Life as a conversion script author

Published: 2007-07-25 13:05 UTC. Tags: open source software

About a year ago, the infrastructure team of the python language project sent out a call for trackers. They had come to the conclusion that the tracker available at sourceforge was not good enough. I can understand that - it's very hard to use, and since it's running on sourceforge's servers, it can't be customized.

I and several other people thought that roundup, a tracker infrastructure would be a good choice, so we formed a team and managed to come up with a submission for the call. This included writing a conversion script that took the data from sourceforge and imported it into  the new tracker. I created this script based on a screenscraper library for sourceforge written by Fredrik Lundh. This was importer #1.

Later on, roundup was selected as one of the two final alternatives. Happy happy, joy joy :-). A team was formed (including me) for creating the tracker, and Upfront Systems kindly provided a linux host for running the tracker.

Now began the real work of designing the tracker and adjusting the importer to the final schema. During this time, sourceforge managed to fix their broken xml export, so I wrote a new importer that instead of screenscraping webpages took an xml file as input which was much faster and more reliable. That is, I wrote importer  #2.

Later on, when we were beginning to get ready for production launch, a real showstopper shows up - the xml export from sourceforge couldn't cope with the size of the python project - the export was missing data.

After several months of waiting for sourceforge, they have a new export script that includes all data. Unfortunately, it has a completely new xml format. Writing a third importer was less than fun, but I managed to complete importer #3 yesterday. Hopefully, I didn't introduce that many bugs..

Who knows, maybe the python project will have a new tracker sometime this year? :-)

Try out the new tracker at

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