Saturday, February 02, 2008

Defining Development Goals: LaunchPad complements SourceForge

Today, Miguel (who made the 10000th CDK commit) and I gave LaunchPad a go, because if offers a nice GUI for planning and monitoring source code development. We have set up a CDK team and a CDK project. LaunchPad has overlap with SourceForge functionality, but they idea is not to duplicate functionality. Moreover, we do not translate the CDK either, so that LaunchPad functionality is not useful either. Not for the CDK at least; maybe for Jmol and Bioclipse?

However, we are interested in the task management system of LaunchPad. While the CDK project is currently maintaining a Project Maintenance Tasks tracker, it does not have the feature richness of the LaunchPad equivalent. The latter allows us to link tasks with series goals. We currently basically have two series: the cdk1.0.x/ branch, and trunk. Miguel and I have been working on getting the ionization potential prediction in trunk working, which involves about all the code Miguel wrote during his PhD thesis with Christoph. And, this is one of the goal of the next stable CDK series (replacing the 1.0.x series). This is something we can easily define in LaunchPad:

Getting the IP-prediction code updated for the new CDK atom types and other changes, and making it CDK stable involved quite a long list of tasks, which shows dependencies. For example, I can't continue cleaning up the partial charge prediction code, before the resonance structure generator in the reaction module is working properly again. This in turn depends on me adding missing radical and charge atom types, which in turn depends on expected atom types, which Miguel had to implement. And this last is actually what he was committing around the 10000th commit.

Now, Miguel and I will try to manage this development in trunk using LaunchPad. It allows as to define all these smaller tasks, but, more importantly, the dependencies between them:

As such, LaunchPad gives us the means to manage this complex development. It shows up what we're facing, how far we have progressed, and much, much more:

This goes well beyond what SourceForge has to offer; this will be an interesting experiment. I do not anticipate dropping SourceForge at all (just in case you were wondering...); they have served as generally very, very well; and completely free too! (LaunchPad is free too) As far as I can see, they form a perfect complement. Like a ligand and an enzyme, like opensource and open notebook science, or like a Mammoth and an ice field.

Speaking about ONS... Jean-Claude, not sure if LaunchPad would be open to projects without source code too...


  1. It looks like it could be a useful tool - let us know how it ends up getting used

  2. This would be really good for ONS, particularly multi-person projects, if there were a built in Wiki functionality as well. I love the visual project planning.

  3. Cameron, the system already allows linking each blueprint to a wiki page. Not build into LaunchPad, but exactly for the purpose you have in mind, I think.