Its been a busy summer behind the scenes at MusicBrainz! All this week I want to post a series of blog entries to catch you up on what we’ve been up to and how I expect us to move ahead with development of new MusicBrainz features. Over the summer we had three students working on various Google Summer of Code projects, making all sorts of interesting progress. In today’s blog post I’ll cover Oliver Charles’ (Acid2) work on his Template Toolkit branch. Later this week I will cover other SoC projects and current work on NGS in an effort to lay out a roadmap for future MusicBrainz development.
For lots of details on Oliver’s work, please check out his blog. Without delving into details here, I’ll say that his work is an important stepping stone in getting to the fabled NGS. Many people have commented that the current mb_server codebase is too confusing and too hard to setup. This has the effect of keeping developers away from hacking on the server. The general consensus was that we needed to clean up the codebase to make it easier to follow, separate business logic from the user interface logic and to use some more modern tools.
Oliver worked to address all of these points over the summer. We were clear on the fact that this project was too much to finish in the time that was available, so that the project would remain unfinished at the end of summer. Fortunately, MetaBrainz has been signing up more customers, so we finally have enough money in the bank to hire a coder to keep working on new server features. To that end, we’ve just hired Oliver part time to continue working on his project! Currently, the goal is to finish his Template Toolkit work by the end of the year and to start a beta test phase at the beginning of next year.
Hiring a developer to continue hacking on new features for the server is really important. My time in the last year has been taken up by keeping MusicBrainz running and keeping our search servers from melting. Unfortunately we’re coming up on a year without a server update, which is tragic. Having money in the bank should allow us to finally speed up the pace at which we’re updating our servers. Ideally I would like to have 4 updates per year — we may not reach that just yet, but I can see three releases happening in 2009!
Tomorrow I will post an update on Niklas’ collection work and the upcoming server release. Stay tuned.
For now, congratulations to Oliver Charles and welcome as an independent contractor to the MetaBrainz Foundation!