Canonical Voices

Michael

After recently writing the re-usable wsgi-app role for juju charms, I wanted to see how easy it would be to apply this to an existing service. I chose the existing ubuntu-reviews service because it’s open-source and something that we’ll probably need to deploy with juju soon (albeit only the functionality for reviewing newer click applications).

I’ve tried to include the workflow below that I used to create the charm including the detailed steps and some mistakes, in case it’s useful for others. If you’re after more of an overview about using reusable ansible roles in your juju charms, checkout these slides.

1. Create the new charm from the bootstrap-wsgi charm

First grab the charm-bootstrap-wsgi code and rename it to ubuntu-reviews:

$ mkdir -p ~/charms/rnr/precise && cd ~/charms/rnr/precise
$ git clone https://github.com/absoludity/charm-bootstrap-wsgi.git
$ mv charm-bootstrap-wsgi ubuntu-reviews && cd ubuntu-reviews/

Then update the charm metadata to reflect the ubuntu-reviews service:

--- a/metadata.yaml
+++ b/metadata.yaml
@@ -1,6 +1,6 @@
-name: charm-bootstrap-wsgi
-summary: Bootstrap your wsgi service charm.
-maintainer: Developer Account <Developer.Account@localhost>
+name: ubuntu-reviews
+summary: A review API service for Ubuntu click packages.
+maintainer: Michael Nelson <michael.nelson@canonical.com>
 description: |
   <Multi-line description here>
 categories:

I then updated the playbook to expect a tarball named rnr-server.tgz, and gave it a more relevant app_label (which controls the directories under which the service is setup):

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -2,13 +2,13 @@
 - hosts: localhost
 
   vars:
-    - app_label: wsgi-app.example.com
+    - app_label: click-reviews.ubuntu.com
 
   roles:
     - role: wsgi-app
       listen_port: 8080
-      wsgi_application: example_wsgi:application
-      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/example-wsgi-app.tar.bzip2"
+      wsgi_application: wsgi:app
+      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
       when: build_label != ''

Although when deploying this service we’d be deploying a built asset published somewhere else, for development it’s easier to work with a local file in the charm – and the reusable wsgi-app role allows you to switch between those two options. So the last step here is to add some Makefile targets to enable pulling in the application code and creating the tarball (you can see the details on the git commit for this step).

With that done, I can deploy the charm with `make deploy` – expecting it to fail because the wsgi object doesn’t yet exist.

Aside: if you’re deploying locally, it’s sometimes useful to watch the deployment progress with:

$ tail -F ~/.juju/local/log/unit-ubuntu-reviews-0.log

At this point, juju status shows no issues, but curling the service does (as expected):

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080"
curl: (56) Recv failure: Connection reset by peer

Checking the logs (which, oh joy, are already setup and configured with log rotation etc. by the wsgi-app role) shows the expected error:

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "tail -F /srv/reviews.click.ubuntu.com/logs/reviews.click.ubuntu.com-error.log"
...
ImportError: No module named wsgi

2. Adding the wsgi, settings and urls

The current rnr-server code does have a django project setup, but it’s specific to the current setup (requiring a 3rd party library for settings, and serves the non-click reviews service too). I’d like to simplify that here, so I’m bundling a project configuration in the charm. First the standard (django-generated) manage.py, wsgi.py and near-default settings.py (which you can see in the actual commit).

An extra task is added which copies the project configuration into place during install/upgrade, and both the wsgi application location and the required PYTHONPATH are specified:

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -7,7 +7,8 @@
   roles:
     - role: wsgi-app
       listen_port: 8080
-      wsgi_application: wsgi:app
+      python_path: "{{ application_dir }}/django-project:{{ current_code_dir }}/src"
+      wsgi_application: clickreviewsproject.wsgi:application
       code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
       when: build_label != ''
 
@@ -18,20 +19,18 @@
 
   tasks:
 
-    # Pretend there are some package dependencies for the example wsgi app.
     - name: Install any required packages for your app.
-      apt: pkg={{ item }} state=latest update_cache=yes
+      apt: pkg={{ item }}
       with_items:
-        - python-django
-        - python-django-celery
+        - python-django=1.5.4-1ubuntu1~ctools0
       tags:
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
 
     - name: Write any custom configuration files
-      debug: msg="You'd write any custom config files here, then notify the 'Restart wsgi' handler."
+      copy: src=django-project dest={{ application_dir }} owner={{ wsgi_user }} group={{ wsgi_group }}
       tags:
-        - config-changed
-        # Also any backend relation-changed events, such as databases.
+        - install
+        - upgrade-charm
       notify:
         - Restart wsgi

I can now run juju upgrade-charm and see that the application now responds, but with a 500 error highlighting the first (of a few) missing dependencies…

3. Adding missing dependencies

At this point, it’s easiest in my opinion to run debug-hooks:

$ juju debug-hooks ubuntu-reviews/0

and directly test and install missing dependencies, adding them to the playbook as you go:

ubuntu@michael-local-machine-1:~$ curl http://localhost:8080 | less
ubuntu@michael-local-machine-1:~$ sudo apt-get install python-missing-library -y (and add it to the playbook in your charm editor).
ubuntu@michael-local-machine-1:~$ sudo service gunicorn restart

Rinse and repeat. You may want to occasionally run upgrade-charm in a separate terminal:

$ juju upgrade-charm --repository=../.. ubuntu-reviews

to verify that you’ve not broken things, running the hooks as they are triggered in your debug-hooks window.

Other times you might want to destroy the environment to redeploy from scratch.

Sometimes you’ll have dependencies which are not available in the distro. For our deployments,
we always ensure we have these included in our tarball (in some form). In the case of the reviews server, there was an existing script which pulls in a bunch of extra branches, so I’ve updated to use that in the Makefile target that builds the tarball. But there was another dependency, south, which wasn’t included by that task, so for simplicity here, I’m going to install that via pip (which you don’t want to do in reality – you’d update your build process instead).

You can see the extra dependencies in the commit.

4. Customise settings

At this point, the service deploys but errors due to a missing setting, which makes complete sense as I’ve not added any app-specific settings yet.

So, remove the vanilla settings.py and add a custom settings.py.j2 template, and add an extra django_secret_key option to the charm config.yaml:

--- a/config.yaml
+++ b/config.yaml
@@ -10,8 +10,13 @@ options:
     current_symlink:
         default: "latest"
         type: string
-        description: |
+        description: >
             The symlink of the code to run. The default of 'latest' will use
             the most recently added build on the instance.  Specifying a
             differnt label (eg. "r235") will symlink to that directory assuming
             it has been previously added to the instance.
+    django_secret_key:
+        default: "you-really-should-set-this"
+        type: string
+        description: >
+            The secret key that django should use for each instance.

--- /dev/null
+++ b/templates/settings.py.j2
@@ -0,0 +1,41 @@
+DEBUG = True
+TEMPLATE_DEBUG = DEBUG
+SECRET_KEY = '{{ django_secret_key }}'
+TIME_ZONE = 'UTC'
+ROOT_URLCONF = 'clickreviewsproject.urls'
+WSGI_APPLICATION = 'clickreviewsproject.wsgi.application'
+INSTALLED_APPS = (
+    'django.contrib.auth',
+    'django.contrib.contenttypes',
+    'django.contrib.sessions',
+    'django.contrib.sites',
+    'django_openid_auth',
+    'django.contrib.messages',
+    'django.contrib.staticfiles',
+    'clickreviews',
+    'south',
+)
...

Again, full diff in the commit.

