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Re: debbugs.el

From: Michael Albinus
Subject: Re: debbugs.el
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 11:55:59 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Evgeny M. Zubok" <address@hidden> writes:

Hi Evgeny,

>> That was my motivation writing debbugs.el. I've also started an nnir
>> integration, but I failed badly due to missing gnus knowledge.
> There is debian-el package in Debian repository. It is also the suitable
> place to push debbugs.el into. debian-el has a number of useful
> features: you can file a bug with (debian-bug), fill the tags in the
> mail body, compose control messages for address@hidden
> (debian-bts-control), download mbox with log of selected bug number,
> view this mbox in Gnus as a tree (debian-bug-get-bug-as-email), reply to
> someone.

debian-el is intended for Debian GNU/Linux based distributions. Only a
minority(?) of Emacs users use it.

>> OTOH, the debbugs SOAP interface is poor, there are only very basic
>> information one could retrieve, and there is no "activiation" function
>> (changing whatever for a bug). So it might be better, we first make a
>> prototype implementation integrating it with nnir etc, before adding it
>> to Emacs core. For this purpose, it might be sufficient to bring it to
>> elpa (or gnus) for a while.
> I made an attempt to create Emacs interface to Debbugs/SOAP year
> ago. I've wrote a simple SOAP client library in Emacs Lisp. By using
> this library my debbugs-mode requested for a bug list (filtered by
> different parameters: package, severity, tags, etc.) along with the
> status information for every bug. Bug reports are grouped by severity,
> sorted by bug number and displayed in outline-mode (folding/unfolding
> out of a box).
> One year old screenshot:
> http://s006.radikal.ru/i214/1001/d1/08ef5f85246e.png

That includes both frontend and backend. For better exploitation,
debbugs.el is intended to offer backend functionality only, it does not
care about any UI.

> I didn't use the SOAP to request the bug logs because Debbugs/SOAP won't
> send the attachments.

Indeed. However, an empty "attachment" attribute is returned; it might
be just a question of implementing it server side.

> When I hit RET against the bug entry, the maintainer's mbox for
> selected bug is downloaded. mbox can be opened either in Gnus or in
> RMAIL. I used the latter to be neutral to the users of different mail
> programs: Gnus, Wunderlust, etc. Any message from the log can be
> replied with your favourite mail program (Gnus in my case).

This is useful when the frontend is something related to email
display/reply. It might also have a better performance than the SOAP
based retrieval (I haven't checked). Maybe both alternatives for message
retrieval shall be offered by the backend.

> My work can be viewed as early technical preview; it has many dirty
> hacks (hardcoded XML namespaces in SOAP client library is the most
> simple example), bugs. The code is ugly, I was in hurry to make the mode
> work. That's because it's not published yet. :)

That's how I also started mid of 2009. Last year, I switched to
soap-client.el (recently added to Emacs' trunk). My code is much less
ugly now.

I've also written a frontend similar to what you have done, but it is
based on widgets instead of outline mode. Like yours, it is unfinished.

> I want to start hacking again and hope to finish it some day. :)

Let's do it together. We could merge the backend functionality into
debbugs.el, and continue to work on the different frontends. As I have
said already, I would also be interested in an nnir integration.

And I believe also, that the debbugs SOAP interface should be
improved. From my todo list:

;; * SOAP interface extensions (wishlist).
;;   - Server-side sorting.
;;   - Regexp and/or wildcards search.
;;   - Fulltext search.

Best regards, Michael.

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