IRC log of #schooltool for Thursday, 2006-09-14

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ignasth1a_: ayt ?16:08
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th1a_hi ignas17:46
ignasi went to VGTM lyceum today17:47
ignasI and gintas that is17:47
th1a_How'd it go?17:47
ignaswe have talked to their Informatics teacher and he was interested in our system, so he will talk to the principal17:48
th1a_OK... that sounds like a good start.17:48
ignasas he is the one who will actually be our contact with the school17:48
ignaschances are very high17:48
th1a_Did he teach either of you?17:49
th1a_It should be a good deal for the school ;-)17:49
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ignashe taught gintas i think17:50
th1a_The Informatics teacher.17:50
th1a_Oh, you didn't grow up in Vilnius, did you Ignas?17:50
ignasth1a_: no not really17:51
gintasWell, yes, formally he was my teacher for a year or two.17:51
ignasgintas: Bronius Skūpas17:51
gintasOops, I'm on log17:51
* gintas hides17:51
ignasat the moment they are interested in Timetabling and Calendaring17:52
ignaswith gradebook comming next i think17:52
gintasWe agreed to start with imports of some basic data.17:53
th1a_You're going to have to go into povbot's logs and strike that.17:53
ignasstrike what? :D17:53
gintasHmm, povbot is on fridge?17:53, here I come :)17:54
ignasth1a_: do we have to get the clearance from Mark or i just should get the cooperation going as soon as possible ?17:57
ignasand do we have to do any paperwork for it to become official etc.17:57
th1a_It would be good to have the terms on paper, just for everyone's satisfaction, but basically, get going ASAP.17:58
gintasFor the record (this time), I do know Bronius fairly well.17:59
gintasHe's been helping with organising contests and things like that.17:59
th1a_Also, there is a possibility that Jean-Francois Roche may start working on SchoolTool in Belgium:
th1a_We're discussing it now.18:01
ignasth1a_: so we'll actually have 2 client schools at the same time ?18:02
th1a_He'd be working with Nicolas Pettiaux and Denis Frère at their schools, so actually it would be three.18:02
ignascould you define the role i'll be filling in please ?18:03
th1a_He was Denis Frere's student.  If CanDo is any indication, having students come back and work for their teachers is a good model for us.18:03
th1a_ignas:  Well, it is slightly more complicated if there are two of you.18:04
ignasand 3 schools18:04
th1a_But yes, do you want to talk about that now?18:04
*** th1a_ is now known as th1a18:04
ignaswhich means that the school i will be cooperating with will suddenly not be the priority all the time ...18:04
th1aIt will be *your* priority.18:04
ignasi see18:04
ignasok then18:04
th1aYou'll each have your own client, essentially.18:05
th1aAt least, that's how I envision it.18:06
ignasi can envision that part, what i can't envision is - a convenient way to share the codebase18:07
ignasbut we'll solve that when we'll encounter any actual problems18:07
ignasi can envision a few possible solution snow ;)18:08
ignassvn is just as fine18:08
ignasbut roles, and changes to the core functionality vs local changes18:09
th1abzr gives me headaches.18:09
ignaswhy ?18:09
th1aActually, trying to host bzr branches on LaunchPad gives me headaches.18:09
th1abzr itself is fine.18:10
ignasi see18:12
ignasas for two additional schools, the downside is that they will add overhead for the guy who will be responsible for the "core" of schooltool18:13
gintasI think that if you want to have three schools, you will need an extra person to coordinate the effort.18:13
ignasthe upside is - they will make us do changes in a way that is customizable, thus there will be a common schooltool "core"18:13
gintasI mean a technical person.18:13
ignasnot necessarily18:14
ignasjust that it will slow down the feature adding pace18:15
th1aHrm...  I don't think it is that severe.18:15
th1aEspecially since we aren't starting from scratch at this point.18:15
th1aA lot of what has to be done now is on the level of writing reports, stuff like that.18:16
th1aThere isn't a lot of serious programming left.18:16
ignaswell actually there is18:16
ignasI don't think we should stick to polishing the surface to suit better instead of adapting to actual needs of the school18:17
th1aI guess we'll find out what needs to be done.18:18
ignasfrom what i have heard from Bronius already, there are some things they want that will require serious programming18:19
th1aWhat does he have in mind?18:20
ignasinterface or maybe even model for gradebook will have to be modified a lot, the hierarchy of users Teacher/Clerk/Administrator/Manager does not match the way things are performed in Lithuanian schools18:22
ignasthey will probably want some extra features for Calendaring18:23
th1aThat's reasonable.18:28
ignasso we either work on separate branches and die a painful merging death, or have to coordinate every important change with each other and all three schools18:31
gintasth1a: coordination would indeed be more difficult than it might sound18:32
gintasThe obvious problem is that if you wanted to change functionality, you would have to coordinate with the other developer to make sure you were not doing duplicate work.18:32
gintasThe unobvious problem is that the other developer would actually have to check with their school to make sure that your changes are OK for them.18:33
gintasAnd if they're not OK (it is perfectly reasonable for a client to assume that things don't change if a change is not requested), then actually agreeing on the changes might be very difficult18:34
gintasIn a perfect world, you would have people from both schools sit at a table and discuss.18:34
gintasThis is clearly not possible in our case.18:34
