Thoughts after commenting on someone's frustrations in Fedora bug 494505

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I'm subscribed to all downstream Miro bugs in the Fedora bug-tracker. I'm also subscribed to all downstream Miro bugs in the Debian bug tracking system. It helps a lot to triangulate issues with external component versions and the myriad of other problems that come with developing an application that runs on Linux distributions.

Today, Rudd-O, who I've never met, ranted on the state of the Miro codebase in bug 494505 in the Fedora bug-tracker. I responded with this

I thought I should blog about that since I really don't blog enough about the whos and the whys and the hows of Miro development.

After Miro 1.2, we decided to embark on some serious rewrites to fix big problems with the way Miro was structured. Thus each major version since Miro 1.2 has involved signficant overhaul.

Miro 2.0 saw a re-write of the ui. In doing so, we rewrote the Windows platform code which used to be a XULRunner application but is now a Python application using GTK. The ui rewrite fixed a lot of internal codebase problems, but the primary use case was to fix performance problems when displaying feeds with lots of items in them. Display isn't perfect, but it scales a lot better now. As a side note, it's not that we didn't like XULRunner, it's that we wanted to merge the windows and gtk-x11 platforms to make it easier to develop going forward.

Miro 2.5 (not quite out yet, but hopefully soon!) involved a re-write of the data storage code. It is a good thing to do in general, but the primary use case here was to fix performance problems with startup. No longer does Miro need to load the whole database to load the ui; now it can do it in parts. This speeds up Miro startup for a lot of people especially those with large databases. As an added bonus, the database is a regular relational database which other programs can access to see Miro managed media and metadata.

We don't have plans for the next version yet, but there's still a lot of stuff to re-write and make better. The downloading code needs refactoring. The feedparsing code needs good regression tests and once we have good regression tests, it should get refactored. There's a lot of code that needs to be documented and cleaned up. We need to add support for new standards and specifications. We need to add support for really important features like subtitles. We want to build a plugin framework allowing people to extend Miro in their own ways to meet their needs.

That's what we're working on, but there's no way we can do it all at once. We could use your help. If you can't contribute code, contribute funding for someone else to dedicate the time to work on code.

We are all Miro users. We are all Miro evangelists. We are all Miro testers. We are all Miro developers. Miro was made by you and me for you and me. Long live Free Software and Open Video!

Want to comment? Send an email to willkg at bluesock dot org. Include the url for the blog entry in your comment so I have some context as to what you're talking about.