GSoC/2010-GUI

About me

I’m a french student at EPITA, an engineering school specialized in computer science, in Paris. I’m also an organizer of Prologin, a national computer science competition for students aged of 20 or less ( more information available here: http://www.prologin.org ).

Personally, I started programming years ago, and was introduced to the “functional” world by some friends soon after that. I started programming with OCaml but quickly shifted to Erlang, which I’ve been using for a few years now. During that time I’ve contributed to an open source project in Erlang, called nitrogen, whose aim is to offer a performant and easy-to-use event-driven web framework for Erlang.

I’ve also been writing articles related to computer science, in French, on my blog (written in Erlang) which you can visit at http://da-bhm.org .

If you want to contact me, you can reach me at `refis.thomas@gmail.com` or on IRC (on the networks freenode and epiknet) under the nickname : `drk-sd`.

Why darcs

It would probably surprise a lot of people but darcs has been the first VCS I ever used. Of course I’ve had to use git and mercurial since, but was never satisfied by them, as they are, in my opinion, not as flexible as darcs is. That is why I keep using darcs for my personal projects.

However, my experiences with the other VCS have been useful, as I realized what /tools/ darcs still lacks to become a /popular/ project. That’s why when I heard that darcs was a potential mentoring organisation for the summer of code, I saw a great occasion to help on improving darcs.

My project

My first idea, was to develop a GUI for darcs, such as gitk for git. It still is a (major) part of my project, but when I was thinking about how to organize such an application and how to make it interact with darcs, I encountered a problem. Indeed, while I was starting reading darcs codebase I discovered that the “IOs” have not been separated from the actual “operations”.

After discussing with Eric Kow (a.k.a. `kowey`) about that problem, I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be impossible for me, or anyone else to develop an application which would use darcs’ core modules. The command line interface and darcs’ core modules are too deeply bound to envisage such an application.

Knowing that, I figured that if I wanted to successfully and elegantly build a GUI application on top of darcs, I would have to modify the codebase to separate the IO parts from the “other” parts. Of course I see this not only as a duty for building the GUI I envisage, but also as a necessity for darcs itself.

Such a work has already been started by Florent Becker (a.k.a. `gal_bolle`), and I plan to continue it.

How I plan to organize it

As you’ve certainly guessed, the first part of my work will be to reorganize darcs’ codebase to separate the IOs from the rest. I believe that’ll take me a few weeks. Sadly, I won’t be totally free to work on that until the end of June, as my exams take place in June. I will try to start working on it during May, but as I said it won’t be a full-time activity until the end of June. However, I expect to have finished it by mid-July.

That being done, I’ll begin to work on the GUI. For the moment I envisage doing it with Gtk2Hs. The first thing I want to implement is visualizer for the patches tree and a way to see the changements induced by a certain patch. That shouldn’t take more than a week or two to be completed.

And after that

After doing what I listed above, I don’t know how much time will be left before the end of the summer. I hope enough for me to implement a few more functionalities. But even if not, I sure will continue to work on it, although I will certainly slow down because of the school and everything.