Discography, ratings, enhanced voting, dashboard, timeline and related tags now on test server

Murdos has been busy merging the various development branches into trunk — thanks for your work. I’ve updated the test server with the latest codebase. Come check out the latest new features:

(to log in use your normal log in name and password ‘mb‘)

We’ve got more bug fixes coming in the next couple of weeks. Also, the next server release has been scheduled for 2008-11-23. As usual, please report bugs to our bug tracker.

UPDATE: I had to clear everyone’s collections because of a bug. That’s fixed now — please start over again.
UPDATE2: Due to complaints by stodgy brits, Music Newz is now called Music News. 🙂

Please help us test the new Collections feature

Our test server is back online and ready for you to come test Niklas’ new Collection feature!

If you’re interested in taking a look, head to our test server.

Log in with your usual account name and the password ‘
Then head to the Collection menu and give the new feature a spin!

We’re now tracking issues in our bug tracker. Set ticket component to MusicBrainz Server, milestone to Server 2008-11-XX and assign to: Niklas.

Documentation for the new feature is here — its still very basic, please help out with documentation or add your documentation comments to the wiki page. There is also documentation for the web service.

Sorry for the long wait!

UPDATE 1: There is a batch add script — stay tuned for details on this.
UPDATE 2: If you have problems logging in, clear all of your cookies for all musicbrainz.org domains.

Running mb_server on Apache2

A number of people have expressed interest in running mb_server on Apache 2, rather than Apache 1 as mb_server currently requires. Our current roadmap calls for the next mb_server release to stay on Apache 1 and the following Template Toolkit branch to move to Apache2. There will be a lot of changes to the codebase going to TT, so it makes sense to make the switch to Apache 2 at that time since we have to test everything anyway.

LAADHARI Saber has created a “quick and dirty” port of mb_server to apache2. The patch uses the Apache2 compat module and still has some problems with Auth.pm in the Web Service.

Given our roadmap, we’re not going to accept this patch into our codebase, but I wanted to offer up this patch to anyone who wanted to use it.

Thanks LAADHARI Saber!

Server roadmap: SVN branches

If you’re not interested in following server development as it pertains to our SVN repository, then skip this post.

Today, Lukáš, Oliver (acid2) and I had a bit of a chat, discussing how to proceed with branches in our SVN repository. The chat ambles along for a while, so I’ll recap our plans here:

  1. Oliver will revert some of the refactoring changes he has made to the TemplateToolkit branch, which throw a bit of a monkey wrench into starting new branches.
  2. Lukáš will merge the old 20071014 (current live) branch back to trunk and the start a new branch for my work on the next release.
  3. Lukáš will then port bits of the TT branch to trunk so that he can base his work for Release Groups on the object model work in the TT branch.
  4. Lukáš the proceeds to work on Release Groups.
  5. Oliver continues to work on TT, sans the refactorings.
  6. I continue to work the next release in my branch. Ratings, discography and enhanced voting will be merged into the next release branch, not into trunk.

This gives us the flexibility for each one of us to work into their direction and it doesn’t commit us to the TT branch. While all things point to TT being the basis for our next release, its good to keep our options open for now. I’ll post a follow up post once these branches have been properly put in place.

Thanks Lukáš and Oliver!

Help wanted for Dashboard and Data Display

I’ve been working on the new Dashboard feature that shows edit stats, hot edits, recently changed data and lots more stuff. Preview the Dashboard and let me know what you think! What other pieces of data should we add to this?

And, I’ve skipped doing proper CSS for this page — I suck as CSS and I’m hoping that someone will volunteer to do a better job of formatting the page and making it look pretty. If you have CSS skills, please let me know if you’d like to help!

Next, is the music newz page (formerly trivia) that shows upcoming/recent releases and recently deceased artists. I’m really struggling with the name for this page. Trivia is a terrible name and so is muisc newz. What should we call this page?

The CSS caveat applies to this page as well — but once the Dashboard gets an overhaul I can apply the same CSS to the data display page.

UPDATE: I’ve removed references to the poorly named suggestions for a reader in UAE.

Welcome Digg'ers!

MusicBrainz was mentioned on the front page of Digg today and we’ve got 2+ times the normal traffic currently. We’ve brought another web server online in hopes of coping with the onslaught and things look alright currently. But we’re certain people will continue to 503 errors throughout this weekend.

We’re doing out best to keep up. At least we’re still up. 🙂

NGS: From here to there

[ Before reading this post, make sure to read the previous NGS related post ]

The question that is on my mind right now is how to build a coherent roadmap that gets us from the mb_server codebase that we’re running today to the NGS codebase, complete with new edit system. The factors that play into this are:

  1. mb_server codebase: This is the codebase that we’re running today. We’re updating it one more time this year and then early next year we hope to move to the Template Toolkit work.
  2. Template Toolkit: This is Oliver Charles’ work to clean up our codebase. Template Toolkit is available for perl and looks like it will be available for Python soon. Our hope is the clean up the codebase so that we’re ready to take on more developers to help with the development — especially as we move closer to NGS.
  3. NGS playground: See the previous post for details on this.
  4. NGS proper: This is the finished NGS that we roll out onto the MusicBrainz servers.

Finally, the BBC has been keen on getting what they are calling Cultural Identifiers. This name is a bit of a misnomer — essentially it would be the release related portions of NGS. Release groupings that allows us a more product centric approach to managing releases. Right now we list and identify releases with different track layouts as totally separate releases, even though they ought to be properly related. The BBC wishes this work to happen sooner than later and have indicated that they would be willing to sponsor this work.

That’s awesome, right??

Well, yes. But there is one problem. In the last post we concluded that we should move to NGS in one fell swoop. And now the BBC would like us to take an intermediate step? As much as we agreed that moving to NGS in one step, I think we must work with our most visible partner. Since we are severely resource constrained (we have just enough money to hire a part time University student right now) I feel compelled to find a way to get the BBC what they want as soon as possible while accepting money from them to boost our development funds. Taking money from the BBC may allow us to accelerate our development schedule towards NGS. But at the same time, it may slow us down getting to NGS.

I’m very much looking for feedback on how to best make this happen and how to best accomplish all these goals. Do you think that adding an intermediary step in exchange for funds from the BBC is an acceptable compromise?