Working on standard forge exchange format

As part of COCLICO, we’re working on an exchange format for forges, that should help dump, restore, export and import from different software forges.

There are various use cases for this, like moving a project from one forge to another, but also as backup/restore feature for forge admins. More about the rationale here.

We’d like this format to be a standard some day, so it should have good properties so that it’s generic enough and at the same time easy to adopt. Thus it would be relatively easy to contribute new exporters or importers to an framework (for which we’ll implement basic core tools), while having a long-lasting format that can still be used in the future.

A lot of work ahead of us, and this is just a short notice in case you’re interested and you’d like to know more 😉

Stay tuned, and if interested, join to discuss this topic.

P.S.: yes, it’s a rebirth of CoopX, somehow (see the coopx tag in my blog for more details)

Report from the Hephaistos Conference

As you know from previous posts, I’ve attended much of the recently held Hephaistos Conference, and presented there our experience on developping PicoForge and using Shibboleth.

I was glad to see many interesting presentations and talking to all these people interested in Forges, either promoters of the use of forges for specific communities, or developers/maintainers of forge software.

I’d like to report on some of the bits I remember, hoping that others will provide their reports too.

First of all, I think that the organisers have organised a great conference, for a first edition, and the only criticism may be that I would have prefered to be able to talk to more people from Mandriva there, as the conf was held at Mandriva’s building. Too bad… maybe next time.

Several people were present from Public Administrations or institutions related to this sector, who try and promote the use of the libre software model for developments in the public administrations sector : folks from the Adullact’s forge, and Admisource (the official french administration’s one), or the forge of the Junta in Extremadura, and also someone from Sweden, and even a representative of the IDABC program.

Being able to discuss questions of interoperability was the main topic of interest for me. Some elements have been shown like the search facility between partner forges implemented in GForge, and used by the GForges relating to PA projects, for instance (Hephaestos project at Adullact). Recent activity was made around this topic like discussions in the frame of the Overcrowded initiative, and older bits like our proposals for CoopX.

I think we have discussed interesting ideas like using Web 2.0 techniques also in the forges, things like tagging / taxonomy for projects identification / categorisation, maybe.

Some presentations have provided us with interesting perspective on software development and integration basing on J2EE components, and in particular on ObjectWeb’s technology, like what the IRCAD did with xwiki and other tools. Also, using similar technologies were the elements proposed by the LibreSource project. I think they have developped a very interesting tool, which could be a solid basis for building forges of next generation, but whose paths for adoption by projects in the libre software communities remain to be confirmed.

There would be lots of other elements to note, but I must say I don’t remember that much at the present time, and let others contribute in the comments 😉

Last, we mentioned that we (at GET/INT) are hosting a mailing-list which was setup in the frame of the “overcrowded” project, which is meant for improving contacts between people involved in the field of forges, like maintainers of several forge applications. At the moment there are mostly french-speaking people, but we’re inviting all interested parties to join us… and maybe we can continue with discussions in english. You may contact me for more details.

Update 2006/12/09 : the proceedings are on-line :

Reactivating CoopX : Idea of a project towards interoperable software development hosting platforms

CoopX … that name doesn’t remind you of anything ? …

Well, it’s the name of an old project, started in 2001, whose goal was to try and gather people working on different software development hosting platforms in order to elaborate a standard for interoperability between these platforms.

AFAIK, some progress was made but the project did not deliver anything really useful that could be integrated into the existing platforms. Everybody involved was quite busy elsewhere and the project, only based on volunteer contribution stalled for a while… until its website ( eventually became unavailable (in the meantime a crash of the tuxfamily platform occurred, which didn’t help… but the Internet Archive’s Wayback machine hopfully have saved a copy… although it’s not responding at the time of writing – Update : finally working, so here is the link.).

This kind of idea is still something that might be worth investigating… and who knows, maybe this time, it would be possible to draw enough support to work in way so that existing platforms really benefit from that work.

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