GNUe Traffic #91 For 26�Jul�2003

Editor: Peter Sullivan

By Peter Sullivan

"jcater you are my hero - two bugs fixed and you didnt even have to be here - thats what i e call AI"

Table Of Contents


This covers the three main mailing lists for the GNU Enterprise ( project, plus the #gnuenterprise IRC channel.

1. On-startup trigger problem and next release

17�Jul�2003�-�21�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 17 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Forms, Designer

People: James Thompson,�Mike Vincent,�Jason Cater

James Thompson (jamest) asked "any reasons we can't be thinking release?" Mike Vincent (Vee2d2) pointed out "on-startup trigger doesnt fire first" (as discussed in Issue�#90, Section�#4� (13�Jul�2003:�on-startup and other triggers in Forms) ) and "touching the trigger drop down on the code editor in designer is still dangerous" . James said that Jason Cater (jcater) had "mentioned having some code in designer(?) that could be copied to solve" the on-startup trigger problem. Mike said it was "up to you guys if it's release critical or not.. I'm not sure if I found a different way to do what I needed" .

Later, Jason explained "with that On-Startup bug - I'm thinking we just leave that as a known bug - release - then fix properly. I know how I want to fix it - and it should work w/o problem - but it will touch a bit of code. well, not really touch a lot of code - but touches on startup logic" . Mike said this "works for me" .

Some days later ( , Jason said "you'll be glad to know I just committed a fix for your Code Editor dropdown bug :) - it was a bugger to figure out" . Later, Mike played "with the trigger dropdown - it's everything I dreamed it would be.. :)" Jason said he was "doing several forms" himself as of time of writing - "all using designer - hence the usability commits :)" Mike felt "the block tabs Rock! too.. I'm all for a 0.5.1 now.. you guys have my vote fwiw.." But Jason said there was "a bug in forms I need fixed first. if you mark an entry as non-navigable - you can still click on it in the wxWindows-driver. The wx focus changes - but the forms focus doesn't change" , which meant that the display logic and the form logic got out of synch. Mike said "I think I made mine nonnav and readonly" in order to minimise the problem.

2. GNUe publicity events

17�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 17 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

People: Derek Neighbors,�der.hans

Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said that he had "about 20 - 25 people on the list current that are interested" in an upcoming publicity event for GNUe with the Phoenix Linux User Group (PLUG) in Arizona, USA. He wished "i had a GNU Enterprise Knoppix cd" so it could be demonstrated from a bootable CD under GNU/Linux without having to install it. der.hans (LuftHans) said "that's something I need, so help me get gnue working and I'll have it on" the bespoke Knoppix distribution PLUG were planning. Derek said he also needed "some experienced folks to run a booth in San Francisco in August" at Linux World Expo (LWE) - "/me thinks they gave us one eventhough i never asked" - but he was unlikely to be able to go himself.

3. Changes to *.gfd (GNUe Form Definitions) layout since version 0.5

18�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Forms

People: der.hans,�Derek Neighbors

der.hans (LuftHans) was "working on a demo GNUe XML form. Good thing there's a 'using a text editor' section" for writing GNUe Form Definition files (*.gfd) in the documentation, since he could not get GNUe Designer to work. However, he was getting a traceback error when he tried to open the form definition in GNUe Forms. Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) asked "what is wrong with designer? last i heard it pretty close to having most bugs fixed. plese note you need wxPython 2.4" . He felt "doing xml by hand is less than optimal (way easy to hose up) - also if you copied something out of the docs likely they are inaccurate" since "try as we might... development happens faster than documentation" . der.hans said he had used the Zipcode example. He asked "doesn't the PHP thingy have a validator?" Derek said that the Forms client written in PHP was "not usuable for anything remotely close to production - unless you want to contribute code to make it work :)" He was not keen on web-based enterprise applications anyway, for anything other than occasional data entry users.

Derek looked at Hans' form definition and noted that the "form spec has changed radically" from version 0.5, as previously discussed in Issue�#57, Section�#7� (26�Nov�2002:�Old format .gfds do not work with CVS head) - he personally had not been affected much by this, as he had "stopped editing dumb files by hand when designer got better" . He suggested some changes to der.hans's form definition which got it up and working at Derek's end - but der.hans was still having problems as he had "no db driver for psycopg" .

