[Haskell-cafe] RFC: GSoC proposal: Improve the Hackage login system

Mateusz Kowalczyk fuuzetsu at fuuzetsu.co.uk
Thu Mar 20 10:26:14 UTC 2014

On 20/03/14 09:10, Chris Wong wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:35 AM, Mateusz Lenik <mlen at mlen.pl> wrote:
>> On Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 11:20:05AM +0000, Mateusz Kowalczyk wrote:
>>> On 18/03/14 22:14, Chris Wong wrote:
>>>> On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 11:04 PM, Mateusz Kowalczyk
>>>> <fuuzetsu at fuuzetsu.co.uk> wrote:
>>>>> Perhaps considering improving your ‘why you think you're the best person
>>>>> for this’ because I know there is another student submitting the
>>>>> proposal about the same topic!
>>>> Sure thing. I've rewritten that paragraph; it should be better now.
>>>> Out of curiosity, who's the other student? A cursory search shows nothing.
>>>>> --
>>>>> Mateusz K.
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
>>>>> Haskell-Cafe at haskell.org
>>>>> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
>>> Mateusz Lenik, he goes by ‘mlen’ on IRC. I have his proposal but I'm
>>> unsure whether I can post it as the gist is marked as private.
>> Hello everyone,
>> Here's the URL. I mark most of my gists private, as they have no use for most
>> of the people. This proposal is not private in any way.
>> https://gist.github.com/mlen/543c95cac276a57fee39
> Thanks for sharing. Since your proposal is quite comprehensive, I've
> opted to change mine instead.
> I'm going to focus on the UI -- hopefully that doesn't overlap with
> (what seems to be) backend work.
> Chris

I've read your new proposal and I think you'll definitely need more
solid specification on what you aim to do. An example is that you state
3 things for the ‘rewrite the homepage’ aim but the goals are
’rewrite/reword something, move an advertisement, add some links’. While
these are perfectly fine goals, they do not fit your timescale at all!
Just this aim alone you schedule for nearly a month! It sounds that it
could be done in a day instead. By the way, I don't think that moving
the advertisement is such a high priority that it needs to go into a
proposal: if they're funding Hackage and want their ad on the front
page, I don't see the problem. Existing Haskellers will rarely look at
the front page and new ones will probably see it a few times. I doubt
anyone would click on the About without a good reason to.

If you have more things in mind then you should definitely write them down.

Your specification of the search work is very lacking too. You don't say
what's wrong with current search and how you aim to improve it. I
believe Duncan Coutts was working on better search results by using
better heuristics. I don't know the details but it's almost certainly
worthwhile to contact him about it.

Here are two things that I think need attention interface-wise. Note
that even with these, you'll probably need to state more stuff:

* Better report presentation: at the moment we (sometimes) can get a
report log from Hackage about the build status of a package. At the
moment one has to manually change the URL to then get to dumped ‘Show’
instance of a Cabal data type. Buttons should be added and the report
should be presented in a much nicer way. Maybe even we could have a
small indicator whether the build worked or not on Hackage.

* Hackage exposes an API that lets us work with it. You can see it at
[1]. While it's nice to have, there's functionality there that's only
available through the API itself when it really should also be available
through friendlier means on the site itself. A big thing that comes to
my mind is the documentation uploads. If you search around the web,
you'll see that uploading own documentation for a package is quite a
mysterious process. It'd be much easier if we had a button which will
take us to an upload page which also contains instructions for properly
generating the documentation. Implementing a documentation checker (for
example to check that cross-package links aren't broken, aren't pointing
to local things, checks that index page works, all the common mistakes)
could be a side project.

Lastly, there are ~90 open bugs on the Hackage issue tracker[2]. Many of
those are fairly easy and of pretty great benefit to Hackage users
(a.k.a. pretty much everyone). Things like #74[3] could be implemented
with relative ease and I feel that if you could propose to close some
specific tickets and work on others, your proposal would be much, much
stronger. Frankly, I think that moving the ad from the front page is
much lower priority than many of the tickets there ;) I actually thing
that if one were to concentrate on the tickets themselves and make (some
of) the interface work a side goal, nearly all the tickets could be
fixed. Of course some tickets are best fixed with interface changes so
it's not like that's going on the back-burner.

A friendly reminder that there are only about 32 hours to get your
proposal in so make sure you don't miss it!

Oh, I nearly forgot, did you find a mentor for this new project you're

[1]: http://hackage.haskell.org/api
[2]: https://github.com/haskell/hackage-server/issues
[3]: https://github.com/haskell/hackage-server/issues/74
Mateusz K.

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