Each language source code has a number of dependencies, both on other parts of
the GiellaLT infra, and of external tools and repos. As it is now, most of these
dependencies users have to install themselves, which creates a heavy and brittle
getting started process. Ideally one should only have to check out a single
language dir, and then run a setup script that handles all the rest.
Specifically, the following changes are ideas to follow up:
- remove the am-shared/ dir, and instead havd a common/shared am-shared/
dir in giella-shared/ (or core?) and sym-link to it or check it out as
a submodule or similar within a .deps/ directory, done by the
autogen.sh script; a requirement of the solution is that it must still be
compatible with the various build systems we need to support
- do the same for the various giella-shared/ dirs
- do the same for giella-core/
The end result of the points above should be that it should be enough to check
out one language dir, then run ./autogen.sh, and then you are ready to go.
It should also work the same although one has checked out all languages, or the
whole $GTHOME tree (but then using a common .deps dir one level up, or
symlinks to the various giella-shared and giella-core bits).
These changes should also remove the need to merge changes in am-shared/,
but we need to ensure that the .deps/am-shared/ dir is kept up-to-date all
the time, for all types of setups.
When we move to Github, and thus git, there are a number of maintenance
scenarios we have to work out in front of the move. We have already moved all
keyboards there, and they can serve as a test case
for the language repos.
Benefits of the move:
- vastly increased code visibility and accessibility
- easier cooperation and contribution
- automatized user management/account creation
- easy CI and CD
To avoid the cost of a huge and slow, single repo for all languages, each
language will become a repo of its own. But this does require the ability to
easily update the code across all or some repositories in a simple way. It also
makes it necessary to be able to administer all repositories collectively.
Update data across all repositories
One of the reasons we have been able to scale well in terms of languages (with
more than hundred languages in all our repos pr january 2020), is that we have a
consistent directory and file structure. From time to time we need to do changes
en mass to all repos, and that needs to be possible also after the move to
Github. And there will still be the need to update both single files and batches
of files based on some template data.
One promising tool to handle such chores is
Silver Platter. It is a tool
to loop over a number of repositories, and apply the same changes to all of
them. There might be other similar tools, this is just a first suggestion.
Silver Platter is available on GitHub
and is open source.
GitHub multiple repo admin
By moving to GitHub, with one language = one repo, there is also a need to
easily administer all repos en block. So far there does not seem to exist a tool
that does what we need, so we might have to build it ourselves. Here's a list of
possible actions performed on all or a subset of repos, and required features:
- perform actions on repos whose name are matching a given regex (e.g. all repos
matching keyboard-*, or all repos mathcing *-sm?, etc)
- rename all/multiple repos
- set default branch for all/multiple repos
- add all/multiple repos to a team
- set access restrictions for all/multiple repos
- add/update/remove git submodules, including revision for said submodule
- get list of all repos matching a certain pattern, potentially with repo URL
or documentation site URL, to include in overview documentation or reports
There will certainly be more, but this at least gives a first impression of the
We have a couple of languages which are closed-source and private for various
reasons. You can have private repos also in GitHub, but only with max three
collaborators, unless payments are involved.
One can also self-host git repos, but then we loose the co-administration and
scalability benefits of the infrastructure - we can't have multiple ways of
doing one thing.
These are concerns we need to discuss thoroughly before we decide to switch to
After further investigation, it looks like UiT could apply for the
GitHub Campus Program, which would give
us access to GitHub Enterprise Cloud, which would give us umlimnited
private repos. A request for
getting this for UiT has been sent to orakelet.
Teams and nested teams
We should consider whether
are useful for our purposes.
One obvious need is to be able to communicate with various groups of committers:
- Tromsø people only
- all committers
- Edmonton people only
- project people only
The only trouble is: one can still not force an email upon everyone -
notifications can be turned off individually, and are controlled individually.
Thsi is something that has been
requested by a lot of people.
GitHub allows checkout via svn, allowing people most familiar with svn to
continue working as before. The only caveat is that git submodules, which is
planned to be used for the internal dependencies (giella-core, giella-shared,
etc) will not work using the svn checkout method. For those users we need an
alternative, possibly a shell script checking out the dependent repos using svn
in a suitable subdir. The shell script should be called from ./autogen.sh,
which people are used to run in any case.
We also need to consider how to best ensure that people are using the correct
version/revision of those dependencies, both for @HEAD and when rebuilding
A third concern is that we need to ensure that the main development is done
without breaking releases. Using the
the default commit branch in github should be the develop branch. This
should be accompanied with both existing and new tests to ensure that the code
is mostlly releasable at any point. Further information about git-flow can
Multiple languages in one go
The present infra groups languages in different subdirs:
langs/ - the default/production languages
startup-langs/ - as the name implies
experiment-langs/ - as the name implies
private*-langs/ - closed-source or otherwise non-public languages
In various settings it would be beneficial to be able to continue to define sets
of languages one would like to process together. In Apertium, this is done by
defining such sets as abstract repos, with all included languages as submodules.
This seems like a straight-forward solution, but other ways could definitely
Possible use cases for such groupings:
- defining a group of production languages = all within should be pushed to
a páhkat release repo
- language groups for projects or teams
- defining something as startup or experimental is a clear sign to
outsiders that this is not yet ready for consumption
- the core UiT people would like to check out all languages, and possibly build
them all locally
There might be better ways of achieving these goals in the Git(Hub) universe,
but we need something that will help us group languages.
Also, the grouping should be bidirectional, such that a given language repo
"knows" what group(s) it belongs to. And as indicated, one language can be a
member of multiple such groups.
Because languages are grouped in several subdirs, we have a couple of cases
where one language is described more than once. This is the case for at least
est and sms. When/if moving to GitHub, each language will become a repo
of its own, with the repo name being the language code. Thus we get repo name
collisions for the mentioned languages.
In both cases one of the two descriptions is in experiment-langs/, so one
can consider repo names like lang-est-x-exp (keeping the part after
lang- BCP-47 compatible). There certainly are other alternatives, the main
point is just to remember to consider this, and find a good solution.
This is also a reminder that we need to update the script for setting up a new
language, in two ways:
- it must support the new git repo structure
- it should accept a full BCP-47 tag, not only ISO 639-3 language codes
The second point could be fixed while we are still in svn, but the first one
obviously needs to be fixed as we move to git.
Open (or all?) issues for various languages in the
GiellaLT Bugzilla should be transferred to
github. There are various tools for this, so this note is here just to remember
to do it. Some pointers: