Forum OpenACS Q&A: OpenACS bi-weekly Newsletter, 2003-10-09

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Posted by Frank N. on

First of I believe a quick explanation may be in order. Yes, this newsletter is a bit late, and concern has been expressed over whether this issue would hit the street at all. Rest assured that once the call-for-news has gone out, the news people have spent time contributing will surface eventually. However for a few days I have been contemplating the ease-of-use and general friendliness of Windows 2000 Server, thus the delay.

Now on with the show:

Jon Griffin

Notes that he has updated ref-us-zipcodes to use the 2000 census data. He will also merge the HR-XML person changes to persons, if the consensus is to not support PG 7.2 for the 5.0 release.

Vinod Kurup

As I mentioned in a forum post, I'm currently working on adding Blogger API and MetaWeblog API support to lars-blogger. I've finished Blogger (leaving the blogger.getTemplate and blogger.setTemplate methods unimplemented) and am now working on MetaWeblog.


That's it for me!

Dave Bauer

I recently added a trackback package for OpenACS 5.0 along with trackback support for lars-blogger. This is an implementation of the trackback spec which allows a web site to notify another when a link is made. A good overview of trackback is available as Trackback for Beginners. The way the package is designed potentially any acs_object could be trackback enabled.


Jade Rubick

Project manager

Not much new to report. I'm in the process of adding in Processes, which are templates of tasks that can be used to create a sequence of tasks all at once.

I've also been doing some thinking about the idea of an acs-scheduling service, which would be a generalized room-reservations module, but for any sort of scheduling. I'm in need of something like this to schedule resources for projects. Currently, the deadlines computed by project-manager are fanciful, based on working 8 hours a day, 7 days a week.

C. Meeks has ported room reservations to OpenACS, but I'm not going to be able to do any work on something like this for a while. But I would like developers to start thinking about this as a possible core service. I'll post more about this in the future.

I'm also just start to add in notifications to project-manager. More on this later.


I've developed a new package called resource list. You can try it out at It's still very basic, but I'm planning on uploading it to contrib soon.


Lars Pind


The release is progressing, but there are still a number of worker bee bugs and other things to do, including testing.

Bug Bash

We'll have bug bashing all day Friday, starting CEST at 9.30 am, and moving with the sun to the Americas. Please join, there's lots to do if we want this release to conquer the world :)


Carl Blesius will probably tell you more, but last weekend was BloggerCon in Boston. Carl sent some of us an email about the conference, and how he'd like to present .LRN and its weblogging capabilities there. Simon mentioned how a number of reasonable blogging features were missing, and pointed to various people who'd already done them. Steffen had done categories and CSS stylesheeting, Dave (Bauer, not Winer) had done trackback. We managed to get those in, and I did RSS 2.0. Vinod started implementing the Blogger API and Metaweblog API in response to my forums posting.

It was very thrilling, lots of fun, exciting, to be part of pulling together like this, to get these new features into blogger. If only we can evolve the toolkit in this manner, we're in good shape!

List builder: Bug-tracker, Forums, Logger

I've changed bug-tracker, forums, and logger to all use list builder. So if you want to find examples of how to use list builder, check out these packages.

Installation from OpenACS Repository

On the acs-admin/install/ page, there's now an option to Install from OpenACS Repository. The repository is not actually up, but there is one sitting at my development server at, where the code currently looks. This will change in time for the release.

What it does it grab a manifest.xml file from the server, which contains all the packages available for the given "channel" ('5.0-postgresql' is a channel, i.e., major.minor release and DB type), and their dependency information. It lets you pick packages to install and resolves dependencies like normal, but then actually downloads the relevant .apm files from repository, unpacks, and installs them.

It relies on the repository existing. Thankfully, I already have the code to build this (sort-of). It's in acs-admin/apm/build-repository.tcl. Right now it builds a repository of whatever you have sitting in your server tree. However, as soon as we decide on a naming scheme for CVS tags, it should automatically checkout/export the relevant files for each channel and build the channel repositories.

The important stuff is there, we'll get the few remaining details in place for the release. The goal is that people can install a tarball of OpenACS core, and then add new applications without having to mess with cvs.


State Of The Codebase

Daily files commited/touched in HEAD by all committers:
2003-09-23 :: 401
2003-09-24 :: 55
2003-09-25 :: 68
2003-09-26 :: 127
2003-09-27 :: 102
2003-09-28 :: 4
2003-09-29 :: 57
2003-09-30 :: 148
2003-10-01 :: 335
2003-10-02 :: 67
2003-10-03 :: 53
2003-10-04 :: 165
2003-10-05 :: 119
2003-10-06 :: 28
2003-10-07 :: 18
2003-10-08 :: 42
We currently have 133open bugs (down 98), 37open patches (unchanged) and the total bug count to date: 914 (up 92).

These numbers are way more positive than they may seem on the surface. I suspect people, who have tracked the happenings in the bug tracker over the last few weeks, will agree that the only way to describe what has taken place, is to call the bug tracker a slaughterhouse!

The true measure of progress for the debugging effort is of course the decrease in the number of open bugs plus the increase in the total number of bugs. This adds up to a staggering 190 resolved bugs for the last 16 days!

However I'm happy to be able to report, that there is still enough bugs to go around. Please consider grabbing one (or three) and contribute to the stomping effort, and show up for Bug Stomp Day tomorrow.

Finally I would like to cast some attention to the upcoming OpenACS Core Team (OCT) election. The nominees have been selected, so watch out for info on how to cast your vote, and remember that the rules for the vote does not allow for a Total Recall election! :-) *ducks*


Posted by Frank N. on
Forgot to add in connection to the OCT election: Joel Aufrecht has posted a news item about the election, and notes that nominees, who have not yet done so, have until the election begins tomorrow Friday noon UTC to send in up to 512 characters of HTML for a ballot statement. That would include yours truly it seems...