processing commits containing non-ASCII characters
  • Normalizing URLs and paths for Subversion
  • Loading in Perforce metadata
  • Passing --help as the last argument

There’s also a fix for looking up available Git remotes for a branch when a tracking branch isn’t set. Thanks to Joshua Olson for this fix!

See the release notes for the full list of changes.

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ChangeLog: April 2, 2020 — Catching Up

This is our first ChangeLog in several weeks. As you all know, the current pandemic has resulted in a lot of changes and hardships in the world. We’re doing fine here, and our team has stayed healthy and safe, if a little less productive than we’d like as we adjust and take care of our families.

David building a playground for the kids

Still, work never ceases, and it’s time to start keeping you all up-to-date again. Here’s a breakdown of what we’ll be covering today.

  • Support options for Review Board
  • Upcoming increases to RBCommons and Power Pack trial lengths
  • Upcoming releases of RBTools 1.0.3 and KGB 5.0.
  • Review Board 4.0 progress
  • New student demo videos

Getting Support for Review Board

More companies than ever are in full-on work-from-home mode, and this brings with it a lot of new work challenges that are, right now, often mixed with personal-life stresses.

We can help with at least some of that.

Our company offers support contracts for Review Board, which can be tailored to meet your company’s needs. We help with anything from basic Q&A and troubleshooting to custom builds and assistance with developing in-house integrations.

If you’re managing Review Board at your company, and are feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, please reach out. We can help. And we take support seriously.

Basic Support

Basic Support is pretty well-suited for smaller companies that need general troubleshooting, installation/upgrade assistance, or may have other questions.

We guarantee a response by the following day, but always aim for same-day (just depends on the support load).

Unlike our community support forum, all your support requests are handled privately on a dedicated support tracker, where you can manage tickets, provide confidential attachments, and more.

We don’t farm out our support to some outside party. We, the developers of Review Board, will handle your support. You’ll probably hear from me personally quite a bit.

Premium Support

This is a better option for the larger companies.

Or if you’re working on any in-house integrations or need priority bug fixes or need to use an older version of Review Board but may need some custom builds with fixes on occasion.

Or have some terrible emergency that needs to be resolved quick.

With Premium, there’s a same-day guarantee, 24/7/365. We’ll usually respond within an hour, especially if it’s an emergency. I will personally wake up and take care of your issue at 4AM if you need something.

So again, if things are crazy right now and you need a hand, contact us and we’ll talk options with you.

Increases to Trial Lengths

Since things are slower-moving right now (again, with the work-from-home status of so many companies), we want to make sure that you’re not in as much of a rush to evaluate either RBCommons and Power Pack.

So we’re going to be increasing the trial lengths of both from 30 days to 60.

This isn’t done yet, as we’re still preparing the codebases to change this over. In the meantime, if you’re a trial user of either, we’ll try to make sure to be proactive and increase your trial period manually.

If you’re already trialing either of this, contact us for a trial extension.

Upcoming Releases

RBTools 1.0.3

We’re finishing up this release now. It’s a big feature and bug fix release that we’ve been ironing out for a while.

The highlights are:

  • rbt land support for Mercurial
  • A much better commit editing experience (for rbt land and rbt patch)
  • Several bug fixes for various source code management systems and for Python 3 environments

We should have this release out next week.

KGB 5.0

KGB is our Python module for using function spies in unit tests. This lets you track when a function is called, with what arguments and results, and to even override what happens when that function is called.

It’s extremely powerful, and is a big part of how we maintain our large test suites.

We’re preparing a 5.0 release, which adds:

  • Python 3.8 support, with positional-only arguments
  • Workarounds for very corner-casey situations with method decorator that generate a new function every time it’s accessed (what we’re calling “slippery functions,” because they’re hard to hold on to)
  • Probably some new helpers for asserting the results of calls (TBD)

This should be released in the coming weeks. If you’re a Python user, I highly suggest giving KGB a try.

Review Board 4.0 Progress

Almost there.

We were going to get 4.0 in beta form by end of March. That was the goal. We hinted at this last time, and we were feeling good about it, but the impact from the pandemic changed some priorities.

So it’s delayed… I’m not going to give a new date at this point, but nearly everything is ready for beta. We just want to hammer on it some more first, make sure we’re pushing out a solid beta. Pretty much everything, including our extension ecosystem, is ready to go.

Student Demos

As you may know by now, we work with CS students every semester, mentoring them and helping them learn to contribute to real-world code bases through Review Board development.

They recently completed their second demo videos for the semester, showing off what they’ve built. Please take a look. I’m sure they’d love to hear some positive feedback on their videos:

Stay Safe, and Wash Your Hands

(Definitely the catch phrase of 2020, but it’s important!)

Again, if we can help with anything, reach out, or follow us on the community forum, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube if you want other ways to keep up with Review Board and Beanbag.

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ChangeLog: March 6, 2020 — Nearing Beta

These are exciting times, right? While everyone is preparing for the coronavirus, we’ve been preparing for Review Board 4.0 beta 1.

