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[Debconf-discuss] Frab (or whatever): Call for help

Hi guys,

As you know, I have taken up the task of adequating Frab to serve us
as a Pentabarf replacement. However, I have not been able to devote as
much resources as I'd like, and I really don't want to end up failing
late and hard. Read: Staying with Pentabarf is untenable, we *really*
want to move away from it.

Frab is a very readable, clean system. Its main shortcoming for our
collective point of view is that it is built completely in The Rails
Way, which means, it needs to live in its own Ruby Gems ecosystem
(which means, it lives in a parallel universe to that of Debian
packages, and it is full of some practices we regard as pernicious).

Now, I'm asking for your help because... If I have to take the task by
myself (as I have done), I know I will end up failing. I am quite
short on time preparing the course I will soon start teaching, and I
know that (at least for the first semester) it will take me even more
time once classes start, late this month.

The (very) little I have done so far is just to check how easy/hard to
install is Frab (answer: It is not trivial, but the instructions
work... Sometimes - That is, depending on the status of each of the
branches. I have been told by the Frab devs that "master" is now in a
proper state). Setting up a VM with the needed environment is quite
easy. The needed task is now to bribe Ganneff into setting up an
official instance - But there is not *too* much hurry for that as the
installation would first require having Frab usable for us.

Then comes programming. Out of the currently active controllers, most
of the Pentabarf functionality we use is there, we only need to
implement four controllers: In order of perceived complexity,

- Assassins
- Travel sponsorship
- Volunteer
- Video

The Frab developers request we implement those as plugins, and not on
the main tree, which makes sense and adds just a little complexity

As for the personal information, I am less confident our changes are
doable as plugins. They are quite trivial to add in the base MVC - The
fields we use (and which are mostly references to other tables, most
per-conference-instance catalogs) are:

- accomodation_preferences
- arrived
- debcamp_option
- debcamp_work_plan
- disabilities
- food_preferences
- nickname
- reconfirmed
- role_in_debian
- role_in_deconf
- room_preference

Adjusting Frab to gather that basic information, if not done in a
plugin fashion, is probably a simple work that should not take more
than one evening (tops). Looking at our history, I think the natural
way for us is to fork off master and start our own branch, trying to
follow and sync along. Things will get messier along the years, as
conference-specific fields and logic will accumulate. For example, we
have used fields which have shown to be inoperant
(i.e. photo_or_film_ok) and I'm not including here anymore, but in
some instances we will want to keep for historical values. Some others
follow a wrong model, but historical data depends on them
(i.e. dc_conference_person was split after DC11 into role_in_debian
and role_in_debconf).

Anyway - The task is not *so* big, but I know I need help. Also, I
need to no longer be the only guy who understands (or fakes
understanding of) the Beast. Please step up and help!

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