REBOL Technologies

R3.0 Plan for February 2009

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
2-Feb-2009 19:42 GMT

Article #0389
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Pleae let me know if you find these "monthly plan" postings useful. The intent is to give you a better idea of how things have progressed and where we're headed.

During January, here's what happened...

  • Released R3 alphas 26-33 with fixes and improvements.
  • Mid-month we reached a milestone of making R3 public for testing and greater participation and feedback of developers.
  • Added a web URL for downloading latest versions.
  • Created a new welcome/intro page for R3 alpha users. It's purpose is to cover all the basics user need to know to get started. We've really tried to keep it short and to the point, and all users need to read it.
  • Implemented an update mechanism for R3 (the UPGRADE function). It checks your version, and downloads the latest (compressed then expanded, so its faster).
  • Merged in DevBase contributed code into new releases. (Thanks BrianH!)
  • Implemented the LOAD-GUI function. You can put this at the top of your test apps to automatically download the latest GUI module (via HTTP). As features are added, you'll automatically get them.
  • RebDev (the future DevBase) began serving as our primary development communication channel. (Hooray!) Although AltME worlds are still available, most of the "official" dev talk is in RebDev now. Various new content sections have been added.
  • RebDev server and client development continued with dozens of enhancements. 24 official versions were released (0.1.1-0.3.5), with some as major rewrites. See section #115 for the full list.
  • Wrote a RebDev Quick Start to get new users up-to-speed quickly.
  • File-sharing for RebDev has been implemented, including submission, acceptance, and denial mechanisms. But, we're still thinking about how best to structure these directories. The main issue is if we should allow files to be posted under message sections, or if they should be a separate tree.
  • Moved RebDev to a faster server due to overloading of our primary rebol.net server (most likely due to Mediawiki use of MySQL and PHP.)
  • Opened RebDev to more users, and it quickly grew to 50 accounts, at which point we discovered a problem with Unicode and had to limit new accounts. The problem is that the RebDev server itself is running R2 which does not support Unicode. The fix is pending, as it requires we code-walk the entire user-management module of REBOL/services in order to support Unicoded accounts. Another possibility is to move the server to R3.
  • RebDev cell-phone viewing client is online and provides a good way to read messages when you're not in front of a computer. Although optimized for the Apple iPhone (and other larger screen mobile devices) it seems to work well for other devices (we even read it regularly the Sony PSP handheld game device and it looks great).
  • The dev community began specifying requirements for the R3 DLL interface. The main objectives, specs, and comments were published on DocBase. (Thanks Robert!)
  • Added a community page to our primary website. Comments and additions should be posted to section #831 on RebDev and we'll make them quickly (contact Petr). The older support page will be deprecated, as the times have changed in the world of software.
  • Began the monumental effort of updating REBOL's primary documentation base for R3. With approximately 1200 pages involved in this effort, we're not convinced that our current DocBase wiki (powered by the Mediawiki system) is the best approach. The core issue is avoiding complexity. Right now we can easily manipulate the entire archive using simple REBOL scripts. We'd like to keep it lightweight like that. Current thought is to keep the primary documentation in its MakeDoc format, but link to MediaWiki database for user contributed sections. The decision is still pending.

For February, here are the goals...

  • Continue to grow the R3 user base and encourage participation in code, documentation, and websites.
  • Begin revising main websites clearing away the old and bringing in the new. Also look at including better descriptions of benefits of REBOL (i.e. a "marketing refresh").
  • Build preliminary Linux R3 (for servers and scripts mainly, graphics later.)
  • Finalize the structure for filesharing on RebDev, and move the DevBase source archive to it.
  • Determine what additional source version support features we need. Most of this involves calling a third party app, such as a diff/merge program. In addition we need a basic version tagging mechanism.
  • Fix the RebDev user account problem and open RebDev back up to all interested users.
  • Investigate shifting the R3 host archive to Rebin encoded interfaces (to isolate all host code from future R3 internal datatype changes). This may require major effort, but will also payoff for open projects like the DLL interface.
  • Move the R3 HOST source C/C++ code archive into DevBase (RebDev).
  • Resume work on the R3 GUI. The primary focus needs to be on styles for lists and tables. Also the GUI source merge (carryover).
  • Update/revise an R3 tutorial for new users, covering the basic examples for getting started.
  • Organize and update demos in order to build developer interest in R3.
  • Continue with primary documentation restructuring and updates for R3.
  • Module system finalization (carryover)

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