Review Board 4.0 Beta 1

And the coronavirus.

The shelves are getting pretty empty in my local grocery store, but I’ve kept my sanity.

Preparing for Review Board 4.0 Beta 1

We have an internal target date for 4.0 beta 1, which is coming up very soon, but we’re not prepared to release that just yet. Still a couple factors that might need to delay a week.

This beta will feature:

  • Posting and reviewing multi-commit review requests
  • A brand new, streamlined, mobile-friendly administration UI
  • A full move to Django 1.11, with preliminary Python 3 support (which will affect extensions, so get ready)
  • Read-only mode, letting you prepare for an upgrade without shutting the whole server down
  • A new “Overview” mode in the Dashboard showing all incoming and outgoing review requests
  • A new integration for Jenkins CI
  • Live thumbnails for video file attachments
  • Beginnings of accessibility improvements, improving keyboard input, color contrast, and screen reader integration
  • New JavaScript and CSS components usable by third-party extensions
  • An overhaul of the diff parsers, setting things up for some major future improvements to diffing capabilities (including our in-development new DiffX proposal)
  • Removal of a lot of deprecated internal APIs (again, this may affect extensions)

We’re working on the final bits of the administration UI, and expect to be done by end of next week. Everything is in place, with the exception of the Integrations, Extensions, and Security Center pages. But that’s it!

We’ve also been finishing up the work to make our third-party integrations (Travis-CI, Asana, Jenkins, etc.), Review Bot, and Power Pack all compatible with Review Board 4.0, Django 1.11, and Python 3. These are the last big blockers before release.

After all that is done, beta 1 will be a go!

(Assuming none of us get the coronavirus.)

If you are building custom extensions, please get ready to test this beta. Let us know if you plan to test so we can coordinate with you and give you a heads up on what may change.

RBTools 2.0 Beta

RBTools 2.0 features full support for multi-commit review requests. We’ve had the bulk of this work done for a while, but have been really thoroughly testing it in preparation for a beta, which will go out alongside Review Board 4.0 beta 1.

This week, we’ve finished up the work to apply patches from a multi-commit review request (giving the ability to apply all commits sequentially or squash into a single commit), and to fully land changes.

We’re wrapping this up soon. If you test Review Board 4.0 beta 1, you’ll need RBTools 2.0 beta 1.

What else, what else..

Accessibility Improvements

We’re continuing to work toward improving our accessibility story in Review Board. While we’re nowhere close to where we want to be yet, we’ve amended our policies around new UI components to ensure that keyboard usage and ARIA roles are a first-class citizen in any designs.

If you make use of any assistive technologies, such as screen readers, we’d love to talk to you and get your feedback on a few things!

Video Thumbnails

Review Board 4.0 will be making it easier to glance over file attachments for video files. Just like file attachment thumbnails for images and text files give you a preview of the contents, they’ll soon give you a preview of the video as well.

Hovering the mouse over these thumbnails will cause the video to play (muted) until you move the mouse away. Hovering over them again causes the video to resume from where it left off.

This is great if someone’s using video files to demonstrate their feature. We’re hoping to make this the start of some useful UI around videos.

New UI Components

This past week saw the development of several new accessible CSS/JavaScript components, which can be used by extensions:

New Button Classes

Buttons

We’ve historically had a few different ways to show buttons. Any <input type="button" />, <input type="submit" />, or anything with the .btn CSS class would have a consistent appearance, and could be modified by a set of additional CSS classes.

This has been revised to include <button> (which we oddly did not have before) and anything using the .rb-c-button CSS class (the successor to .btn, which is now deprecated).

Button Groups

Button groups

A button group (.rb-c-button-group in LessCSS) is a collection of buttons, packed together either horizontally or vertically, providing an almost toolbar appearance.

Pop-up Menus

Pop-up menus

The new RB.MenuView (JavaScript) and .rb-c-menu (LessCSS) component manages a pop-up menu that can be shown or hidden as needed. It supports full keyboard navigation and ARIA attributes for accessibility.

We’re working on moving to this in every place that involves a pop-up menu, including review request actions (like “Update” and “Close”) and the Account, Support, and Follow menus in the upper-right of pages.

Menu Buttons

Menu buttons

RB.MenuButtonView (JavaScript) and .rb-c-menu-button (LessCSS) implements a type of button that displays a pop-up menu when clicked.

There are two main ways this can be used:

  1. As a single button that will show some text and a drop-down indicator, used just to display the menu.
  2. As a group of action buttons, all packed together (but visually separated), containing a final button that displays the drop-down menu.

The later is great when you want to offer a common action, but make alternative actions easily available.

Like the new pop-up menus, these provide full keyboard navigation and ARIA attributes for accessibility, and are a great building block for extensions to use.

We hope to provide full documentation at a later time on the standard library of UI components we’re building.