4. CVS version of Designer well ahead of last release

18�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Designer

People: Mike Vincent,�Derek Neighbors

Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) noted two bugs in Designer, but Mike Vincent (Vee2d2) said he believed they were fixed in CVS. This lead Derek to update his CVS for the first time since CVS had been broken up into seperate modules for each application, as discussed in Issue�#87, Section�#4� (20�Jun�2003:�CVS restructuring) . Mike said "IIRC there's like a "wowiee wow! wow!" difference between" the last official release of GNUe Designer (0.5.0) and the CVS version as of time of writing - "I dont remember if that happened prior to the cvs restructuring or not though" . Derek reported that both his bugs had been fixed - "jcater you are my hero - two bugs fixed and you didnt even have to be here - thats what i call AI" .

5. GNUe Small Business and arias integration

19�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 19 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Small Business

People: Mike Vincent,�Chan Min Wai

Mike Vincent (Vee2d2) said he had "an itch to get product (item) management to a state where I can: setup my product line, print a price list, and perhaps print brochures and or a catalog so I've been working to that end. " . He had not "played with aria much.. well really, not at all.. " . Chan Min Wai (dcmwai) said "It is just a erp that is incomplete... and our objective is to complete every part of it.. and Joining with Gnue-sb will make things work without double work" . Mike agreed - "I'm not sure what the roadmap for integration looks like though.." Chan said "We haen't have one yet..." In the meantime, Mike suggested, "if the schema is set, then you could probably work on forms to do what arias currently does in the way of payroll, ap, ar, gl" .

6. Are web-based enterprise applications evil?

19�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 19 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Why GNUe?

People: Stuart Quimby,�Derek Neighbors

Stuart Quimby (ToyMan) asked "how web-integrated is gnue these days?" Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said "not very - i.e. same as before" . He added "really i cant imagine running a business off all web backend" - he had seen proprietary ERP packages that had gone web-based "and its rather horrible" . He explained "the problem is the web makes for a HORRIBLY inefficient UI - unless you use java applets or activeX controls - but then you are not a 'web application' - you are an application in a web browser - ie you lose all the good reasons to use a web app (as you have to deploy stuff client side)" . The problem with HTML was "basically if its not java/activeX etc its stateless which makes for horridly inefficient refreshes" . His own bank had a web-based online banking application, which was fine when used (say) in the middle of the night (and being web-based allowed him to use GNU/Linux rather than Microsoft Windows) "but when its a heavy traffic bank day - its 'stateless' refresh times are so horrible it's nearly unusable :("

7. Fixing problems with popy driver with GNUe

21�Jul�2003�-�22�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Common

People: Mike Vincent,�Thierry Michel,�James Thompson

Further to Issue�#90, Section�#7� (15�Jul�2003:�popy and psycopg as alternative python drivers for PostgreSQL) , Mike Vincent (Vee2d2) reported "I tried popy last week but had to revert back to psycopg because it breaks designer's schema navigator.. apparently because of the way it returns types.. like it was expecting" Object IDs (oid) "to be returned as a int type but was getting a str, I think.. *shrug*" . Thierry Michel (thierry), one of the popy developers, said "it's complex to deal w/ oid type - each table has an oid and lob are also using oid" . He asked whether people had seen "the announce about pygresql/popy project merging ?" . He offered to fix the problem with the popy driver if he could - "popy tries to detect LOB and handles them transparently - but as oid is used by tables, the automatic detection is impossible IMHO - so, LOB are not handled by default by popy and oid too..."

James Thompson (jamest) asked "just out of curiosity does popy deal with ' properly?" - he had "tested out some of my forms with pygresql and it did the right thing wrt strings that contained ' - however one of my users told me the other day that strings with ' in them choaked the form - the only change I recall was going to popy" . He had had "0 time to look at gnue's code, the users example, or anything - so it could be user error but I figured since the popy author was here for abuse - it was too good to pass up" . Thierry admitted that "popy has problem with quoting - we are working on it and a better types converter" .

Later, Thierry announced a "new version of popy 2.0.10 available on sf's cvs ( " . Mike noted that this "fixes the schema navigator breakage in designer while using popy" .

