16 September 2012

SourceForge Allura - First Impressions

Now that SourceForge are promoting their new Allura forge and are encouraging projects to move to it, I thought it was time to dip my toe in the water.

I have a tiny project called CompFileDate (a file date comparison utility) that I keep on SourceForge mainly as a test-bed. I thought I'd migrate that to try out the new platform before taking the plunge and migrating the much larger CodeSnip project.

Here are my first impressions.

The new interface is very clean and looks promising. But it is quite inconsistent and the menus change between a simple clear menu bar on some pages to a kind of toolbar on other pages. Here's part of the menu as displayed when viewing the summary page.

And now here's what it looks like when the Wiki item is clicked:

Not only has the style changed but, in the first menu you get to the download files page from the "Files" item. In the second menu you get there from "Downloads".

It confused the hell out of me at the start, and still catches me out now.

The repo browser, at first sight, it hugely improved. This:

instead of this:

And navigating is easier and more intuitive. Now, if you click on a file you see the file (yeh!), whereas before clicking on a file gave you a list of revisions and you had to click a view link to see the file itself. Conversely, if you clicked a revision number next to a file you saw the file! Love to know who thought of that one. So the new interface is a huge improvement in that respect.

The wiki is a massive improvement on the old version. It seems much quicker and uses the simple Markdown for markup. I might actually start using it now.

I haven't got issue tracking or news activated for CompFileDate, so I can't say anything about that.

There are a couple of problems with speed:

  1. The system seems slow to update: as I write on 16th September, the summary page is showing the last update as the 14th where in fact I updated only about an hour ago. And it keeps getting revision numbers out of sync.
  2. The whole system is s-l-o-w. But then again I've always found the main problem with SourceForge is its speed: I just hoped it would improve.

The file manager is pretty much unchanged from the old interface, and all the better for that. Nice.

One of the other issues that may be more or less of a problem for you is that the URLs used to checkout from the Subversion repo have changed. That's not too much of a problem for CompFileDate but it will mean quite a few documentation tweaks for CodeSnip.

I'm really hoping many of my gripes are down to teething problems, because in general I like Allura. Or rather, I think I'm going to like it.

Will I be migrating CodeSnip? Think I'll wait a while.

By the way, if you use CompFileDate, the new checkout URLs are given on the project's SourceForge Code page.

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