Piwigo project is self hosted
In the early days of Piwigo project (2002) Piwigo project was already self hosted. I mean that the presentation pages and the forum were in a sub directory of my personnal website. In 2004, a part of the project moved to Gna! to host the CVS repository, newsletters and download mirror while presentation pages, forum and bugtracker were moved on a dedicated hosting with a dedicated domain name.
Today is another step. We’ve left Gna. As described in a forum topic, I explain that partially hosting the project on Gna forbid us to add some features.
Everything is on the piwigo.org server from now. I mean the download area, the Subversion repository, the newsletters.
Because it can be be very useful to know (and communicate about) the number of downloads, I have coded a download counter system. The purpose is not to concentrate all Piwigo downloads from piwigo.org, but to get an idea of the download activity. For example, it is very useful to know that adding a news on Freshmeat increases the downloads during 2 or 3 days.
2. Subversion repository
Hosting the Subversion repository has brought simplicity, reliability and more features.
The new repository is simpler because it is http://piwigo.org/svn instead of svn+ssh://firstname.lastname@example.org/svn/phpwebgallery. The URL is simpler, and the protocol is different. Apache manages permissions instead of SSH. And this is were simplicity is (on user side and admin side).
More reliable because I can manage backups by myself. As a professionnal Subversion administrator, I have written an incremental backup system for Subversion repositories (the script was improved, I will describe improvements in a future post). So, I have automatic incremental backups every 15 minutes and the backup directory is synchronized (rsync) on another server once a day. On Gna, the automatic full dump was 6 months old.
Apache permissions + self management = write access on specific folders. Here comes the first new feature. Extension contributors can host their code on Piwigo Subversion repository. For each extension directory, I can set a list of subversion accounts with write permission. This feature should make even more obvious that Piwigo project is very active, because extensions are a key feature for Piwigo project. Second new feature is Trac. I’ve installed Trac on piwigo.org, and it’s a much better source code browser than what Gna was offering.
On Gna, I had created a mailing-list for announcements. Replies were not possible (so it was not really a mailing-list). I’ve coded a simple subscription system, and now I see much more subscriptions coming 🙂 The advantage of the new subscription system is that we control the way to use it (this was much more complex with mailman on Gna). Now Piwigo followers can subscribe to the newsletter from a form on the download page, from their profile in the forum, during their registration on the forum. In future Piwigo 2.0.3, users will be able to subscribe from Piwigo installation and Piwigo administration.
On one hand I’ve been happy to use Gna for hosting. It’s a perfect solution when you want to focus on the code itself and not on the tools to manage the project. I keep using Gna for another project. On the other hand, I’m very happy to have left Gna concerning Piwigo project. We now have a much better Subversion repository and the newsletter subscriptions are by far more active.