Thursday, 15 September 2011

Mahara, Mahara, and more Mahara

Just a quick post really, I've been working really hard on all sorts of bits and pieces so not had much time to blog about several of the things I've been planning to blog on. Very frustrating but something I intend to rectify.

I've been a core Mahara developer for about 18  months, and working heavily with it for about two years now -- time flies when you're having fun! It's good fun working for a Mahara Partner and it's really good to be allowed time for open source contributions.

Sadly, I've been really busy at work recently so not had a huge amount of time for OSS work, but in my spare I've been working on some new features for Mahara which should be really uber cool. First off, I've been working with a patch that Penny Leach wrote about 2 years ago but which never got integrated. It's to add phpunit unit testing to Mahara. This should really help us to produce much better code and the plan is to run the unit tests on upload of every single patch, for both MySQL and Postgres.
I'm still trying to iron out some issues with MySQL and this, but hopefully soon I'll have that finished.

In a similar vain, I've then written a Command Line Interface (CLI) library for Mahara which should allow for much easier creation of CLI tools. I've then used that to create a CLI installer for Mahara, and a CLI upgrade script. Although this probably won't actually affect many end users, I do think that there are a certain group of users who will use this. There's also software such as CPanel which includes Mahara - but has typically had issues installing it for users without a CLI interface.
The main reason for writing these was again for testing purposes. Not only does it make life much easier for those of us developing mahara (I have a different database for every mahara branch so installing mahara at the drop of a hat is much appreciated), but it also means that we can machine test both installation, and upgrade of mahara as part of patch submission.

I've also been asked to review the upcoming Mahara 1.4 Cookbook (published by packt Publishing). Looking forward to reading it and seeing what suggestions other people have for using it. I'll be doing a quick demo of Mahara to a group of users within Lancaster University so I plan to use some of it's suggestions.