With the extra settings now defined and one more dependencie added, I’m now able to ping the service successfully:

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/"
{"errors": {"package_name": ["This field is required."]}}

But that only works because the input validation is fired before anything tries to use the (non-existent) database…

5. Adding the database relation

I had expected this step to be simple – add the database relation, call syncdb/migrate, but there were three factors conspiring to complicate things:

  1. The reviews application uses a custom postgres “debversion” column type
  2. A migration for the older non-click reviewsapp service requires postgres superuser creds (specifically, reviews/0013_add_debversion_field.py
  3. The clickreviews app, which I wanted to deploy on its own, is currently dependent on the older non-click reviews app, so it’s necessary to have both enabled and therefore the tables from both sync’d

So to work around the first point, I split the ‘deploy’ task into two tasks so I can install and setup the custom debversion field on the postgres units, before running syncdb:

--- a/Makefile
+++ b/Makefile
@@ -37,8 +37,17 @@ deploy: create-tarball
        @juju set ubuntu-reviews build_label=r$(REVIEWS_REVNO)
        @juju deploy gunicorn
        @juju deploy nrpe-external-master
+       @juju deploy postgresql
        @juju add-relation ubuntu-reviews gunicorn
        @juju add-relation ubuntu-reviews nrpe-external-master
+       @juju add-relation ubuntu-reviews postgresql:db
+       @juju set postgresql extra-packages=postgresql-9.1-debversion
+       @echo "Once the services are related, run 'make setup-db'"
+
+setup-db:
+       @echo "Creating custom debversion postgres type and syncing the ubuntu-reviews database."
+       @juju run --service postgresql 'psql -U postgres ubuntu-reviews -c "CREATE EXTENSION debversion;"'
+       @juju run --unit=ubuntu-reviews/0 "hooks/syncdb"
        @echo See the README for explorations after deploying.

I’ve separated the syncdb out to a manual step (rather than running syncdb on a hook like config-changed) so that I can run it after the postgresql service had been updated with the custom field, and also because juju doesn’t currently have a concept of a leader (yes, syncdb could be run on every unit, and might be safe, but I don’t like it conceptually).

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -3,13 +3,13 @@
 
   vars:
     - app_label: click-reviews.ubuntu.com
+    - code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
 
   roles:
     - role: wsgi-app
       listen_port: 8080
       python_path: "{{ application_dir }}/django-project:{{ current_code_dir }}/src"
       wsgi_application: clickreviewsproject.wsgi:application
-      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
       when: build_label != ''
 
     - role: nrpe-external-master
@@ -25,6 +25,7 @@
         - python-django=1.5.4-1ubuntu1~ctools0
         - python-tz
         - python-pip
+        - python-psycopg2
       tags:
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
@@ -46,13 +47,24 @@
       tags:
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
+        - db-relation-changed
       notify:
         - Restart wsgi
+
     # XXX Normally our deployment build would ensure these are all available in the tarball.
     - name: Install any non-distro dependencies (Don't depend on pip for a real deployment!)
       pip: name={{ item.key }} version={{ item.value }}
       with_dict:
         south: 0.7.6
+        django-openid-auth: 0.2
       tags:
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
+
+    - name: sync the database
+      django_manage: >
+        command="syncdb --noinput"
+        app_path="{{ application_dir }}/django-project"
+        pythonpath="{{ code_dir }}/current/src"
+      tags:
+        - syncdb

To work around the second and third points above, I updated to remove the ‘south’ django application so that syncdb will setup the correct current tables without using migrations (while leaving it on the pythonpath as some code imports it currently), and added the old non-click reviews app to satisfy some of the imported dependencies.

By far the most complicated part of this change though, was the database settings:

--- a/templates/settings.py.j2
+++ b/templates/settings.py.j2
@@ -1,6 +1,31 @@
 DEBUG = True
 TEMPLATE_DEBUG = DEBUG
 SECRET_KEY = '{{ django_secret_key }}'
+
+{% if 'db' in relations %}
+DATABASES = {
+  {% for dbrelation in relations['db'] %}
+  {% if loop.first %}
+    {% set services=relations['db'][dbrelation] %}
+    {% for service in services %}
+      {% if service.startswith('postgres') %}
+      {% set dbdetails = services[service] %}
+        {% if 'database' in dbdetails %}
+    'default': {
+        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
+        'NAME': '{{ dbdetails["database"] }}',
+        'HOST': '{{ dbdetails["host"] }}',
+        'USER': '{{ dbdetails["user"] }}',
+        'PASSWORD': '{{ dbdetails["password"] }}',
+    }
+        {% endif %}
+      {% endif %}
+    {% endfor %}
+  {% endif %}
+  {% endfor %}
+}
+{% endif %}
+
 TIME_ZONE = 'UTC'
 ROOT_URLCONF = 'clickreviewsproject.urls'
 WSGI_APPLICATION = 'clickreviewsproject.wsgi.application'
@@ -12,8 +37,8 @@ INSTALLED_APPS = (
     'django_openid_auth',
     'django.contrib.messages',
     'django.contrib.staticfiles',
+    'reviewsapp',
     'clickreviews',
-    'south',
 )
 AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS = (
     'django_openid_auth.auth.OpenIDBackend',

Why are the database settings so complicated? I’m currently rendering all the settings on any config change as well as database relation change which means I need to use the global juju state for the relation data, and as far as juju knows, there could be multiple database relations for this stack. The current charm helpers gives you this as a dict (above it’s ‘relations’). The ‘db’ key of that dict contains all the database relations, so I’m grabbing the first database relation and taking the details from the postgres side of that relation (there are two keys for the relation, one for postgres, the other for the connecting service). Yuk (see below for a better solution).

Full details are in the commit. With those changes I can now use the service:

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/"
{"errors": {"package_name": ["This field is required."]}}

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/?package_name=foo"
[]

A. Cleanup: Simplify database settings

In retrospect, the complicated database settings are only needed because the settings are rendered on any config change, not just when the database relation changes, so I’ll clean this up in the next step by moving the database settings to a separate file which is only written on the db-relation-changed hook where we can use the more convenient current_relation dict (given that I know this service only has one database relationship).

This simplifies things quite a bit:

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -45,11 +45,21 @@
         owner: "{{ wsgi_user }}"
         group: "{{ wsgi_group }}"
       tags:
-        - install
-        - upgrade-charm
+        - config-changed
+      notify:
+        - Restart wsgi
+
+    - name: Write the database settings
+      template:
+        src: "templates/database_settings.py.j2"
+        dest: "{{ application_dir }}/django-project/clickreviewsproject/database_settings.py"
+        owner: "{{ wsgi_user }}"
+        group: "{{ wsgi_group }}"
+      tags:
         - db-relation-changed
       notify:
         - Restart wsgi
+      when: "'database' in current_relation"
 
--- /dev/null
+++ b/templates/database_settings.py.j2
@@ -0,0 +1,9 @@
+DATABASES = {
+    'default': {
+        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
+        'NAME': '{{ current_relation["database"] }}',
+        'HOST': '{{ current_relation["host"] }}',
+        'USER': '{{ current_relation["user"] }}',
+        'PASSWORD': '{{ current_relation["password"] }}',
+    }
+}

--- a/templates/settings.py.j2
+++ b/templates/settings.py.j2
@@ -2,29 +2,7 @@ DEBUG = True
 TEMPLATE_DEBUG = DEBUG
 SECRET_KEY = '{{ django_secret_key }}'
 
