[ic] IRC Meeting Summary and Log

Gert van der Spoel gert at 3edge.com
Wed Jul 1 06:24:10 UTC 2009

> -----Original Message-----
> From: interchange-users-bounces at icdevgroup.org [mailto:interchange-
> users-bounces at icdevgroup.org] On Behalf Of Peter
> Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2009 4:12 AM
> To: interchange-users at icdevgroup.org
> Subject: [ic] IRC Meeting Summary and Log
> Hi everyone, the meeting on IRC went well.  There is a log of the
> meeting posted at
> <http://cloud.github.com/downloads/pajamian/stuff/interchange_meeting.l
> og>.
> In attendance were:
> Mike Heins <mheins>                -- Author and Founder of
> Interchange.
> Stefan Hornburg <racke>            -- Interchange team captain.
> Peter Ajamian <pj>                 -- Interchange Core Developer
> Marco Mescoli <marco>              -- Interchange Developer
> Mat Jones <matjones>               -- Interchange Developer
> Andrew Elwell <Elwell>
> Marty Tennison <marty_tennison>
> Brian Miller <brian_endpoint>      -- Interchange Developer
> Gert van der Spoel <thunder>       -- Interchange Core Developer
> Greg Hanson <perusiongreg>         -- Interchange Core Developer
> David Christensen <endpoint_david> -- Interchange Developer
> Mark Lipscombe <snewpy>            -- Interchange Core Developer
> Josh Lavin <jlavin>                -- Interchange Developer
> Paul Jordan <pjordan>              -- Interchange Developer
> Ron Phipps <ron_phipps>            -- Interchange Core Developer
> Justin Otten <__justin__afk>       -- Interchange Developer
> Daniel Browning <daniel_b>         -- interchange Core Developer
> Phil Smith <rsdvd>
> The meeting started out with discussion of whether we should attempt a
> rewrite of the interchange core using a framework such as Catalyst or
> simply review the codebase and remove bloat and then adding in the new
> features that are desired.  

Actually the meeting started with approximately 10 minutes where people had
the opportunity to introduce themselves. Which gave I think a good overview
of the people who had joined the meeting and what could be noticed from the
attendees is that they all have been working with Interchange for 4 years or
more. I did not see anybody who said 'I did my first site in 2008' .... 

Maybe not an important tidbit, but I thought it to be interesting

> It was decided that a full rewrite of the
> Interchange core would be time prohibitive and that there was no one
> willing to step up to the plate to handle the bulk of coding.  A review
> of the existing core and removal of bloat was decided upon as the most
> realistic and best path to take.
> Plugins were also discussed.  The idea being to allow the importation
> of
> features and feature sets as packages that can easily be added or
> removed by the end user.
> It was also agreed that we should not be concerned with backwards
> compatibility, but that such can be achieved as an add-on set of
> plugins
> at a later time.
> Peter proposed the following roadmap:
> 1.  Unbloat and strip down the codebase
> 2.  Implement plugin system
> 3.  Re-implement existing features as plugins
> 4.  Implement backwards compatibility layer as plugins
> 5.  New features as plugins.
> This was generally agreed upon with the possible exception of reversing
> 4 and 5.
> Stephan pointed out a link to the Mongoose proposed framework (Mongoose
> is the working name for the new Interchange core):
> http://corewiki.icdevgroup.org/moin.cgi/Mongoose#preview
> Some suggestions were given of sections of code or features that may
> need attention:
> * Import routines
> * The adding of items programmatically to the cart
> * shipping
> * globals
> * options and variants
> * sales tax
> * hooks to POS
> * removal of dbconf and database directives
> * encoding and locale support
> At this point we began to work through various bullet points of the
> above list and the Mongoose proposal (link above).  The following
> conclusions were reached:
> dbconf: We should strip out all existing dbconf code and replace with a
> clean interface to DBI.  IC should not require lots of table
> definitions.
> makecat and the config/ directory should be scrapped.  In it's place we
> will supply an installer plugin that is included with the core (but can
> be removed) that will allow core configuration, manage core plugins,
> and
> manage catalogs from a browser interface.
> The admin UI will be removed from the core and implemented in
> individual
> catalogs.
> generated files (session. orders, log, tmp, ...) should be placed in a
> var/ directory under the catalog.
> Get rid of text file counters (though there is still some issue of
> whether we should retain the text counter code in the core or move it
> to
> a plugin).
> reduce queries on pages.  There is some disagreement as to whether this
> should entail a core change to allow for caching of [field] and [data]
> tag results.
> the code directory should be changed so that we don't have three
> subdirectories that all contain tags but we should retain seperate
> subdirectories for filters, widgets, etc.  It was proposed that we can
> have a separate directory to hold user created tags, but it should ship
> empty.
> There are still several other issues to discuss and so it was generally
> agreed that we should plan another meeting to continue the discussion.
> That is all of the important bits that I can think of, if anyone has
> anything to add, please feel free to do so.

The one thing that I do see as important is the part of the discussion if
Interchange is to be seen as:
1. application server
2. ecommerce site builder

1. ecommerce platform
2. nice you can even do other things with it

I do not think there was an overall agreement on this. The push was mainly
towards #2, where Interchange is seen more as an ecommerce platform rather
than an application server. This is a change from how it (I believe) has
been 'marketed' so far. For example the title of the current site
'Interchange web-based application server' and also the overall feeling you
get from reading the current 'About' page:
http://www.icdevgroup.org/i/dev/about does not promote it as really an
'ecommerce platform'  ... 

Paul Jordan suggested a next meeting to discuss the marketing of
Interchange, as it can use quite some in that area if it is to regain some
of the market share it used to have.

Other than this I think the overview is very good and thank you for
investing your time in providing this Peter.

> Peter
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