Sunday, September 14, 2008

Launchpad improvements

Launchpad, the development framework created by Canonical, is under constant development.
If you have never used it, have a look at Jay's getting started and code management articles about it. If you know it already, you may be pleased to know that Launchpad has a countinuous edge beta testing program that anyone can try.

If you are getting curious, then let me tell you that there are actually three testing environments:
edge, which is the beta testing environment. You get into if by adding edge before in every URL. If you subscribe to the beta testing program and are accepted, every time you connect to launchpad you are redirected to the edge environment, which uses the latest beta interface and the production database. Every change you make with the edge interface is permanent.
staging, which is a non permanent testing environment. It uses the beta interface, and a copy of the production environment, which is replaced at regular intervals. Here you can try daring operations, without risking your valuable production data.
dogfood has rules similar to staging, but the level of experimental is even higher. Its contents may change without notice.
Using the edge environment, you will notice an enhanced interface (a detail here) and some hidden improvements.

One of the recent improvements is a bug that I asked the Canonical developers to fix, because it was affecting the usability of Launchpad as a development framework. Bug#66344 is about the graphical display of a blueprint dependency tree. In the old application, when you had more than a dozen dependencies, you got a cramped display like this one.

Absolutely unreadable. But if you get the same page through edge, you get this one:

The resolution of this bug is very important for my team campaign of promoting Launchpad. At MySQL developers meeting, which will start in Riga in the next days, we will show the goodies of Launchpad to anyone willing to listen, and since blueprint management are a vital component in every development effort, this recent improvement will make things look better for Launchpad beginners. Thanks to Joey Stanford and Christian Reis for speeding up matters with this bug!
Happy coding!

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