-{% if 'db' in relations %}
-DATABASES = {
-  {% for dbrelation in relations['db'] %}
-  {% if loop.first %}
-    {% set services=relations['db'][dbrelation] %}
-    {% for service in services %}
-      {% if service.startswith('postgres') %}
-      {% set dbdetails = services[service] %}
-        {% if 'database' in dbdetails %}
-    'default': {
-        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
-        'NAME': '{{ dbdetails["database"] }}',
-        'HOST': '{{ dbdetails["host"] }}',
-        'USER': '{{ dbdetails["user"] }}',
-        'PASSWORD': '{{ dbdetails["password"] }}',
-    }
-        {% endif %}
-      {% endif %}
-    {% endfor %}
-  {% endif %}
-  {% endfor %}
-}
-{% endif %}
+from database_settings import DATABASES
 
 TIME_ZONE = 'UTC'

With those changes, the deploy still works as expected:
$ make deploy
$ make setup-db
Creating custom debversion postgres type and syncing the ubuntu-reviews database.
...
$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/?package_name=foo"
[]

Summary

Reusing the wsgi-app ansible role allowed me to focus just on the things that make this service different from other wsgi-app services:

  1. Creating the tarball for deployment (not normally part of the charm, but useful for developing the charm)
  2. Handling the application settings
  3. Handling the database relation and custom setup

The wsgi-app role already provides the functionality to deploy and upgrade code tarballs via a config set (ie. `juju set ubuntu-reviews build_label=r156`) from a configured url. It provides the functionality for the complete directory layout, user and group setup, log rotation etc. All of that comes for free.

Things I’d do if I was doing this charm for a real deployment now:

  1. Use the postgres db-admin relation for syncdb/migrations (thanks Simon) and ensure that the normal app uses the non-admin settings (and can’t change the schema etc.) This functionality could be factored out into another reusable role.
  2. Remove the dependency on the older non-click reviews app so that the clickreviews service can be deployed in isolation.
  3. Ensure all dependencies are either available in the distro, or included in the tarball

Filed under: cloud automation, juju

Read more
Michael

After recently writing the re-usable wsgi-app role for juju charms, I wanted to see how easy it would be to apply this to an existing service. I chose the existing ubuntu-reviews service because it’s open-source and something that we’ll probably need to deploy with juju soon (albeit only the functionality for reviewing newer click applications).

I’ve tried to include the workflow below that I used to create the charm including the detailed steps and some mistakes, in case it’s useful for others. If you’re after more of an overview about using reusable ansible roles in your juju charms, checkout these slides.

1. Create the new charm from the bootstrap-wsgi charm

First grab the charm-bootstrap-wsgi code and rename it to ubuntu-reviews:

$ mkdir -p ~/charms/rnr/precise && cd ~/charms/rnr/precise
$ git clone https://github.com/absoludity/charm-bootstrap-wsgi.git
$ mv charm-bootstrap-wsgi ubuntu-reviews && cd ubuntu-reviews/

Then update the charm metadata to reflect the ubuntu-reviews service:

--- a/metadata.yaml
+++ b/metadata.yaml
@@ -1,6 +1,6 @@
-name: charm-bootstrap-wsgi
-summary: Bootstrap your wsgi service charm.
-maintainer: Developer Account <Developer.Account@localhost>
+name: ubuntu-reviews
+summary: A review API service for Ubuntu click packages.
+maintainer: Michael Nelson <michael.nelson@canonical.com>
 description: |
   <Multi-line description here>
 categories:

I then updated the playbook to expect a tarball named rnr-server.tgz, and gave it a more relevant app_label (which controls the directories under which the service is setup):

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -2,13 +2,13 @@
 - hosts: localhost
 
   vars:
-    - app_label: wsgi-app.example.com
+    - app_label: click-reviews.ubuntu.com
 
   roles:
     - role: wsgi-app
       listen_port: 8080
-      wsgi_application: example_wsgi:application
-      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/example-wsgi-app.tar.bzip2"
+      wsgi_application: wsgi:app
+      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
       when: build_label != ''

Although when deploying this service we’d be deploying a built asset published somewhere else, for development it’s easier to work with a local file in the charm – and the reusable wsgi-app role allows you to switch between those two options. So the last step here is to add some Makefile targets to enable pulling in the application code and creating the tarball (you can see the details on the git commit for this step).

With that done, I can deploy the charm with `make deploy` – expecting it to fail because the wsgi object doesn’t yet exist.

Aside: if you’re deploying locally, it’s sometimes useful to watch the deployment progress with:

$ tail -F ~/.juju/local/log/unit-ubuntu-reviews-0.log

At this point, juju status shows no issues, but curling the service does (as expected):

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080"
curl: (56) Recv failure: Connection reset by peer

Checking the logs (which, oh joy, are already setup and configured with log rotation etc. by the wsgi-app role) shows the expected error:

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "tail -F /srv/reviews.click.ubuntu.com/logs/reviews.click.ubuntu.com-error.log"
...
ImportError: No module named wsgi

2. Adding the wsgi, settings and urls

The current rnr-server code does have a django project setup, but it’s specific to the current setup (requiring a 3rd party library for settings, and serves the non-click reviews service too). I’d like to simplify that here, so I’m bundling a project configuration in the charm. First the standard (django-generated) manage.py, wsgi.py and near-default settings.py (which you can see in the actual commit).

An extra task is added which copies the project configuration into place during install/upgrade, and both the wsgi application location and the required PYTHONPATH are specified:

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -7,7 +7,8 @@
   roles:
     - role: wsgi-app
       listen_port: 8080
-      wsgi_application: wsgi:app
+      python_path: "{{ application_dir }}/django-project:{{ current_code_dir }}/src"
+      wsgi_application: clickreviewsproject.wsgi:application
       code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
       when: build_label != ''
 
@@ -18,20 +19,18 @@
 
   tasks:
 
-    # Pretend there are some package dependencies for the example wsgi app.
     - name: Install any required packages for your app.
-      apt: pkg={{ item }} state=latest update_cache=yes
+      apt: pkg={{ item }}
       with_items:
-        - python-django
-        - python-django-celery
+        - python-django=1.5.4-1ubuntu1~ctools0
       tags:
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
 
     - name: Write any custom configuration files
-      debug: msg="You'd write any custom config files here, then notify the 'Restart wsgi' handler."
+      copy: src=django-project dest={{ application_dir }} owner={{ wsgi_user }} group={{ wsgi_group }}
       tags:
-        - config-changed
-        # Also any backend relation-changed events, such as databases.
+        - install
+        - upgrade-charm
       notify:
         - Restart wsgi

I can now run juju upgrade-charm and see that the application now responds, but with a 500 error highlighting the first (of a few) missing dependencies…

3. Adding missing dependencies

At this point, it’s easiest in my opinion to run debug-hooks:

$ juju debug-hooks ubuntu-reviews/0

and directly test and install missing dependencies, adding them to the playbook as you go:

ubuntu@michael-local-machine-1:~$ curl http://localhost:8080 | less
ubuntu@michael-local-machine-1:~$ sudo apt-get install python-missing-library -y (and add it to the playbook in your charm editor).
ubuntu@michael-local-machine-1:~$ sudo service gunicorn restart

Rinse and repeat. You may want to occasionally run upgrade-charm in a separate terminal:

$ juju upgrade-charm --repository=../.. ubuntu-reviews

to verify that you’ve not broken things, running the hooks as they are triggered in your debug-hooks window.

Other times you might want to destroy the environment to redeploy from scratch.

Sometimes you’ll have dependencies which are not available in the distro. For our deployments,
we always ensure we have these included in our tarball (in some form). In the case of the reviews server, there was an existing script which pulls in a bunch of extra branches, so I’ve updated to use that in the Makefile target that builds the tarball. But there was another dependency, south, which wasn’t included by that task, so for simplicity here, I’m going to install that via pip (which you don’t want to do in reality – you’d update your build process instead).

You can see the extra dependencies in the commit.

4. Customise settings

At this point, the service deploys but errors due to a missing setting, which makes complete sense as I’ve not added any app-specific settings yet.