New KGB Release Coming

KGB is our Python module for unit tests, which provides the ability to spy on any function and track the calls and results, or override the behavior. It’s incredibly powerful, and we make heavy of use of it in Review Board and all our other projects.

We’ve just fixed up KGB to work with Python 3.8, so we’re preparing for a release pretty soon.

If you’re a Python developer, check out KGB. Tell your friends. Give us some feature requests. Honestly, it’s pretty complete these days, but we need more reasons to bump the version number.

Alright, that’s enough for this ChangeLog.

Coming Up

We may skip next week’s ChangeLog to focus on finishing beta 1, unless we have anything really interesting to report.

If you want to know more, have any questions, or are curious about anything else, please reach out on our community forum.

We’re also on Reddit (/r/reviewboard), Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube if you want other ways to keep up with Review Board and Beanbag.

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ChangeLog: February 20, 2020 — Accessibility, Student Demos

Hi everyone, and welcome to this week’s ChangeLog. This week, we want to talk about accessibility improvements for Review Board 4.0, and show you what this semester’s students are working on.

If you want to watch some videos instead of reading a bunch of stuff, jump down to Student Demo Videos!

Accessibility in Review Board

As we revise parts of our UI, introducing new features and designing new CSS Components, we have a goal of improving accessibility. We’re aiming to better support screen readers, improve keyboard navigation, and help people with visual impairments.

This will not be 100% implemented by 4.0, since we do plan to release sometime soon, but we will have laid the groundwork, working toward eventually being fully compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.

There’s a lot that goes into accessibility on the web, but there’s two key areas that are important to get right, and are becoming a core part of our design and CSS component specifications: ARIA attributes and keyboard navigation.

ARIA attributes help screen readers and other assistive technologies understand, navigate, and communicate parts of the UI. They can communicate the intent of a UI component, provide more suitable labels or hints to screen readers, notify as important content updates, and more. They’re important, and we haven’t been good at using them, but they’re now being baked in to the design of any new UI we write.

Keyboard navigation is also very important. Not everyone can or wants to use a pointing device to navigate the UI, and we’ve identified several places where keyboard navigation (and focus presentation) is subpar or flat-out broken. So we’re making this a first-class citizen in new UIs, adding new keyboard shortcuts for important content areas or operations, and fixing cases where navigation is just busted.

To be clear, these aren’t the only focuses — there’s a lot more to the accessibility work than this. Improving accessibility is a long-term goal, and Review Board is a big product. We aren’t holding up 4.0 for this, but rather expect to spend time throughout the 4.0.x release cycle to gradually work on this.

And it’s a current focus of some of our student projects.

Student Demo Videos

In an earlier ChangeLog, we announced our new team of students working on Review Board. The big focuses this semester are on keyboard accessibility and first-time setup improvements.

They’ve been working hard for a month now, and have just completed their first (of three) demo videos. We’d like to show them off.

All videos are uploaded to our YouTube channel. Subscribe to keep up with content as we upload it.

Hannah Lin

Hannah’s been working on implementing keyboard navigation for file attachments, letting users focus on the attachments and control the pop-up menu (for reviewing, updating attachments, deleting, and downloading). That was her first warm-up project.

Her main project for the semester is working on a first-time setup guide, for new Review Board administrators. The goal is to help them get a new server up-and-running fast by walking them through the main setup steps as they progress through the administration UI.

Katherine Patenio

Katherine’s first demo covers some initial bug fixing work for RBTools on Python 3, addressing a problem where --help didn’t always work. She’s fixed this up and added a new layer of unit tests we can build upon.

Her main project for the semester isn’t covered here, but she’s going to be working on the rbt setup-repo command, helping streamline getting a new repository set up with Review Board.

Monica Bui

Monica’s also working on keyboard accessibility. Her focus in this demo is improving the New Review Request page, making sure that all elements can be tabbed to and navigated entirely by keyboard.

Xiaohui Liu

Xiaohui’s first project fixes up tab key navigation in the review request page. Previously, tabbing to fields would prioritize the fields on the right-hand side of review requests (Branch, Bugs, etc.) before the main fields (Description, Testing Done), which wasn’t really intuitive. His fix brings some sanity back to tab orders.

His second project is to implement common support in the UI for keyboard shortcuts, making it much easier for us to bake in better keyboard support on every page with less code to worry about.

Xiaole Zeng

Xiaole’s working on improving help within the product, giving users both a single place to go to when needing to find documentation or other useful information, and finding places within the UI where we can offer better inline guidance. For the latter, she’s working on adding helpful descriptions and documentation links when configuring repositories, based on the selected hosting service or repository type.

Next Week

We’re getting a new RBTools release ready to ship, so you’ll see that soon. We’re also testing 4.0 beta 1, and are getting that beta release on the calendar.

If you want to know more, have any questions, or are curious about anything else, please reach out on our community forum.

We’re also on Reddit (/r/reviewboard), Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube if you want other ways to keep up with Review Board and Beanbag.

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