Ideas/BugTracker

This is a slight abuse of the Darcs wiki; apologies.

Rambling email by Eric Kow

The following is from an email on how a Darcs-based bug tracking system might work, mildly edited for RST. Eric would definitely welcome work to massage this into something readable.


As an aside, I’ve put a little bit of thought into this on the bus: one thing you’d want to support is people concurrently creating objects (eg. messages, patches) and pushing them to the repository. This means you need a mechanism to (a) avoid collisions and (b) cope gracefully with conflicts.

Consider (a): it’s not advisable IMHO to treat the set of messages as just a single text file, because if two people simultaneously append to that file a spurious conflict is created. Better would be to use some sort of directory structure. Moreover, you need some way of naming things which is not prone to collisions (if you both create issue42; you’ve got a duplicate patch - yuck).

One solution might to use a scheme where the bug tracker has the responsibility of generating a low-collision-probability name, eg. based on the hash of the object contents. Of course, you also want the objects to be easily identifiable by users (eg. issue42 as opposed to issue4ab38292ff832e78821c49), so what I would propose is to have some threshold (say 4 digits) where we say that collisions are sufficiently infrequent but the identifiers are still fairly human readable, and then just cope gracefully with what conflicts arise. Note: bugs-everywhere seems to adopt a scheme similar to this

I still like thinking in a Roundup-y way (Roundup just manages objects that you define which in turn just point to other objects) because it’s very simple and very general. Instead of storing objects in a database, we could store them in the filesystem.

You could have a directory like this:

issue42/
 - reporter [file with contents : 4383] (meaning user4383)
 - nosy/
    - 43
    - 476
    - 9
 - messages/
    - 3893
    - 3988
    - 1234
user4383/
 - name [file with contents "Ganesh Sittampalam"]
 - nosy/
    - 43
    - 4
 - vacation [file with contents False]
message3893
 - from [file with contents 4383] (meaning user4383)

I think you get the picture. This would not be very user friendly without a nice frontend; so you can’t really just manipulate the darcs repository with your text editor (you could, but it just wouldn’t be fun).

One possible angle of attack is just to modify roundup to (a) have a filesystem backend (instead of databases - it’s already generic enough to handle different db backends) and (b) to support non-sequential naming of objects (which shouldn’t be a problem).

Anyway, not something I plan to work on anytime soon.

See also