So, remove the vanilla settings.py and add a custom settings.py.j2 template, and add an extra django_secret_key option to the charm config.yaml:

--- a/config.yaml
+++ b/config.yaml
@@ -10,8 +10,13 @@ options:
     current_symlink:
         default: "latest"
         type: string
-        description: |
+        description: >
             The symlink of the code to run. The default of 'latest' will use
             the most recently added build on the instance.  Specifying a
             differnt label (eg. "r235") will symlink to that directory assuming
             it has been previously added to the instance.
+    django_secret_key:
+        default: "you-really-should-set-this"
+        type: string
+        description: >
+            The secret key that django should use for each instance.

--- /dev/null
+++ b/templates/settings.py.j2
@@ -0,0 +1,41 @@
+DEBUG = True
+TEMPLATE_DEBUG = DEBUG
+SECRET_KEY = '{{ django_secret_key }}'
+TIME_ZONE = 'UTC'
+ROOT_URLCONF = 'clickreviewsproject.urls'
+WSGI_APPLICATION = 'clickreviewsproject.wsgi.application'
+INSTALLED_APPS = (
+    'django.contrib.auth',
+    'django.contrib.contenttypes',
+    'django.contrib.sessions',
+    'django.contrib.sites',
+    'django_openid_auth',
+    'django.contrib.messages',
+    'django.contrib.staticfiles',
+    'clickreviews',
+    'south',
+)
...

Again, full diff in the commit.

With the extra settings now defined and one more dependencie added, I’m now able to ping the service successfully:

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/"
{"errors": {"package_name": ["This field is required."]}}

But that only works because the input validation is fired before anything tries to use the (non-existent) database…

5. Adding the database relation

I had expected this step to be simple – add the database relation, call syncdb/migrate, but there were three factors conspiring to complicate things:

  1. The reviews application uses a custom postgres “debversion” column type
  2. A migration for the older non-click reviewsapp service requires postgres superuser creds (specifically, reviews/0013_add_debversion_field.py
  3. The clickreviews app, which I wanted to deploy on its own, is currently dependent on the older non-click reviews app, so it’s necessary to have both enabled and therefore the tables from both sync’d

So to work around the first point, I split the ‘deploy’ task into two tasks so I can install and setup the custom debversion field on the postgres units, before running syncdb:

--- a/Makefile
+++ b/Makefile
@@ -37,8 +37,17 @@ deploy: create-tarball
        @juju set ubuntu-reviews build_label=r$(REVIEWS_REVNO)
        @juju deploy gunicorn
        @juju deploy nrpe-external-master
+       @juju deploy postgresql
        @juju add-relation ubuntu-reviews gunicorn
        @juju add-relation ubuntu-reviews nrpe-external-master
+       @juju add-relation ubuntu-reviews postgresql:db
+       @juju set postgresql extra-packages=postgresql-9.1-debversion
+       @echo "Once the services are related, run 'make setup-db'"
+
+setup-db:
+       @echo "Creating custom debversion postgres type and syncing the ubuntu-reviews database."
+       @juju run --service postgresql 'psql -U postgres ubuntu-reviews -c "CREATE EXTENSION debversion;"'
+       @juju run --unit=ubuntu-reviews/0 "hooks/syncdb"
        @echo See the README for explorations after deploying.

I’ve separated the syncdb out to a manual step (rather than running syncdb on a hook like config-changed) so that I can run it after the postgresql service had been updated with the custom field, and also because juju doesn’t currently have a concept of a leader (yes, syncdb could be run on every unit, and might be safe, but I don’t like it conceptually).

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -3,13 +3,13 @@
 
   vars:
     - app_label: click-reviews.ubuntu.com
+    - code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
 
   roles:
     - role: wsgi-app
       listen_port: 8080
       python_path: "{{ application_dir }}/django-project:{{ current_code_dir }}/src"
       wsgi_application: clickreviewsproject.wsgi:application
-      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
       when: build_label != ''
 
     - role: nrpe-external-master
@@ -25,6 +25,7 @@
         - python-django=1.5.4-1ubuntu1~ctools0
         - python-tz
         - python-pip
+        - python-psycopg2
       tags:
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
@@ -46,13 +47,24 @@
       tags:
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
+        - db-relation-changed
       notify:
         - Restart wsgi
+
     # XXX Normally our deployment build would ensure these are all available in the tarball.
     - name: Install any non-distro dependencies (Don't depend on pip for a real deployment!)
       pip: name={{ item.key }} version={{ item.value }}
       with_dict:
         south: 0.7.6
+        django-openid-auth: 0.2
       tags:
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
+
+    - name: sync the database
+      django_manage: >
+        command="syncdb --noinput"
+        app_path="{{ application_dir }}/django-project"
+        pythonpath="{{ code_dir }}/current/src"
+      tags:
+        - syncdb

To work around the second and third points above, I updated to remove the ‘south’ django application so that syncdb will setup the correct current tables without using migrations (while leaving it on the pythonpath as some code imports it currently), and added the old non-click reviews app to satisfy some of the imported dependencies.

By far the most complicated part of this change though, was the database settings:

--- a/templates/settings.py.j2
+++ b/templates/settings.py.j2
@@ -1,6 +1,31 @@
 DEBUG = True
 TEMPLATE_DEBUG = DEBUG
 SECRET_KEY = '{{ django_secret_key }}'
+
+{% if 'db' in relations %}
+DATABASES = {
+  {% for dbrelation in relations['db'] %}
+  {% if loop.first %}
+    {% set services=relations['db'][dbrelation] %}
+    {% for service in services %}
+      {% if service.startswith('postgres') %}
+      {% set dbdetails = services[service] %}
+        {% if 'database' in dbdetails %}
+    'default': {
+        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
+        'NAME': '{{ dbdetails["database"] }}',
+        'HOST': '{{ dbdetails["host"] }}',
+        'USER': '{{ dbdetails["user"] }}',
+        'PASSWORD': '{{ dbdetails["password"] }}',
+    }
+        {% endif %}
+      {% endif %}
+    {% endfor %}
+  {% endif %}
+  {% endfor %}
+}
+{% endif %}
+
 TIME_ZONE = 'UTC'
 ROOT_URLCONF = 'clickreviewsproject.urls'
 WSGI_APPLICATION = 'clickreviewsproject.wsgi.application'
@@ -12,8 +37,8 @@ INSTALLED_APPS = (
     'django_openid_auth',
     'django.contrib.messages',
     'django.contrib.staticfiles',
+    'reviewsapp',
     'clickreviews',
-    'south',
 )
 AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS = (
     'django_openid_auth.auth.OpenIDBackend',

Why are the database settings so complicated? I’m currently rendering all the settings on any config change as well as database relation change which means I need to use the global juju state for the relation data, and as far as juju knows, there could be multiple database relations for this stack. The current charm helpers gives you this as a dict (above it’s ‘relations’). The ‘db’ key of that dict contains all the database relations, so I’m grabbing the first database relation and taking the details from the postgres side of that relation (there are two keys for the relation, one for postgres, the other for the connecting service). Yuk (see below for a better solution).

Full details are in the commit. With those changes I can now use the service:

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/"
{"errors": {"package_name": ["This field is required."]}}

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/?package_name=foo"
[]

A. Cleanup: Simplify database settings

In retrospect, the complicated database settings are only needed because the settings are rendered on any config change, not just when the database relation changes, so I’ll clean this up in the next step by moving the database settings to a separate file which is only written on the db-relation-changed hook where we can use the more convenient current_relation dict (given that I know this service only has one database relationship).