gintasI'm not sure if we want the schools to communicate directly; at least we were not planning for it.18:35
th1aIf we can't even create a version of SchoolTool that will work at three schools at this point, we're completely fucked.18:35
gintasIt's not a question of three schools.18:36
gintasIf we adapt SchoolTool to the Lyceum, hundreds of schools in Lithuania could probably use it.18:36
ignasalga suggests developing all the things as "addons" by only adding hooks to schooltool core18:36
gintasThing is that three clients for two teams for one product complicates things.18:36
ignasnow that i think it might be possible, though more difficult, but possible18:37
gintasAdding hooks sometimes works, and is occasionally very nasty if you need just a small change.18:37
gintas... deep inside the application.18:37
ignasit is not nasty for a small change, it get's nasty for big changes18:38
ignasas one will have to refactor schooltool a lot in such case18:38
gintasBasically hooks as such show deficiencies of the architecture.18:38
ignaswhich is good, but takes more time18:38
th1aWell... a) this is all hypothetical at this point and;18:38
gintasTom, I don't want to stall any plans, but I just want to make sure that you are aware of the problems that could arise.18:39
th1aThese problems are basically inherent to trying to write SchoolTool as something that will work around the world.18:40
gintasSerializing the clients would make things a whole lot easier.18:40
ignasand I just want to be sure about things I as a programmer can bravely promise to our new clients18:40
gintasIt would also take more time, of course.18:40
gintasThere's a tradeoff here.18:40
th1aAs far as I'm concerned, the worst case scenario (outside of utter failure by one or both teams) is that we end up in six months with two working version of SchoolTool that have to be merged.18:42
th1aWhich wouldn't be ideal, but would be a hell of a lot better than what we've got now.18:43
ignasjust that if I say that I will do dedicated work for their school, I want to be capable of fulfilling that promise18:43
th1aImagine there are two companies selling SchoolTool services.  They've got to serve their clients needs first, but they also want to strengthen SchoolTool itself.18:46
gintasThe school has some very specific needs, and they want us to help through the whole process.18:46
gintasThey even asked about teaching the future users of the system.18:47
th1aNow, there is a priority on focusing on the exising areas of functionality.18:47
gintasIn your case the teams would just implement everything as addons.18:47
th1aI don't want you to drop attendance and gradebook and write a library system.18:47
th1agintas:  Perhaps that's how it should be done.18:48
gintasth1a: the problem with that approach is that SchoolTool would not gain much as a platform.18:48
th1aDefinitely working directly with teachers and training them is something we'd want you to do.18:49
gintasSome of the addons would be reusable by other schools (especially in the same region), but chances are that they would not be general enough for significantly different use cases.18:49
th1agintas:  Yes, but that's inherent to the goals of SchoolTool.18:49
gintasIf we do that, we're basically closing down the development of the core.18:50
gintasThere's still a lot to be done for SchoolTool to be usable as is for most schools.18:50
gintasThat would mean that they would have to use some specific sets of addons.18:50
th1aI'm looking forward to not working on the SchoolTool core.18:50
gintasThat might actually work, but it complicates thing a little.18:51
gintasMe too, but I don't think it's done yet.18:52
th1aIt depends on what you mean by "development of the core."18:52
th1aAnd what the core is.18:52
th1aThe UI framework reorganization is pretty clearly core.18:52
gintasRight, that is a bit vague.18:53
ignascore - all existing schooltool modules18:53
gintasI was thinking along the lines of "components that will be used by the vast majority of SchoolTool users"18:53
ignasattendance, gradebook, timetabling, calendaring, skin, app18:53
* gintas wants videoconferencing for this stuff18:53
gintasWho'll do +100$ ;)18:54
ignasthe problem is that the core is too raw and will require significant work to become actually usable for more than 1 school18:54
th1aWhat do we need for video conferencing?18:55
th1aIs there anything that actually works on Linux?18:56
ignasalga says yes there is18:56
ignaswe'd need a couple of webcams18:56
ignasif we want to make core usable by more than one school, we need someone whose responsibility it will become18:58
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th1aWell, let's not get too worked up about it until we have a little more indication that this will definitely happen.19:03
th1aRight now, it is pretty hypothetical.19:03
th1aAnd I'm not aggressively looking for someone else.  Only if it really seems to be the right person.19:03
th1aAnd the right school, which isn't too easy to find.19:04
ignasi think we can work it out in the end19:19
ignasmaybe more schools are even better for schooltool as a framework19:19
ignasif we'll try not to work on the same module of schooltool at the same time it should work out quite well19:24
ignasas the amount of overhead will be kept on the code level communication instead of trying to balance requirements of 3 clients through 2 programmers19:25
th1aif SchoolTool is Zope,19:26
th1athen POV is Zope Corp.,19:26
th1aand another contractor is, say Infrae.19:27
th1aDoes that make sense?19:27
ignasmaybe, i don't know how Zope works19:28
th1aIt isn't a perfect analogy.19:28
th1aAnyhow, I think it will work out.  Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to find out.19:29
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