Final Report - Produce a talks.cam not-a-service for trialling

Introduction

This project involved investigating the talks.cam software currently deployed at Cambridge, with a view to running our own instance.

http://devproj.inf.ed.ac.uk/show/292

Work done

The first act of the project involved contacting Cambridge, with a view to obtaining the source code. I was advised that there was only one developer left who knew about the project and that he was currently on secondment. The source code was freely downloadable, so I obtained a copy and started trying to get it working.

This proved quite difficult, the instructions at...

http://source.caret.cam.ac.uk/svn/projects/talks.cam/railsapp/trunk/dependencies.txt

... referred to installing on "debian sarge", so it seemed sensible at this point to install a debian VM and follow the instructions in dependencies.txt using that. This wasn't straightforward, however, as there were various differences between the instructions and the (current) reality - dependencies unavailable, changed names, version confusion and so on. It seemed clear at this point that I needed a more complete Ruby/Rails understanding to be able to proceed, so I devoted a little time to learning more about this.

The initial reply I had received from Cambridge indicated that Bob Fisher had also contacted them previously, so I emailed him to find out what work (if any) he had undertaken with the source code. He replied indicating that he had a budget to employ a PGR part-time and had a job spec written up to advertise this (160 hours) which was just waiting for College approval to advertise. At this point we decided to draw a line under our own investigations.

Conclusions

My own personal feeling on talks.cam is that it's unclear that it's in active development and also unclear how easily the code-base could be made to work on current systems. Any further undertaking on our part should be done with someone who has a reasonable experience of Ruby/Rails.

Time Spent

The project took a total of 13.25 hours (just under 2 days work)

-- TobyBlake - 03 Mar 2014

Topic revision: r1 - 03 Mar 2014 - 12:07:10 - TobyBlake
 
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