This simplifies things quite a bit:

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -45,11 +45,21 @@
         owner: "{{ wsgi_user }}"
         group: "{{ wsgi_group }}"
       tags:
-        - install
-        - upgrade-charm
+        - config-changed
+      notify:
+        - Restart wsgi
+
+    - name: Write the database settings
+      template:
+        src: "templates/database_settings.py.j2"
+        dest: "{{ application_dir }}/django-project/clickreviewsproject/database_settings.py"
+        owner: "{{ wsgi_user }}"
+        group: "{{ wsgi_group }}"
+      tags:
         - db-relation-changed
       notify:
         - Restart wsgi
+      when: "'database' in current_relation"
 
--- /dev/null
+++ b/templates/database_settings.py.j2
@@ -0,0 +1,9 @@
+DATABASES = {
+    'default': {
+        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
+        'NAME': '{{ current_relation["database"] }}',
+        'HOST': '{{ current_relation["host"] }}',
+        'USER': '{{ current_relation["user"] }}',
+        'PASSWORD': '{{ current_relation["password"] }}',
+    }
+}

--- a/templates/settings.py.j2
+++ b/templates/settings.py.j2
@@ -2,29 +2,7 @@ DEBUG = True
 TEMPLATE_DEBUG = DEBUG
 SECRET_KEY = '{{ django_secret_key }}'
 
-{% if 'db' in relations %}
-DATABASES = {
-  {% for dbrelation in relations['db'] %}
-  {% if loop.first %}
-    {% set services=relations['db'][dbrelation] %}
-    {% for service in services %}
-      {% if service.startswith('postgres') %}
-      {% set dbdetails = services[service] %}
-        {% if 'database' in dbdetails %}
-    'default': {
-        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
-        'NAME': '{{ dbdetails["database"] }}',
-        'HOST': '{{ dbdetails["host"] }}',
-        'USER': '{{ dbdetails["user"] }}',
-        'PASSWORD': '{{ dbdetails["password"] }}',
-    }
-        {% endif %}
-      {% endif %}
-    {% endfor %}
-  {% endif %}
-  {% endfor %}
-}
-{% endif %}
+from database_settings import DATABASES
 
 TIME_ZONE = 'UTC'

With those changes, the deploy still works as expected:
$ make deploy
$ make setup-db
Creating custom debversion postgres type and syncing the ubuntu-reviews database.
...
$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/?package_name=foo"
[]

Summary

Reusing the wsgi-app ansible role allowed me to focus just on the things that make this service different from other wsgi-app services:

  1. Creating the tarball for deployment (not normally part of the charm, but useful for developing the charm)
  2. Handling the application settings
  3. Handling the database relation and custom setup

The wsgi-app role already provides the functionality to deploy and upgrade code tarballs via a config set (ie. `juju set ubuntu-reviews build_label=r156`) from a configured url. It provides the functionality for the complete directory layout, user and group setup, log rotation etc. All of that comes for free.

Things I’d do if I was doing this charm for a real deployment now:

  1. Use the postgres db-admin relation for syncdb/migrations (thanks Simon) and ensure that the normal app uses the non-admin settings (and can’t change the schema etc.) This functionality could be factored out into another reusable role.
  2. Remove the dependency on the older non-click reviews app so that the clickreviews service can be deployed in isolation.
  3. Ensure all dependencies are either available in the distro, or included in the tarball

Filed under: cloud automation, juju

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Joseph Salisbury

Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.

Agenda

20140624 Meeting Agenda


Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:

  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/kt-meeting.txt


Status: Utopic Development Kernel

We have rebased our Utopic kernel “unstable” branch to v3.16-rc2. We
are preparing initial packages and performing some test builds and DKMS
package testing. I do not anticipate a v3.16 based upload until it has
undergone some additional widespread baking and testing.
—–
Important upcoming dates:
Thurs Jun 26 – Alpha 1 (2 days away)
Fri Jun 27 – Kernel Freeze for 12.04.5 and 14.04.1 (3 days away)
Thurs Jul 31 – Alpha 2 (~5 weeks away)


Status: CVE’s

The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:

http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/cve/pkg/ALL-linux.html


Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Trusty/Saucy/Precise/Lucid

Status for the main kernels, until today (May. 6):

  • Lucid – Testing
  • Precise – Testing
  • Saucy – Testing
  • Trusty – Testing

    Current opened tracking bugs details:

  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/kernel-sru-workflow.html

    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:

  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/sru-report.html

    Schedule:

    cycle: 08-Jun through 28-Jun
    ====================================================================
    06-Jun Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    08-Jun – 14-Jun Kernel prep week.
    15-Jun – 21-Jun Bug verification & Regression testing.
    22-Jun – 28-Jun Regression testing & Release to -updates.

    14.04.1 cycle: 29-Jun through 07-Aug
    ====================================================================
    27-Jun Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    29-Jun – 05-Jul Kernel prep week.
    06-Jul – 12-Jul Bug verification & Regression testing.
    13-Jul – 19-Jul Regression testing & Release to -updates.
    20-Jul – 24-Jul Release prep
    24-Jul 14.04.1 Release [1]
    07-Aug 12.04.5 Release [2]

    [1] This will be the very last kernels for lts-backport-quantal, lts-backport-raring,
    and lts-backport-saucy.

    [2] This will be the lts-backport-trusty kernel as the default in the precise point
    release iso.


Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No open discussions.

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Dustin Kirkland

It's that simple.
It was about 4pm on Friday afternoon, when I had just about wrapped up everything I absolutely needed to do for the day, and I decided to kick back and have a little fun with the remainder of my work day.

 It's now 4:37pm on Friday, and I'm now done.

Done with what?  The Yo charm, of course!

The Internet has been abuzz this week about the how the Yo app received a whopping $1 million dollars in venture funding.  (Forbes notes that this is a pretty surefire indication that there's another internet bubble about to burst...)

It's little more than the first program any kid writes -- hello world!

Subsequently I realized that we don't really have a "hello world" charm.  And so here it is, yo.

$ juju deploy yo

Deploying up a webpage that says "Yo" is hardly the point, of course.  Rather, this is a fantastic way to see the absolute simplest form of a Juju charm.  Grab the source, and go explore it yo-self!

$ charm-get yo
$ tree yo
├── config.yaml
├── copyright
├── hooks
│   ├── config-changed
│   ├── install
│   ├── start
│   ├── stop
│   ├── upgrade-charm
│   └── website-relation-joined
├── icon.svg
├── metadata.yaml
└── README.md
1 directory, 11 files



  • The config.yaml let's you set and dynamically changes the service itself (the color and size of the font that renders "Yo").
  • The copyright is simply boilerplate GPLv3
  • The icon.svg is just a vector graphics "Yo."
  • The metadata.yaml explains what this charm is, how it can relate to other charms
  • The README.md is a simple getting-started document
  • And the hooks...
    • config-changed is the script that runs when you change the configuration -- basically, it uses sed to inline edit the index.html Yo webpage
    • install simply installs apache2 and overwrites /var/www/index.html
    • start and stop simply starts and stops the apache2 service
    • upgrade-charm is currently a no-op
    • website-relation-joined sets and exports the hostname and port of this system
The website relation is very important here...  Declaring and defining this relation instantly lets me relate this charm with dozens of other services.  As you can see in the screenshot at the top of this post, I was able to easily relate the varnish website accelerator in front of the Yo charm.

Hopefully this simple little example might help you examine the anatomy of a charm for the first time, and perhaps write your own first charm!

