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Feel the pulse of the projects

Posted by kohsuke on September 6, 2006 at 2:43 PM PDT

We just rolled out a new service for the projects called cvs-news. This lets you "see" what's going on in various participating projects. Every time someone makes an interesting change, it will show up in cvs-news --- the delay is up to a few minutes. So it's really fresh from the source!

You can subscribe to cvs-news via RSS, or e-mail. Or you can just ocassionally visit the page to see what's going on. All the news are tagged, so for example if you just want to look at JAXB changes, then you can look at the "jaxb" tag. Or if you want to look at what's Mr.Grizzly is up to, you can do that, too. This is a really easy way to get informed about what's happening.

If you are a project owner, and you'd like to use cvs-news, then all you need to do is to add cvs_news_daemon at dev dot java dot net as a subcriber to your cvs mailing list, and use the cvs-news notation when you made an interesting change.

The reason I came up with this service is follows. As the projects under the Glassfish umbrella grows in number and size, and as dependency between them gets more complex and long, we felt a need to come up with a better way to communicate changes.

Here's a typical problem. I make some change in the JAX-WS RI, which will affect WSIT guys (because they are writing components that live inside the JAX-WS pipeline.) Now I need to inform them about this change, but the problem is, there're just so many of them I don't know who to contact. I also wanted to leave the explanation of the change in the CVS, so I used to write some pretty detailed comment in CVS changelog e-mail, then copy that text and send it to the WSIT alias.

So one day I thought, why don't we just automate this, so that I don't have to copy the text over? After all, a cvs changelog e-mail contains all the necessary information, like what has changed, when, and by who. You can also tie to a particular continuous build of the JAX-WS RI on Hudson, or a year from now you can still search FishEye and find the exact change along with all sorts of useful information.

The only thing that was missing was that there are just too many CVS change notification e-mail. It's clearly infeasible for other people to manually scan all of them. So my solution to that problem was to come up with a little mark-up that I can put in the CVS commit message, and have a program pick that up and do the publishing. Then we can just agree on tags that we use, and people can subscribe to, say, "for-tango" tag for important changes that affect the WSIT project. Hence cvs-news was born.

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