Friday, March 26, 2010

Last Call for GNOME Summer of Code 2010 Ideas! Student proposal period starts Monday!

On Saturday a small group of SoC mentors will sort through the list of ideas on the wiki, clean them up, remove those we don't want to recommend to students, and highlight those we find especially alluring.

If you have ideas for your project, you have today and tomorrow to add them to the wiki before our meeting. Please place new ideas in the "Other Ideas" section.

The student proposal period starts Monday. If you want to help review student proposals, please sign up as a mentor. If you don't use your full name and include details when applying to be a mentor, we may not know who you are, so if you choose to do that please email me, Ruben, or Daniel with your link_id so we don't reject you. :-) We have to be careful because there are some sneaky or confused students out there who try to sign up as mentors.

The ideas page will be under tight control after our meeting on Saturday, but it will still be possible to add ideas if you check with folks in #soc-admin or on the GNOME soc-mentors-list first.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tomboy 1.1.4 Brings Automatic Synchronization

Monday I released Tomboy 1.1.4. Last month's 1.1.2 release was actually the first to feature automatic note synchronization (herein referred to as 'autosync'), but in 1.1.4 the feature is less annoying and you can actually turn it on in the Preferences UI. Here's the only possible autosync screenshot:

Here are some facts about autosync:
  • It assumes the server is always right when conflicts occur, so if you actually found Tomboy's conflict-handling UI useful, don't use autosync
  • When a sync occurs, it desensitizes all note windows, because Tomboy sync is still a bit insistent on believing in transactions.
  • But in theory this should never be a problem for you, because Tomboy will never sync while you are editing a note. It will wait until *at least* one minute has passed where you have not been editing.
  • Besides this desensitization of note windows, there is no indication at all that a sync has occurred. Next cycle, I intend to use libnotify bubbles and/or status icon changes where they make sense to let the user know if new updates have been downloaded, or if the sync server appears to be down, etc. Right now this feature is totally silent, though you can get a few details if you run from a terminal with --debug.

It's unfortunate that I've been too busy to publicize this feature until so very late in the cycle. I'd appreciate any testing, feedback, bug reports, etc. At this point all I can say is that it Works For Me.

Other sync-related news:
  • Rumor has it that Ubuntu One note sync can no longer mangle your notes, unless you use their web editor, in which case the mangling is much less severe than in the past. I keep getting emails from Launchpad saying that Rodrigo has fixed yet another of the old irritating bugs, to the point that I've lost track and think he may have gotten the last of them! :-) This is great news for U1 users, who previously suffered from a few serious sync bugs.
  • I've started the ball rolling on deploying Snowy on GNOME servers (this would be known as Tomboy Online, if the marketing team approves...I still need to email them).
  • We have another Snowy planning meeting this weekend.
  • Many thanks to Leon Handreke and Sander Dijkhuis for their valuable contributions to Snowy in git.
  • Tomdroid 0.3.1 is out, and although it doesn't yet include web sync, the merge is impending!

Another feature in Tomboy 1.1.4 makes me very happy, might upset Tomboy old-timers, and could possibly cause Alex Graveley to destroy my very soul:

By default, when you rename a note, Tomboy will no longer automatically update all of the text that used to link to that note. Instead, if other notes link to the renamed note, Tomboy will show you a dialog (lame, I know, I intend to bind GtkInfoBar for next cycle to eliminate all dialogs in Tomboy) that lets you choose what to do. Here's an example screenshot, with the Advanced section expanded:

Some have argued that automatic link renaming is part of Tomboy's magic, but many many users (including me) consider this dark magic to be a serious potential data loss bug. If you've ever had a note called "Linux", and renamed it to "openSUSE", and been dismayed to find that everywhere in your notes where it used to say "linux" it now says "openSUSE", you know what I'm talking about.

In the future, I'd like to allow folks to have more control over note linking behavior. Many users have expressed a desire to turn off automatic linking, or to be able to link arbitrary text to another note (not just text that matches the note's title). Enough people have asked for it that it'll probably happen, though of course patches would make it happen faster.

Next time you hear from me, Tomboy 1.2.0 should be out, and we should be making progress on getting Tomboy Online deployed!