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XMPP based tickets and merge requests with SàT

Lot of work has been done in the past months, letting little time to talk about the novelties. Let's have a look at the most recent one.

For Salut à Toi development, we don't want to use proprietary or centralized software and we use Mercurial, so we have been reluctant to use current popular platforms. With the recent improvments of our SàT pubsub component (see https://blog.agayon.be/sat_pubsub.html), and of Libervia, our web frontend, it became clear that our old idea of using XMPP and SàT to handle tickets became close at hand, so we did it.

SàT is now able to handle tickets on top of XMPP, using Pubsub. There are many advantages

  • it's decentralized and federated, no need to have X accounts to use X tickets handlers. You can also import tickets from third party projects (e.g. plugins for your project) into your website.
  • it's standard: we can handle or fetch tickets in third party servers easily, without proprietary API.
  • it's very flexible: any field can be used, and the mechanism can be used for any list (bug tracker, TODO list, shopping list, etc.)
  • being based on SàT, it's usable on any platform
  • it can be used with gateways, allowing to use transparently tickets from other services (think about Gitlab or Github for instance)

The working is based on pubsub with an experimental addition: node schema which allows to specify a form (using data forms) which will be enforced on each item. This way tickets published by third party clients can be checked and validated. Pubsub offers permission mechanisms allowing to have public or private collections of tickets (nodes in pubsub terms). Comments are using the microblog (which really should have been called blog) feature of XMPP.

But that's not all! On top of that an other feature has been implemented: merge requests. The idea is to have a way to propose contributions in a agnostic way, meaning this can be used with Mercurial, Git, or potentially any tool. Once again we enjoy decentralisation here, and we can have contributions between people on different servers.

Below is a small video showing an example of merge request. We use jp (SàT's CLI frontend) to send a modification to a server. By default, the backend will try all registered merge requests handlers until it find one which can manage the given repository. There is a small wrapper around the command to do basic operations (notabily creating the data to export), the data and metadata are then formatted and send to the pubsub node. For now, only Mercurial is implemented, but git will definitely follow, and maybe a simple diff based handler for basic cases.

Of course the feature is new and it's quite rough: it is not yet possible to specify which lines of a patch we comment, or to use rich formatting. This will of course come soon, but if you want to have it faster, well, merge requests are welcome ;)

You can see it on our bug tracker.

For people in Paris, I'll be at Paris Open Source Summit (booth A2, "Salut à Toi") on Wednesday and Thursday. If you want to support the project, we are on Liberapay.

See you soon for an other post on SàT novelties…

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