EIDETIC, 2001-10-4 meeting summary

Agenda:

We had about half a dozen participating, with perhaps an equal number of lurkers, maybe more.

I demoed the user forms, jakub's calendar, and the junction table stuff added recently. I've thoroughly updated the TODO list in CVS and encourage anyone interested in joining the Eidetic team to take a peek at it. There's also some docs - an overview, install, and a description of how junction tables work. Take a peek at the meeting log if you're curious.

Regarding Eidetic on victor, Gabe reported that we had mysql installed there, so we could just use that, but since the postgresql port is felt to be pretty close, we decided it's best to just buckle down and finish that.

Bear reports that he's almost done with a configure script to generate mysql, pg, interbase, and sybase. He submitted a new SQL schema set to infra@, but it got hung up in moderation limbo; hopefully we'll see it soon - perhaps in CVS. It's important we all provide some feedback, since we'd like to get the schema as good as possible before putting it into use.

Elefth is working on an email interface to Eidetic but needs to get Eidetic set up on his machine first, and expects to have this ready this week. He asked if he should check in mods to Eidetic.pm in CVS now or wait until the next release; I asked that he (and anyone working on Eidetic) go ahead and check in changes, and I will make sure to integrate before I check in anything new. The one thing I'd request is that you be sure to leave the code in a functioning state.

We talked with Catmando about his calendar code. He's cut the code down to 20 lines (refactoring) in preparation for new features he plans to add. I mentioned a few features that we'd like to have in a meeting scheduling tool - allowing the user to specify email notices, and something that would assist in seeing when good times to schedule meetings are (this latter one will require thought to do right and so we'll probably leave it 'til the future unless someone would like to adopt this project sooner.)

Phil explained what he found about Zope authentication. Zope can be run either within Apache or stand-alone. We currently run it on moria in a standalone manner, so the authentication system Eidetic uses couldn't be used. Gabe was in favor of changing Zope to run under Apache so that we could have a uniform authentication system, and he has a good point, but I think the concensus we reached was to simply pick an authentication system for Zope that can read from the user database Eidetic uses; this would possibly be the simplest solution.

It was noted that theoretically, victor is supposed to be a backup machine for moria, and thus we really ought to avoid putting dependencies between the two since it sort of defeats the purpose of fallover, however since Zope can cache the auth stuff this wasn't seen as a major risk. This sounds like something for gabe and malcolm and other infra people to put some thought into.

Anyway, Phil will be investigating this further and will post to the mailing list when he's learned more.

Catmando asked about Eidetic competition. This is something I've investigated a lot over the past few years. Extropia used to put out a perl app called WebDB that came close, but Extropia switched to all-Java apps before perfecting it. WODA is quite complete in terms of features but when I last played with it, it was hard to use and did not appear to be in active development. There are other web database apps that are mostly just 'frameworks' or architectures and aren't really usable out of the box. Others are usable out of the box but very challenging to customize. PHP has been mentioned as an alternative to Eidetic, yet this comparison is not apples-to-apples - PHP is more of an alternative to Perl or template-toolkit, rather than Eidetic. Eidetic may not be unique, but it is distinct from other offerings, and is aimed at a niche that is unfilled but yet has a huge potential - LOTS of people need to have something they can get up and running for doing database and web maintenance ASAP yet still want to have the flexibility of being able to do broad customizations.

Phil gave me a demo of a Zope product called metaPublisher, which has a very straightforward interface for creating and customizing database tables. It is not as flexible as Eidetic but it's table creation interface is worth emulating (I can spot several areas where it can be improved).

The next meeting will probably not occur for several weeks, and will most likely be at a different time and day. I'll send out notices about it ahead of time so we can work out a viable time.

Meeting Summary by Bryce