Comments on: Released: DevBase Alpha
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: Released: DevBase Alpha

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
6-Nov-2007 23:21 GMT

Article #0344
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REBOL DevBase has finally been released to alpha testers. Hooray! Another dream becomes reality. Many of you know I've wanted this system for a couple years now.

DevBase Collaboration Tool (50 KB client, 25 KB server)

What is DevBase? Why is it necessary? Why did I interrupt R3 development to design it? Let me start at the beginning...

 WhatDevBase is a simple developer collaboration system for source code, documentation, tests, bugs, and notes. It is an archive, but also a way to monitor and manage the process.
 WhyDevBase was created to help us finish R3 by providing a way for developers to easily contribute... with code, documents, and tests. Without it, R3 would take much longer to complete. It has many parts to manage.
 HowDevBase is entirely written in REBOL, both the client and the server. Why? Two reasons: we wanted a tool optimized to our workflow methods, and we wanted something we could easily enhance. It is much easier to improve on a 50KB program written in REBOL than a 5MB program in C++. Fixing bugs is almost instantaneous (and many fixes/enhancements have already been contributed).
 WhenIt's been in the hands of testers for a few days. Once the alpha group agrees it works well enough, we'll make it more accessible. (A few weeks into November would be my guess.)

So, in essence, we wanted a single archive for all REBOL source code, docs related to that code (like dictionary entries), and test suites that validate the code. We also wanted to transition our bug handling and developer notes into the same system, so we can see all related items together in the same location (still working on that part of it).

Other features worth summarizing:

  • Smart client access - fast response, no world wide wait (WWW)
  • Able to deal with REBOL source as needed - such as file headers.
  • Supports batch processing scripts - only a few lines to upload 100 files at a time.
  • User accounts and permissions for acceptance, denial, project creation/deletion.
  • Powered by LNS (REBOL/Services), the REBOL SOA (service oriented architecture) - making it easy to operate and keep updated.
  • Optimized network traffic on our servers and your computer.

I'll let you know when we're ready for more open user testing. And, I should mention this is also the main step necessary to make R3 more openly available for testing.

PS: And, thanks to my son, Kurt, for making the nice looking DevBase icons and logo.



6-Nov-2007 17:04:54
Three things...

1. I hope the Notes/Docs feature will serve for the creation of a comprehensive R3 Manual, and that all contributing programmers will write at least one very good example of what they offer (where applicable). This could be a way to simultaneously do the Manual, to which everyone can continue referring while coding in DevBase. (or maybe a feature could be put in, if it hasn't already been, that makes a live updatable manual available to them, within this environment).

2. Just curious, but is DevBase going to be offered (free or pay) for any other coding projects (for any other programmers not working on Rebol)? Will it be offered as a blank collaboration program, ready to go for someone else's project, whatever that is? Or is it just tied to Rebol and Rebol servers?

3. *picks up Luis off the floor and helps the medics whisk him away to the med center* ;-) I'm sure recovery will be fast.

6-Nov-2007 19:27:43
Nice one! Interesting screendump too...
Brian Hawley
7-Nov-2007 6:44:06

1. The docs in the R3 categories (so far) are the source documents from which the REBOL Dictionary is generated. Anything more than that should go into DocBase. There aren't currently any constraints on the contents of the docs submissions, so other categories could in theory establish their own document syntax conventions.

2. Currently it's hard-coded, but it would be an easy fix to pull that setting out into a separate file. There is some proprietary code in there from SafeWorlds, and I'm not sure whether it is licensed for use in DevBase, or for use by REBOL Tech.

3. We're all pulling for you Luis - get well soon!

Dr Helena Russell
7-Nov-2007 7:10:03
Memo: Staff at DevBase Alpha

Luis has been transferred from DevBase Alpha following, what appears to be, a left temporal brain trauma, to our facilities at MoonBase Alpha for further examination and sedation. There does not appear to be an external influence, although this cannot be ruled out at this time. Rest assured that we will do our utmost to return him to normal/ish.

Dr Helena Russell

MoonBase Alpha

Chief Medical Officer (Not the one that turns into animals/aliens)

7-Nov-2007 8:49:49
(at)Luis-related responses: Hahahaha!! :D

(at)Brian: Okay, hopefully people will contribute toward that; or at least Carl starting one w/skeleton outline that all can see 'live'; constantly expanded/updated. That way, the manual could finish (relatively so) simultaneous to R3 itself. (though nothing is every really finished like this, is it? hence, versions).