Cheers,

Dustin

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Colin Ian King

stress-ng: an updated system stress test tool

Recently added to Ubuntu 14.10 is stress-ng, a simple tool designed to stress various components of a Linux system.   stress-ng is a re-implementation of the original stress tool written by Amos  Waterland and adds various new ways to exercise a computer as well as a very simple "bogo-operation" set of metrics for each stress method.

stress-ng current contains the following methods to exercise the machine:

  • CPU compute - just lots of sqrt() operations on pseudo-random values. One can also specify the % loading of the CPUs
  • Cache thrashing, a naive cache read/write exerciser
  • Drive stress by writing and removing many temporary files
  • Process creation and termination, just lots of fork() + exit() calls
  • I/O syncs, just forcing lots of sync() calls
  • VM stress via mmap(), memory write and munmap()
  • Pipe I/O, large pipe writes and reads that exercise pipe, copying and context switching
  • Socket stressing, much like the pipe I/O test but using sockets
  • Context switching between a pair of producer and consumer processes
Many of the above stress methods have additional configuration options.  Each stress method can be run by one or more child processes.

The --metrics option dumps the number of operations performed by each stress method, aka "bogo ops", bogos because they are a rough and unscientific metric.  One can specify how long to run a test either by test duration in sections or by bogo ops.

I've tried to make stress-ng compatible with the older stress tool, but note that it is not guaranteed to produce identical results as the common test methods between the two tools have been implemented differently.

Stress-ng has been a useful for helping me measure different power consuming loads.  It is also useful with various thermald optimisation tweaks on one of my older machines.

For more information, consult the stress-ng manual page.  Be warned, this tool can make your system get seriously busy and warm!

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Inayaili de León Persson

Latest from the web team — June 2014

We’re now almost half way through the year and only a few days until summer officially starts here in the UK!

In the last few weeks we’ve worked on:

  • Responsive ubuntu.com: we’ve finished publishing the series on making ubuntu.com responsive on the design blog
  • Ubuntu.com: we’ve released a hub for our legal documents and information, and we’ve created homepage takeovers for Mobile Asia Expo
  • Juju GUI: we’ve planned work for the next cycle, sketched scenarios based on the new personas, and launched the new inspector on the left
  • Fenchurch: we’ve finished version 1 of our new asset server, and we’ve started work on the new Ubuntu partners site
  • Ubuntu Insights: we’ve published the latest iteration of Ubuntu Insights, now with a dedicated press area
  • Chinese website: we’ve released the Chinese version of ubuntu.com

And we’re currently working on:

  • Responsive Day Out: I’m speaking at the Responsive Day Out conference in Brighton on the 27th on how we made ubuntu.com responsive
  • Responsive ubuntu.com: we’re working on the final tweaks and improvements to our code and documentation so that we can release to the public in the next few weeks
  • Juju GUI: we’re now starting to design based on the scenarios we’ve created
  • Fenchurch: we’re now working on Juju charms for the Chinese site asset server and Ubuntu partners website
  • Partners: we’re finishing the build of the new Ubuntu partners site
  • Chinese website: we’ll be adding a cloud and server sections to the site
  • Cloud Installer: we’re working on the content for the upcoming Cloud Installer beta pages

If you’d like to join the web team, we are currently looking for a web designer and a front end developer to join the team!

Juju scenariosWorking on Juju personas and scenarios.

Have you got any questions or suggestions for us? Would you like to hear about any of these projects and tasks in more detail? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Inayaili de León Persson

Making ubuntu.com responsive: final thoughts

This post is part of the series ‘Making ubuntu.com responsive‘.

There are several resources out there on how to create responsive websites, but they tend to go through the process in an ideal scenario, where the project starts with a blank slate, from scratch.

That’s why we thought it would be nice to share the steps we took in converting our main website and framework, ubuntu.com, into a fully responsive site, with all the constraints that come from working on legacy code, with very little time available, while making sure that the site was kept up-to-date and responding to the needs to the business.

Before we started this process, the idea of converting ubuntu.com seemed like a herculean task. It was only because we divided the work in several stages, smaller projects, tightened scope, and kept things simple, that it was possible to do it.

We learned a lot throughout this past year or so, and there is a lot more we want to do. We’d love to hear about your experience of similar projects, suggestions on how we can improve, tools we should look into, books we should read, articles we should bookmark, and things we should try, so please do leave us your thoughts in the comments section.

Here is the list of all the post in the series:

  1. Intro
  2. Setting the rules
  3. Making the rules a reality
  4. Pilot projects
  5. Lessons learned
  6. Scoping the work
  7. Approach to content
  8. Making our grid responsive
  9. Adapting our navigation to small screens
  10. Dealing with responsive images
  11. Updating font sizes and increasing readability
  12. Our Sass architecture
  13. Ensuring performance
  14. JavaScript considerations
  15. Testing on multiple devices

Note: I will be speaking about making ubuntu.com responsive at the Responsive Day Out conference in Brighton, on the 27th June. See you there!

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mandel

dbus-cpp is the libary that we are currently using to perform dbus calls from cpp within ubuntu touch. For those that are used to dbus-cpp know that the dbus interface can be defined via structures that are later checked at compile time. The following is an example of those definitions:

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struct Geoclue
{
    struct Master
    {
        struct Create
        {
            inline static std::string name()
            {
                return "Create";
            } typedef Master Interface;
            inline static const std::chrono::milliseconds default_timeout() { return std::chrono::seconds{1}; }
        };
    };
 
    struct MasterClient
    {
        struct SetRequirements
        {
            inline static std::string name()
            {
                return "SetRequirements";
            } typedef MasterClient Interface;
            inline static const std::chrono::milliseconds default_timeout() { return std::chrono::seconds{1}; }
        };
        struct GetAddressProvider
        {
            inline static std::string name()
            {
                return "GetAddressProvider";
            } typedef MasterClient Interface;
            inline static const std::chrono::milliseconds default_timeout() { return std::chrono::seconds{1}; }
        };
        struct GetPositionProvider
        {
            inline static std::string name()
            {
                return "GetPositionProvider";
            } typedef MasterClient Interface;
            inline static const std::chrono::milliseconds default_timeout() { return std::chrono::seconds{1}; }
        };
    };
 
    struct Address
    {
        struct GetAddress
        {
            inline static std::string name()
            {
                return "GetAddress";
            } typedef Address Interface;
            inline static const std::chrono::milliseconds default_timeout() { return std::chrono::seconds{1}; }
        };
    };
 
    struct Position
    {
        struct GetPosition
        {
            inline static std::string name()
            {
                return "GetPosition";
            } typedef Position Interface;
            inline static const std::chrono::milliseconds default_timeout() { return std::chrono::seconds{1}; }
        };
        struct Signals
        {
            struct PositionChanged
            {
                inline static std::string name()
                {
                    return "PositionChanged";
                };
                typedef Position Interface;
                typedef std::tuple<int32_t, int32_t, double, double, double, dbus::types::Struct<std::tuple<int32_t, double, double>>> ArgumentType;
            };
        };
    };
};
}

This is quite a lot of work and quite repetitive. We did notice that and used in some of our projects a set of macros to make us type less. We now will provide the following macros for other developers to use as part of dbus-cpp

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/*
 * Copyright © 2014 Canonical Ltd.
 *
 * This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it
 * under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3,
 * as published by the Free Software Foundation.
 *
 * This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
 * but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of+
 * MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
 * GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.
 *
 * You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License
 * along with this program. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.
 *
 * Authored by: Thomas Voß <thomas.voss@canonical.com>
 */
 
#ifndef CORE_DBUS_MACROS_H_
#define CORE_DBUS_MACROS_H_
 
#include <core/dbus/types/object_path.h>
 
#include <chrono>
#include <string>
 
#define DBUS_CPP_METHOD_WITH_TIMEOUT_DEF(Name, Itf, Timeout) \
 struct Name \
 { \
 typedef Itf Interface; \
 inline static const std::string& name() \
 { \
 static const std::string s{#Name}; \
 return s; \
 } \
 inline static const std::chrono::milliseconds default_timeout() { return std::chrono::milliseconds{Timeout}; } \
 };\

