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: November 14, 2019 — Student Demos

This week’s ChangeLog is a bit different in focus. Instead of the work we’re doing, we want to talk about some of the work our students are doing.

Want to skip the text but see some cool demos? Scroll down!

Student Programs

For over a decade now, we’ve worked with hundreds of CS students eager to get their feet wet in the industry, mentoring them and giving them cool projects in Review Board to explore. Some have turned into features you use today (such as issue tracking and extensions).

There have been multiple programs over the years that we’ve worked with:

  • Google Summer of Code
  • UCOSP (a Canadian university program we were a part of for many years, now defunct)
  • Open Academy (an experimental university program ran out of Stanford, now defunct)
  • CANOSP (the phoenix rising out of the ashes of UCOSP, currently focused on the University of Alberta)

We’re currently working with CANOSP, piloting the program and mentoring a small group of students as they build some features and prototypes for Review Board.

This Semester

We have three students this semester: Adil Malik, Ceegan Hale, and Nicole Hagerman. They’re all working on various projects that improve the review experience:

  • Review UIs for XML, JSON, and Jupyter Notebooks
  • Hiding the content for minified files in the diff viewer, by default
  • Supporting binary files in the diff viewer

These projects are considered prototypes at this stage. We’re hoping they’ll make it into a release sooner rather than later, but a big part of this work is seeing how feasible these ideas are and what sort of work still needs to be solved before rolling it into production.

XML, JSON, and Jupyter Notebook Review UIs

Adil and Nicole are both primarily focused on the Review UIs, working together on some aspects to beef up the Review UI capabilities under the hood.

Adil built a Review UI for XML files (letting you diff the tree structure, and providing options for changing how that tree is rendered). He’s also been working on a Jupyter Notebook Review UI, playing with ideas for how these would be rendered, diffed, commented on, etc.

Hey, if you’re interested in Jupyter Notebooks, he’s looking for feedback.

Nicole built a Review UI for JSON files, the counterpart to the XML Review UI. To allow for custom rendering options required by both, Nicole’s been building out our baseline Review UI support, allowing them to define utility URLs that can, for instance, re-render parts of content based on the toggle of a checkbox. Adil’s been working with her on the client side of this.

Binary Files and Minified Files in the Diff Viewer

Ceegan’s been building out a feature that we’ve been wanting to bring for a long time. Years back, when we first wrote Review UIs, we intended to use them in the diff viewer so that images, PDFs, etc. that are part of commits could be reviewed without having to upload a separate file attachment.

The base of this work existed in Review Board but was never completed. There were still some missing pieces, problems to solve. That’s what Ceegan’s focusing on: Prototyping the rest of this, getting binary files in the diff viewer working so we can see what’s left.

To get his feet wet, Ceegan built another really useful feature that will make web app developers out there happy. Minified files (*.min.js, *.min.css, etc.) no longer show up as a giant wall of text. Instead, we note to the reviewer that it’s a minifed file and they might not care about it but they can click to see the content. Just like with deleted files.

Demos!

Throughout the semester, we have our students put together demo videos showing off and talking about their work up to that point. We’ve recently completed the Demo 2 milestone, so we have a nice batch of videos to show off.

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

And here are the videos this semester:

Adil Malik

Ceegan Hale

Nicole Hagerman

Wrapping Up

Our students work really hard for their projects, so if you have anything encouraging to say, you’d make their day by saying it on their videos 🙂

We’re hoping to get these in shape to land as part of Review Board 4.0 and 5.0, but it depends on the work that remains once the semester is over.

That’s it for this week, though. 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, and Facebook, and of course YouTube if you want other ways to keep up with the latest.

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Introducing Issue Verification and Ship-It! Revocation

We’ve all been there…

It’s a week before the deadline. Your team is working through the night, eager to land their changes as quickly as possible. Your teammate, Jake, was feeling frazzled as he was trying to fix all the issues that had been filed on his review request. He’d just finished the issue you had filed and marked it “fixed.” Shortly after, another teammate files a new review with a “Ship It!” Breathing a sigh of relief, and eager to go home, Jake immediately lands the change.

It wasn’t until after the release of the product that you realized Jake had missed something important in your feedback. While his change had fixed the bug, it had broken another feature. You hadn’t had the chance to look over his change after he’d fixed it, since you were busy and it had fallen off your dashboard once it landed. If only Jake knew you wanted to take a second look, the release would have gone a lot more smoothly.

With Review Board 3.0, you can prevent this from ever happening again. We’ve added a new feature, Issue Verification, which keeps issues open until the reviewer has a chance to verify the fix.

You can activate this feature by checking the “Require Verification” box when opening a new issue.

 

 

Once the owner of the change resolves the issue as “Fixed” or “Dropped,” the status will change to “Pending Verification.” At this point, the issue is still considered open. It will be up to the reviewer to look over the fix and click “Verify Fixed” before it can be closed.

 

Filed a Ship It! prematurely and wish you could take it back?

Now you can with Review Board 3.0’s new Revocable Ship It! feature. The “Ship It!” label on any reviews you file will now have a little “x” button. Just click and confirm that you want to revoke it, and the review’s “Ship It!” tag will be removed, with the “Ship It!” text crossed out in the review.

 

 

These new features will help ensure that important reviewer feedback is addressed and that an unintentional or outdated “Ship It!” review no longer lets changes into the codebase prematurely. These features have been requested by many of you, and we would love to hear if they improve the review process for your team!

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