There were quite a few Kexi releases since my last blog entry. I tell you, the focus in this work was on improving stability. As an effect, reportedly, there can be a whole day of work without stability issues. Not bad.
Kexi is in fact a family of 5 or more apps integrated into one environment. Given the scope and ambitions it can be easily stated that we miss 20 to 30 engineers! Encouraging and educating new ones is a neverending activity. Out of the possible approaches these are well known: Google Summer of Code, Junior Jobs, non-coding contributors.
Kexi usage statistics is an experiment started two years along with Kexi 2.4. The information helps to make certain decisions related to design and direction of the project. Today I'd like to show you first results.
On every startup of Kexi, background job sends anonymous information to project's kexi-project.org server. User's privacy is a top priority here; users need to opt-in by enabling Share usage info option at Kexi startup. For detailed idea and plans behind the effort, click the "?" mark in the startup window, here's a copy of the text. Naturally, the raw data is never presented online.
It's been 10 years since I joined Kexi and thus the KDE community. I think writing down some history and summary makes sense.
2003-03-28: first touch on Kexi sources for porting
It all started at a technology fair in Warsaw, 2003. I wasn't too keen to go but got free tickets and free time. I met a founder of OpenOffice Polska LLC (later renamed to OpenOffice Software) from Warsaw presenting its adaptation of deeply localized, nicely prebuilt office suite based on OpenOffice.org. The office suite has been open sourced StartOffice over two years before by SUN and then localizations or user handbooks basically did not exist. During the meeting among other topics we also discussed apparent missing bit in the OpenOffice.org suite: a rival of MS Access. I proposed to perform some research on how the app can be added. I got hired and engaged full-time from March 2003.
Putting unexpected visions of space tourists aside, now for something completely different. This was a busy weekend with Calligra Suite Sprint 2013 which despite of different timezone fully dominated Essen and Bangalore.
KDE is taking part in Google Code-in (GCI) this year once again. It's a contest to bring 13 to 17 year-olds closer to Free Software.
One of the tasks I proposed for Kexi was Adding d-pointers to the code. Because of its size I split the challenge into two GCI tasks for truly motivated students. One part has been taken by Shou Ya and second by Andrew Inishev. Both parts have been finished successfully, the patches (2 * 10 thousands of lines) are already in the Calligra master repository.
Kexi 2.6 now shows indication that edited or pasted text is trimmed if maximum length for field has been reached. See also for the same feature in tabular view. The rationale for this feature is to make sure user knows that data has been only partly entered into the database.
During my short summer holidays I had the opportunity to perform overdue bug triage for Kexi.
Funny enough, that alone dominated (by numbers) the Commit-Digest's Bug Killers list for 12th August :) Some bug reports were really dated, 2006 or so, anyway the Calligra 2.6 series is a good occasion for such cleanup.
I hope that Kexi like all the Calligra software will benefit from having a big release every 3 or 4 months. This way more than ever users become co-authors.
First, it's worth mentioning the 2.5 series received many improvements in already released 2.5.1 and 2.5.2 versions. Many users apparently found the forums (the link is now forum.kde.org/kexi) more convenient than mailing lists; not only questions moved here but for actual improvement and some planning discussions. It's honour to work with people that not only devote their limited time to the project but also use Kexi for their daily tasks, yet they store and process their valuable data with it!
As always it's important to have updated software so I can only encourage to do that. If you distro is slow with updates - politely request it every time, that's their job as a part of the equation. Many distros catched up and Calligra is now pretty well supported. There is no reason to keep software in the waiting-room too long when every feature and fix counts.