Recap of the March Pinax Hangout

On March 31st at noon Eastern time we screencasted our seventh Pinax Hangout. Here’s a little recap for you.

The purpose of the Pinax Hangouts is to engage more with the Pinax community. We want to let you know what we are working on, answer your questions, and present demos of old and new apps and starter projects. Our host this month was Patrick Altman. Patrick talked about the Pinax Groupware Starter Project.

Pinax Updates

Since our last Pinax Hangout there have been 22 releases on over 9 different projects. On one of these projects we saw 9 contributors of which over half were new contributors to Pinax. For some contributors this was their very first open source contribution, which we are very excited about. The projects with new releases are the following:

  • pinax-calendars: A template tag which allows you to take date based models and query sets and display them in a month view calendar.

  • pinax-webanalytics, formerly known as metron: A quick and easy way to add analytics like Google Analytics, Gauges, and Mixpanel to your app, which is easily extendable to your own analytics integration. pinax-webanalytics is integrated in each Pinax starter project.

  • pinax-lms-activities: A library with learning activities, which is under very heavy development. pinax-lms-activities is going to support our grander LMS efforts, which the Groupware Starter Project includes.

  • pinax-boxes: A CMS app for managing content on your site. pinax-boxes is very stable and included in a lot of different Pinax apps.

  • pinax-theme-bootstrap: A collection of templates that uses bootstrap and Markup components. We ship templates in themes versus apps because they tend to be very framework specific. This approach makes it possible to have and support themes around other frameworks to support the same apps. There have been lots of updates and new templates for various apps.

  • pinax-waitinglist: A way to easily stand up a landing page for your site pre-launch. You can collect email addresses from people interested in your site and optionally have them answer survey questions to give you an idea who is interested in using your site. There were 1-2 meaningful and a bunch of little minor releases.

  • pinax-blog, formerly known as biblion and renamed to pinax-blog after it was donated to the Pinax project from Eldarion: A very stable and mature blog app, which saw a few updates.

  • pinax-stripe: A very popular and well-known app for stripe integration via pinax-stripe makes easy credit card payments possible and is easy to integrate with stripe payments. It has good test coverage and documentation, automatically processes web hooks, and is promoted by stripe itself on their integrations page. pinax-stripe saw some minor releases and feature additions, and we have a lot more planned. There were 5 new Pinax contributors who contributed to pinax-stripe.

  • pinax-cli: A command line tool that makes it easy to start our Pinax starter projects. pinax-cli saw a few updates but mostly a little cleanup.

In addition to all these releases, 85 pull requests were merged to master.

Groupware Starter Project

The Pinax Groupware Starter Project builds the basis to motivate a lot of the app development we needed to support pinax-lms, a learning management system. Learning management solution software requires a lot of apps that are not related to learning management itself like documents, forums, and wikis. Pinax has a lot of these apps but what we don’t have is a starter project that includes a lot of those without the LMS.

In an effort to break up a release schedule to get to pinax-lms and to have a starter project which is useful without the LMS, we started down the path of creating several different starter projects that build up to a Groupware site which includes everything you would need to have some type of intranet of applications, etc. A big part of this and why it gets the name Groupware is that all of these apps will eventually have to have their data partitioned by a group but done in such a way that the apps don’t know about the partitioning, or better said done in a way that is easily compatible with using the app without having a group. As a beginning of this process we deferred the decision of how a group needs to be done.

In order to find out more about the Groupware Starter Project, you can visit the wiki page. There you will find all sorts of information on what the project is about, where we are going with it, all the different apps, what they are, how we integrate them, where we are at in the process, links to specific issues in each app that need to be done, etc. The wiki page is updated regularly and gives you an overview of what is done and what still needs to be done, what is checked off and what isn’t.

At the moment Milestone 0 is the most active. In Milestone 0 we are building a documents starter project, which is nearly done. To complete Milestone 0 we need to make progress on pinax-ratings and pinax-comments and integrate them into the documents project. After all of this is done we will build out the wiki and blog starter projects, which will be much simpler. When we get to this, we will add more issues, which we would appreciate your help with. Milestones 1-3 will build mostly on what has already been done. Milestone 1 will mostly entail integrations for apps which are done. Milestone 2 will require for us to solve the grouping problem. It is a hard problem to solve but there may be some elegant ways to go about it. We would love to hear your thoughts on this and start a discussion in our Pinax project Slack channel.

Once we are all the way through Milestone 3, we will be able to solely focus on the learning management system. We will use the pinax-lms-activities app, as well as build some course and module type modeling, which should be fairly easy and fun to do.

With a little bit of effort we can go through all this work fairly quickly and we’d love to see new collaborators help us with this effort. If you’re interested in helping but not sure where to start, pop into Pinax Slack and ping us. There are a lot of people there to help and we love newcomers!

If you missed our March Pinax Hangout, you can watch the video here

Our next Pinax Hangout will take place on Thursday, April 21st, at noon Eastern time. The topic will be pinax-types and Patrick Altman will be our host again. We hope that you will join us for our April Pinax Hangout!