Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hackfest @ RIT

Hackfest @ RIT
This last Friday, the transbot team went to the HOSS hackfest at RIT. This was a great chance for anyone on campus to show up with very specific goals to accomplish for their open source projects and get get help from the local community.

Bug Squash
In the transition to a default .ini file, we kept having strange problems where a lot of what was added to the .ini was not being saved some of the time and was never able to be accessed. After test every possible scenario, we were about to give in the towel. What eventually lead to finding out the problem was opening the .ini file in an IDE with syntax highlighting. What was happening was that when the irc channel was being stored, the '#' character was making the entire line into a comment. Simply removing it and adding it again when it is accessed solved the error.

New Updates
Transbot has some new features added to it:
  • Support for standard .ini config file
  • In channel commands
  • Saving/Removing default channels
  • various bugs fixed
  • Soon to be packaged in an rpm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Transbot Community Testing Needed

Transbot Updates
Transbot is now in its first version stable enough for community testing! The team is looking for help testing out transbot for bugs and feedback. Check out the following two dedecated channels on:

irc.freenode.net: #transbot-test-en, #transbot-test-es

An instance of the lastest version of transbot is present in both channels. It is set up to forward any activity from one channel to the other, translating respectively.

How you can help
Right now what the transbot team needs most is community feedback. To be brief we need help with: identifying bugs, testing usability, and knowing what the community wants for further functionality.

Our wiki test page will be updated frequently describing exactly what type of feedback we need as well as how to submit it. If there is any problems with the page any feedback, comments or suggestions can be sent to mrt8449@rit.edu or tjr1351@rit.edu.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Presentation Time

Recently our open source class presented our projects to a local Pythonista group. The most important thing that resulted in this was some good advice to get out a current copy of transbot. Currently we are setting up a dedicated sever that will host two channels where any IRC user can come in and try out transbot in its current state. This will be a great way to get easy user feedback and get more people interested in the project. We showed a live demo of transbot during the presentation. It went well, but I would like to have more functionality before the next one.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Status update

Currently I am working on improving the command line interface with transbot. Previously it was a bit clumsy and confusing so putting some standardization will help it be more user friendly. Eventually we want to get a basic GUI to run the program so it will be easy to use on the XO laptops without the command line. After doing some testing speed is definitely an issue that will have to be dealt with and at the moment the best looking solution is to implement the twisted framework.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Transbot future changes.

A lot of idea have been floating around the last few days on how to proceed with transbot. It is obvious that the code needs quite a bit of tweaking and cleaning up before we can think about adding onto the project. The difficult part is that there is so many directions we can take to remodel the design. The current method is using an event driven system that uses irc events generated from a python IRC API called irclib. This is not a bad approach, but many of the event handlers need to be cleaned up if this approach is picked.

Another big change is the google translate API's flexibility to detect the source language effectively. The current version of transbot does not take advantage of this which will lead to more flexibility. In a situation where the bot was translating for a channel that contained multiple languages this approach will allow the bot to still effectively translate. Under the current implementation the bot would only be able to translate the language that the channel was currently set to.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Networking 101

The thing I seem to keep hearing over and over from the open source gurus is how important networking is in the open source community. There is a lot of intricate details about how to get projects done the right way, and by right I mean the way that has the highest chance of success. So many details that, try as you might, running a project for the fist time will lead to roadblocks, a lot of them. I have begun to learn first hand how important networking is in all phases of open source development because its the way to get around these roadblocks.

A good example happened today with my project. To move further with the project my team needed to get commit rights to the wiki and git repository for the project. About a week ago, we sent an email to the upstream of transbot and we had yet to get a response. Because we have a short time frame to get working on this project due to class restraints, this was a roadblock that needed to be handled quickly. In this situation being comfortable with contacting the fedora admins(they are hosting the wiki and git repository) to ask for advice on how to proceed let us handle the situation in a matter of about an hour. Because the previous project admin has been inactive for about two years, we were given full rights to the project. Had we avoided networking, our team would have been at the mercy of waiting for the previous admin for an indefinite amount of time.

My advice to anyone starting out for the fist time with an open source project is to make use of what ever meaning of networking you can to benefit your project. IRC, wiki, mailing lists, blogs, email, etc. use them all if you ever mean to be serious about your project.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

One step forward.

I am beginning work on my first open source project which is very exciting. I am currently taking a class that is focused on helping students get involved with the open source community which helped motivate me to get started. At this point most of my time towards the project has gone to deciding what project I wanted to begin to work on.

Because working with open source is so new to me, I am thankful to be working with a partner that has had some experience with open source in the past. Together we picked out a project that we both want to work on, picked roles, and have begun brainstorming.

What we will be working on is transbot. The basic idea is that we can use the google translator API to creatate a IRC bot that is able to translate between two IRC channels that are speaking different languages. There is currently a partly working version of this program that we plan to improve on, but most of it is hard coded and will have to be reworked to be flexible enough.