Thanks :-)

7-Nov-2007 9:48:07
I don't get it. What does this devbase thing have to do with wine-making? : )
7-Nov-2007 10:36:54
it looks like a cvs depository, no?
7-Nov-2007 11:11:42
croquemitaine, Carl doesn't mention much about the workflow issue, but that's what DevBase is about: Custom workflow that frees Carl from much of the work required to update the sources for R3, by exposing the sources in a simple GUI based program allowing anyone with an account to update them. The screening of the sources is the important part of the work flow as well as the server part, which helps maintaining the source tree.

For example: I made a fix to the window size for DevBase so it would fit on an 800x600 display. I made a single change and uploaded the file with the change. It then appeared in the "Submitted" list and when/if Carl or other administrator approves the change, it gets listed as "Accepted". Otherwise just as "Denied" if the admin didn't like the code.

If the code was denied, there is a reason attached, for example if it needs to be cleaned up better or revised a bit more, before it goes in as "Accepted".

Accepted source code can then be moved into the source tree for the program that we are working on automatically and updating of the sources by many people becomes a very fluent work flow, while the administrator maintains control.

7-Nov-2007 12:40
I like it! I guess DevBase is written with Artoo? Will this application also be available for the mass?
8-Nov-2007 15:26:54
Maybe there could be a Safeworld's DevBase. Another application from their partnership with Rebol Technologies (that is, if there is proprietary code in it from them already). Then they'd have AltMe and DevBase, for collaboration tools. Or maybe a DevBase 'plug-in' module for AltMe (which might be more likely, eh?).
9-Nov-2007 14:08:29
(at)james_Nak: Don't worry, you'll get your wine. Sometimes, a winemaker just has to go off and code for awhile. But rest assured, while he's coding, he's thinking about wine! ;-) (or, um, something like that, anyway)
9-Nov-2007 14:12:25
(at)croquemitaine: I *think* what we have here is something very much like AltMe, but tailored even more to programmers. Encrypted and private peer-to-peer CVS for developers to do their thing, all convenient-like. :)

*wonders what happened to Luis*

Thomas (
10-Nov-2007 5:23:57
Windoze virus warning/announcement.

I just got this warning in my inbox: If you read an email (on your windows-machine and maybe X-Box) and it has an attachment called "Welcome to the matrixpps." -DO NOT OPEN IT ! It displays a picture for 10 secs. and then the text: "You´re harddrive is over" -And then it's too late, all your addresses and stuff you've saved has been makulated! It's a new virus from someone who calls him/her-self Nwin2.


Thomas (
10-Nov-2007 7:18:25
The above was just a hoax, i'm sorry
10-Nov-2007 7:26:38
Well, it's wise to be on the alert for any emails with attachments, from people you don't know. :-)

On another note, Alice at the Scream Awards 2007 can now be seen on YouTube. I love Alice--my favorite entertainer/singer/performer in all the world, above any other. An unparalleled musical genius and paradigm unto himself. Can't wait for his forthcoming double album in early 2008, called Along Came A Spider.

Dr Helena Russell
12-Nov-2007 2:06:38
Memo: Staff at DevBase Alpha

I regret to inform you that Luis is not under our care at the MoonBase Alpha facilities. It appears that the patient was switched during the transfer: Our facilites staff had not realised that the stuffed giraffe was not the patient from the DevBase Alpha transfer until an attempt was made to extract a blood sample. The lack of a pulse has previously been noted as 'normal'. We are sifting through personnel notes as reports from the elevator staff noted some concerns during the transport of the patient.

Enforcemen officers have been notified of the issue.

Dr Helena Russell

MoonBase Alpha

Chief Medical Officer (Not the one that turns into animals/aliens)

Chief EyeAm
13-Nov-2007 5:37:02
This just in: Luis has escaped, and is at large. He is to be considered unharmed and hilarious. ;-)
Dr Helena Russell
13-Nov-2007 6:53:41
Memo: Staff at DevBase Alpha

CC: Security Personnel

It has come to my attention that the stuffed giraffe was indeed our patient, and had opportunity, during the confusion in choosing a suitable location for its decorative placement, to make away with several bed pans (we are as yet unsure if our patient was aware that the pans in question were full and due to be sent for flushing and sterilisation). We are currently exploring the possibility that their shine/lustre may have attracted out patient to them as we very much doubt they will be put to any nefarious use, or indeed be of any use for his egress from MoonBase Alpha.

Chief IHam is currently conducting investigations and will be questioning tall long necked suspects. He has been provisioned with a bed pan (clean, still in its wrapping) to assist in his enquiries.

Dr Helena Russell

MoonBase Alpha

Chief Medical Officer (Not the one that turns into animals/aliens)

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