#define DBUS_CPP_METHOD_DEF(Name, Itf) DBUS_CPP_METHOD_WITH_TIMEOUT_DEF(Name, Itf, 2000)
 
#define DBUS_CPP_SIGNAL_DEF(Name, Itf, ArgType) \
 struct Name \
 { \
 inline static std::string name() \
 { \
 return #Name; \
 }; \
 typedef Itf Interface; \
 typedef ArgType ArgumentType; \
 };\

#define DBUS_CPP_READABLE_PROPERTY_DEF(Name, Itf, Type) \
 struct Name \
 { \
 inline static std::string name() \
 { \
 return #Name; \
 }; \
 typedef Itf Interface; \
 typedef Type ValueType; \
 static const bool readable = true; \
 static const bool writable = false; \
 }; \

#define DBUS_CPP_WRITABLE_PROPERTY_DEF(Name, Itf, Type) \
 struct Name \
 { \
 inline static std::string name() \
 { \
 return #Name; \
 }; \
 typedef Itf Interface; \
 typedef Type ValueType; \
 static const bool readable = true; \
 static const bool writable = true; \
 }; \

#endif // CORE_DBUS_MACROS_H_

Using those macros the above example is as follows

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struct Geoclue
{
    struct Master
    {
        DBUS_CPP_METHOD_DEF(Create, Master);
    };
 
    struct MasterClient
    {
        DBUS_CPP_METHOD_DEF(SetRequirements, MasterClient);
        DBUS_CPP_METHOD_DEF(GetAddressProvider, MasterClient);
        DBUS_CPP_METHOD_DEF(GetPositionProvider, MasterClient);
    };
 
    struct Address
    {
        DBUS_CPP_METHOD_DEF(GetAddress, Address);
    };
 
    struct Position
    {
        DBUS_CPP_METHOD_DEF(GetPosition, Position);
        struct Signals
        {
            DBUS_CPP_SIGNAL_DEF(PositionChanged, Position);
        };
    };
};
}

As you can see the amount of code that needs to be written is a lot less and a new developer can easily understand what is going on. Happy coding ;)

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Michael Hall

opplanet-tasco-usb-digital-microscope-780200tTwo years ago, my wife and I made the decision to home-school our two children.  It was the best decision we could have made, our kids are getting a better education, and with me working from home since joining Canonical I’ve been able to spend more time with them than ever before. We also get to try and do some really fun things, which is what sets the stage for this story.

Both my kids love science, absolutely love it, and it’s one of our favorite subjects to teach.  A couple of weeks ago my wife found an inexpensive USB microscope, which lets you plug it into a computer and take pictures using desktop software.  It’s not a scientific microscope, nor is it particularly powerful or clear, but for the price it was just right to add a new aspect to our elementary science lessons. All we had to do was plug it in and start exploring.

My wife has a relatively new (less than a year) laptop running windows 8.  It’s not high-end, but it’s all new hardware, new software, etc.  So when we plugged in our simple USB microscope…….it failed.  As in, didn’t do anything.  Windows seemed to be trying to figure out what to do with it, over and over and over again, but to no avail.

My laptop, however, is running Ubuntu 14.04, the latest stable and LTS release.  My laptop is a couple of years old, but classic, Lenovo x220. It’s great hardware to go with Ubuntu and I’ve had nothing but good experiences with it.  So of course, when I decided to give our new USB microsope a try……it failed.  The connection was fine, the log files clearly showed that it was being identified, but nothing was able to see it as a video input device or make use of it.

Now, if that’s where our story ended, it would fall right in line with a Shakespearean tragedy. But while both Windows and Ubuntu failed to “just work” with this microscope, both failures were not equal. Because the Windows drivers were all closed source, my options ended with that failure.

But on Ubuntu, the drivers were open, all I needed to do was find a fix. It took a while, but I eventually found a 2.5 year old bug report for an identical chipset to my microscope, and somebody proposed a code fix in the comments.  Now, the original reporter never responded to say whether or not the fix worked, and it was clearly never included in the driver code, but it was an opportunity.  Now I’m no kernel hacker, nor driver developer, in fact I probably shouldn’t be trusted to write any amount of C code at all.  But because I had Ubuntu, getting the source code of my current driver, as well as all the tools and dependencies needed to build it, took only a couple of terminal commands.  The patch was too old to cleanly apply to the current code, but it was easy enough to figure out where they should go, and after a couple tries to properly build just the driver (and not the full kernel or every driver in it), I had a new binary kernel modules that would load without error.  Then, when I plugged my USB microscope in again, it worked!

Red Onion skin at 120x magnificationPeople use open source for many reasons.  Some people use it because it’s free as in beer, for them it’s on the same level as freeware or shareware, only the cost matters. For others it’s about ethics, they would choose open source even if it cost them money or didn’t work as well, because they feel it’s morally right, and that proprietary software is morally wrong. I use open source because of USB microscopes. Because when they don’t work, open source gives me a chance to change that.

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Inayaili de León Persson

This post is part of the series ‘Making ubuntu.com responsive‘.

When working on a responsive project you’ll have to test on multiple operating systems, browsers and devices, whether you’re using emulators or the real deal.

Testing on the actual devices is preferable — it’s hard to emulate the feel of a device in your hand and the interactions and gestures you can do with it — and more enjoyable, but budget and practicability will never allow you to get a hold of and test on all the devices people might use to access your site.

We followed very simple steps that anyone can emulate to decide which devices we tested ubuntu.com on.

Numbers

You can quickly get a grasp of which operating systems, browsers and devices your visitors are using to get to your site just by looking at your analytics.

By doing this you can establish whether some of the more troublesome ones are worth investing time in. For example, if only 10 people accessed your site through Internet Explorer 6, perhaps you don’t need to provide a PNG fallback solution. But you might also get a few less pleasant surprises and find that a hard-to-cater-for browser is one of the preferred ones by your customers.

When we did our initial analysis we didn’t find any real surprises, however, due to the high volume of traffic that ubuntu.com sees every month even a very small percentage represented a large number of people that we just couldn’t ignore. It was important to keep this in mind as we defined which browsers, operating systems and devices to test on, and what issues we’d fix where.

Browsers (between 11 February and 13 March 2014)
Browser Percentage usage
Chrome 46.88%
Firefox 36.96%
Internet Explorer Total 7.54%
11 41.15%
8 22.96%
10 17.05%
9 14.24%
7 2.96%
6 1.56%
Safari 4.30%
Opera 1.68%
Android Browser 1.04%
Opera Mini 0.45%
Operating systems (between 11 February and 13 March 2014)
Operating system Percentage usage
Windows Total 52.45%
7 60.81%
8.1 14.31%
XP 13.3%
8.84 8.84%
Vista 2.38%
Linux 35.4%
Macintosh 6.14%
Android Total 3.32%
4.4.2 19.62%
4.3 15.51%
4.1.2 15.39%
iOS 1.76%
Mobile devices (between 12 May and 11 June 2014)
5.41% of total visits
Device Percentage usage (of 5.41%)
Apple iPad 17.33%
Apple iPhone 12.82%
Google Nexus 7 3.12%
LG Nexus 5 2.97%
Samsung Galaxy S III 2.01%
Google Nexus 4 2.01%
Samsung Galaxy S IV 1.17%
HTC M7 One 0.92%
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 0.88%
Not set 16.66%

After analysing your numbers, you can also define which combinations to test in (operating system and browser).

