Public Lab Research note

Web Working Group Monthly Recap 2: April 2015

by warren | May 05, 2015 21:53 05 May 21:53 | #11786 | #11786

Welcome to the 2nd monthly Web Working Group report! I'm going to try to write faster this time; last month's took 3 hours to compile, and I want to do this every month if possible. Big picture, our focus was MapKnitter Annotations 2.0, wrapping up MapKnitter 2.0 changes and debugging as much as possible, and trying to get started on Spectral Workbench 2.0. That last goal didn't see too much progress yet, as things were quite busy.

Above, just as a treat, I've posted Github's graph of when in the week work gets done for the history of the Plots2 project. Neat visualization!

This month the PL staff retreat took a week out of the middle of development for me personally, but we still got a lot done. Main Milestones show as follows:


The status board for PL's main code projects

Issue reporting and non-coder contributions

We've made a push to streamline the issue reporting process, and to emphasize the central role bug and feature reports have in developing Public Lab software. Importantly, this is a role that can be fulfilled by non-coders! See especially the What to Report section of the newly updated Issues page.

As always, thanks for all the input and feedback -- not to mention testing -- from community members! As I mentioned last month, if you'd like to bump up or request priority for a feature or bug, please feel free to leave a comment here and we'll see what we can do. For a more complete look at our planned work in the next month, check out the board in the Ready column. The Priority column includes tasks we're still gathering information for, and/or looking to fit into our schedule, in part due to grant support.


Contributions to MapKnitter since 2009! via Github


MapKnitter 2.0's recent launch set us up for work on Annotations 2.0, and mid-month, I was able to push out a preliminary version of @justinmanley's work from the past summer. Please give it a spin and provide feedback -- try this demo map. We also may have a fix for the Firefox/Mac issue, but that is still pending. 9 new issues were also created by 7 people.

13 issues were closed, total -- read more in Github Pulse

Spectral Workbench

Much less progress was made on Spectral Workbench, in part due to the staff retreat, slower than expected progress on MapKnitter Annotations 2.0, and other projects. Only one issue was closed, and it was actually fixed a while ago. Still, only two new issues were opened, and work will probably begin soon on auto-calibration and the graphing system overhaul. Read more in Github Pulse.

Plots2 (

Between issue cleanup and some hard work early in the month, a LOT has been done on the Plots2 codebase; a total of 25 issues were closed by @btbonval and myself, and 8 issues were opened by 3 people -- real quantitative progress vs. last month! :-P

We launched a new "Features" system which moved many temporary content features such as banners and the 5th year anniversary top bar into a database-backed editor which site admins can change without rolling out new code. This has lightened the codebase, almost eliminated content-based commits, and set us up for a possible "de-branding" of the site to make it easier for communities besides Public Lab to use the Plots2 software. We do need to add template caching to this Features system to tamp down database calls and memory use, however.

Notable changes also include a new listing, a login interface revamp, and a major optimization to tag lookups (under the hood) which has lowered our memory footprint. Read more in Github Pulse.

Thanks again to our contributors, both coders and non-coders -- and if you know any coders who might like to get involved, point the at!


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