The next day ( , Thierry confirmed "the popy team decided to continue the development of PoPy until the 2.1 which will be the last stable and mature release - in parallel, we'll begin to develop the new merging pygresql project" with the psycopg developers. Meanwhile, "2.1 will correct all bugs of PoPy" . James asked "any timeline for 2.1?" Thierry said "until we receive bugs :/ - we planned 5 (max) pre-release for the 2.1. we have already begin the pre1 (which includes bugs I fixed in the 2.0.11, and some code cleaning)" .

8. Documentation toools for the GNUe project

21�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

People: Jason Cater,�Mike Vincent

Acknowledging the risk of re-igniting threads going back as far as Issue�#4, Section�#4� (14�Nov�2001:�Using non-free tools for GNUe Documentation) , Jason Cater (jcater) asked "I wonder what people would think of - I've debated about testing it out for almost a year now. It's basically online book editing - /me is thinking the dev guide he's working on. The Zope Book ( uses it" . Mike Vincent (Vee2d2) felt "if it's some sorta wiki thing I think that'd be cool.. I find the online php manual indespensible with all it's annotations from users.." Jason said "yeah, it's a lot like the PHP manual" .

9. License for GNUe Documentation

23�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 23 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

People: Reinhard M�ller,�Daniel Baumann,�Jeff Bailey,�Jason Cater,�Richard Stallman

Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) had been "reading some interesting texts about the GFDL" (GNU Free Documentation License) - "I start to doubt seriously if the GFDL is the correct license for GNUe Documentation" . The problem was that making use of the part of the license that allowed you to specify invariant sections arguably made the whole document non-free. Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) felt "it is a sad fact in this day and age you have to jump through so mnay hoops in order to cover your backside legally, but I hardly blame it on the GFDL" . Jeff Bailey (jbailey) recommended "Please try hard to avoid the GFDL. If you use it, please try hard to avoid invariant sections." He noted that this was causing problems for the Debian project - "I'll be shortly moving Glibc's documentation to non-free in Debian. I think GCC's documentation is already there." Reinhard said "if i write a documentation - I _want_ it to be usable in manpages" . Daniel pointed out that the copyright to all GNUe documentation was assigned to the Free Software Foundation (FSF), but the authors had joint copyright on their own contributions as well. Daniel felt the FSF "should probably reevaluate the GFDL...but I alos see" Richard Stallman's (rms) "point he doesn't want people changing the author's "opinion" either and making it easy to defraud them" . Reinhard said "the main point is - i don't see _any_ advantages for us from the restrictions the gfdl places - but i see _many_ disadvantages for our users" . Daniel and Reinhard agreed this needed to be discussed with the FSF.

Later, Jason Cater (jcater) agreed "we should seriously re-evaluate our GFDL usage" . Jeff noted that "One solution I've seen applied though is that folks have refused to add invariant clauses. Basically telling the FSF that if they want them, they need to add it themselves."

10. Church management software in GNUe

23�Jul�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 23 Jul 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Forms, Customer Relations

People: Mike Vincent,�Jeff Bailey,�Derek Neighbors

It was asked if GNUe could be used to implement web-accessible church management software (a type of CRM) to support the activities of a small missions organization. Mike Vincent (Vee2d2) suggested talking to Derek Neighbors (dneighbo)- "I believe he does a fair bit of stuff for his church using gnue tools" . Jeff Bailey (jbailey) warned "The html forms stuff isn't done yet. I have some sketches" (as previously discussed in Issue�#69, Section�#2� (15�Feb�2003:�HTML User Interface for Forms) ), "but ran out of time. =(" The biggest issue was that "The basic HTML forms should use CSS layout to put it on the screen, but CSS doesn't provide a perfect grid to work with." This would imply convincing the developers of the main non-web Forms client "that laying things out on grids is suboptimal. =) Also, there's no way to identify easily which tags are associated with which inputs, and that's another architecture change in designer." Ignoring these problems for the moment, "I'm suspecting that a competant python programmer could have it displaying HTML in 20 to 30 hours of coding."

However, continuing the theme from Issue�#91, Section�#6� (19�Jul�2003:�Are web-based enterprise applications evil?) , he asked "Does it have to be HTML? There's a Win32 client, and a Unix client. In general, native clients will suck less than web clients." It was noted that HTML was probably the best solution where people were accessing the system from machines that were not theirs - although if the Windows client executables were small enough, these could be downloaded and installed 'on the fly' each time.

Sharon And Joy

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