Monthly Archives: September 2008

SourceMod Project Changes

Over the past three weeks we’ve made some big changes to SourceMod in terms of managing the project.

I have pretty much nothing but praise for this tool. It’s easy to set up and configure. In about a day I had replaced SourceMod’s terrible and messy Perl scripts. And it looks very pretty.

We have a separate build server with slaves for Linux and Windows (Window is running under VMWare). The master lives on the web server. The version control system (was Subversion, is now Mercurial) notifies the master of source code changes, and the slaves build SourceMod and push snapshots back to the web server. It also manages the symbol server.

Our scripts for buildbot live in tools/buildbot under the source tree for all who are curious.

I’ve come to love Mercurial, despite its idiosyncrasies, from using it at work constantly. The distributed nature makes everything much easier. I can keep many copies of the repository around on different computers and share changesets in between them and other people. I don’t need internet access to push changes and I can juggle many patches at once.

We started to notice a problem in SourceMod. We had two branches: 1.0, and 1.1. When we pushed bug fixes to 1.0, there was no way to share these back to 1.1 while maintaining change history. Mercurial inherently solves this. Subversion 1.5 supposedly has merge tracking, but by the time it was out our minds were already made up. Mercurial’s distributed nature is awesome.

I haven’t learned how to use patch queues yet (mqueue), but I’m being encouraged to at work. Our Mercurial repositories are here and I’ve written a tutorial (akin to our CVS and Subversion tutorials) here.

I originally chose Flyspray over Bugzilla because it looked nicer and I could understand the permissions system. Eventually I came to realize that Flyspray was easy to outgrow, and I came to like Bugzilla more and more from using it at work.

Flyspray is good, and probably suffices for small projects. But it’s buggy. Our install was breaking for some reason, we couldn’t search for users anymore (every user would return “not found”). Marking a project as inactive would let normal users edit bugs still. There seemed to be no way to have group-specific permissions, which meant we couldn’t have private or internal projects. The UI didn’t work on mobile devices (this is probably the fault of poor AJAX implementations). You couldn’t refresh a bug after posting a comment, because there was no link back to the bug.

Bugzilla has a much more complex UI but there are a few things that sealed the deal. Aside from addressing the problems Flyspray had, its authentication system was a lot more flexible internally. I was able to write a simple authentication plugin for vBulletin. The ability to watch users makes automated CC’ing much more flexible. Now anyone can listen for all SourceMod bugs, whereas previously only the project owner could.

The attachment system is a huge win. Attachments can be obsoleted and they all live on the same section of the screen, near the top, rather than sprinkled throughout comments. It can show diffs for patches which is really nice. You can request peer-reviews on patches which is something Mozilla does extensively.

If anyone’s looking to convert from Flyspray to Bugzilla, you can have my hacked-up Perl script. It uses an intermediate table called “mvtab” (type varchar, old_id int, new_id int) as a temporary work table. You need to create this yourself. You also need to manually import products and components (components must have the same names as categories). It’s really a mess but it got the job done, so play with it at your own risk. (tack-on, since the original import didn’t get e-mail settings right)

And here’s the Bugzilla vBulletin binding: (goes in Bugzilla/Auth/Verify). You may need to change config files somewhere to use it.