Go shopping

Based on the most popular devices people were using the access our site, we made a short list of the ones we wanted to buy first. We weren’t married to the analytics numbers though: the idea was to cover a range of screen sizes and operating systems and expand as we went along.

  • Nexus 7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II

We opted for not splashing on an iPad or iPhone, as there are quite a few around the office (retina and non-retina) and the money we saved meant we could buy other less common devices.

Testing devicesPart of our current device suite.

When we started to get a few bug reports from Android Gingerbread and Windows phone users, we decided we needed phones with those operating systems installed. This was our second batch of purchases:

  • Samsung Galaxy y
  • Kindle Fire HD (Amazon was having a sale at the time we made the list!)
  • Nokia Lumia 520
  • LG G2

And, last but not least, we use a Nexus 4 to test on Ubuntu on phones.

We didn’t spend much in any of our shopping sprees, but have managed to slowly build an ever-growing device suite that we can test our sites on, which is invaluable when working on responsive projects.

Alternatives

Some operating systems and browsers are trickier to test on in native devices. We have a BrowserStack account that we tend to use mostly to test on older Windows and Internet Explorer versions, although we also test Windows on virtual machines.

browserstackBrowserStack website.

Tools

We have to confess we’re not using any special software that synchronises testing and interactions across devices. We haven’t really felt the need for that yet, but at some point we should experiment with a few tools, so we’d like to hear suggestions!

Browser support

We prefer to think of different levels (or ways) of access to the content rather than browser support. The overall rule is that everyone should be able to get to the content, and bugs that obstruct access are prioritised and fixed.

As much as possible, and depending on resources available at the time, we try to fix rendering issues in browsers and devices used by a higher percentage of visitors: degree of usage defines the degree of effort fixing rendering bugs.

And, obviously: dowebsitesneedtolookexactlythesameineverybrowser.com.

Read the final post in this series: “Making ubuntu.com responsive: final thoughts”

Reading list

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David Murphy (schwuk)

Ars Technica has a great write up by Lee Hutchinson on our Orange Box demo and training unit.

You can't help but have your attention grabbed by it!

You can’t help but have your attention grabbed by it!

As the comments are quick to point out – at the expense of the rest of the piece – the hardware isn’t the compelling story here. While you can buy your own, you can almost certainly hand build an equivalent-or-better set up for less money1, but Ars recognises this:

Of course, that’s exactly the point: the Orange Box is that taste of heroin that the dealer gives away for free to get you on board. And man, is it attractive. However, as Canonical told me about a dozen times, the company is not making them to sell—it’s making them to use as revenue driving opportunities and to quickly and effectively demo Canonical’s vision of the cloud.

The Orange Box is about showing off MAAS & Juju, and – usually – OpenStack.

To see what Ars think of those, you should read the article.

I definitely echo Lee’s closing statement:

I wish my closet had an Orange Box in it. That thing is hella cool.


  1. Or make one out of wood like my colleague Gavin did! 

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Joseph Salisbury

Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.

Agenda

20140617 Meeting Agenda


ARM Status

Nothing new to report this week


Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:

  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/kt-meeting.txt


Milestone Targeted Work Items

I’d note that this section of the meeting is becoming less and less
useful to me in its current form. I’d like to take a vote to skip this
section until I/we can find a better solution. All in favor (ie +1)?
I’ll take silence as agreement as well :)
ppisati: +1
jsalisbury: +1
rtg: +1
ogasawara: ok, motion passed.
(actually the same could be said for the ARM status part since support it’s part of generic now FWIW)
Dropping ARM Status from this meeting as well.

   apw    core-1405-kernel    2 work items   
   ogasawara    core-1405-kernel    2 work items   


Status: Utopic Development Kernel

We have rebased our Utopic kernel to v3.15 final and uploaded
(3.15.0-6.11). As noted in previous meetings, we are planning on
converging on the v3.16 kernel for Utopic. We have started tracking
v3.16-rc1 in our “unstable” ubuntu-utopic branch. We’ll let this
marinate and bake for a bit before we do an official v3.16 based upload
to the archive.
—–
Important upcoming dates:
Thurs Jun 26 – Alpha 1 (~1 week away)
Fri Jun 27 – Kernel Freeze for 12.04.5 and 14.04.1 (~1 week away)
Thurs Jul 31 – Alpha 2 (~6 weeks away)


Status: CVE’s

The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:

http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/cve/pkg/ALL-linux.html


Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Trusty/Saucy/Precise/Lucid

Status for the main kernels, until today (May. 6):

  • Lucid – Verification and Testing
  • Precise – Verification and Testing
  • Saucy – Verification and Testing
  • Trusty – Verification and Testing
    Current opened tracking bugs details:
  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/kernel-sru-workflow.html

    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:

  • http://people.canonical.com/~kernel/reports/sru-report.html

    Schedule:
    cycle: 08-Jun through 28-Jun
    ====================================================================
    06-Jun Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    08-Jun – 14-Jun Kernel prep week.
    15-Jun – 21-Jun Bug verification & Regression testing.
    22-Jun – 28-Jun Regression testing & Release to -updates.
    14.04.1 cycle: 29-Jun through 07-Aug
    ====================================================================
    27-Jun Last day for kernel commits for this cycle
    29-Jun – 05-Jul Kernel prep week.
    06-Jul – 12-Jul Bug verification & Regression testing.
    13-Jul – 19-Jul Regression testing & Release to -updates.
    20-Jul – 24-Jul Release prep
    24-Jul 14.04.1 Release [1]
    07-Aug 12.04.5 Release [2]
    [1] This will be the very last kernels for lts-backport-quantal, lts-backport-raring,
    and lts-backport-saucy.
    [2] This will be the lts-backport-trusty kernel as the default in the precise point
    release iso.


Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No open discussion.

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Dustin Kirkland

It's hard for me to believe that I have sat on a this draft blog post for almost 6 years.  But I'm stuck on a plane this evening, inspired by Elon Musk and Tesla's (cleverly titled) announcement, "All Our Patents Are Belong To You."  Musk writes:

Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.
When I get home, I'm going to take down a plaque that has proudly hung in my own home office for nearly 10 years now.  In 2004, I was named an IBM Master Inventor, recognizing sustained contributions to IBM's patent portfolio.

Musk continues:
When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors. After Zip2, when I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible.
And I feel the exact same way!  When I was an impressionable newly hired engineer at IBM, I thought patents were wonderful expressions of my own creativity.  IBM rewarded me for the work, and recognized them as important contributions to my young career.  Remember, in 2003, IBM was defending the Linux world against evil SCO.  (Confession: I think I read Groklaw every single day.)

Yeah, I filed somewhere around 75 patents in about 4 years, 47 of which have been granted by the USPTO to date.

I'm actually really, really proud of a couple of them.  I was the lead inventor on a couple of early patents defining the invention you might know today as Swype (Android) or Shapewriter (iPhone) on your mobile devices.  In 2003, I called it QWERsive, as the was basically applying "cursive handwriting" to a "qwerty keyboard."  Along with one of my co-inventors, we actually presented a paper at the 27th UNICODE conference in Berlin in 2005, and IBM sold the patent to Lenovo a year later.  (To my knowledge, thankfully that patent has never been enforced, as I used Swype every single day.)

QWERsive

But that enthusiasm evaporated very quickly between 2005 and 2007, as I reviewed thousands of invention disclosures by my IBM colleagues, and hundreds of software patents by IBM competitors in the industry.

I spent most of 2005 working onsite at Red Hat in Westford, MA, and came to appreciate how much more efficiently innovation happened in a totally open source world, free of invention disclosures, black out periods, gag orders, and software patents.  I met open source activists in the free software community, such as Jon maddog Hall, who explained the wake of destruction behind, and the impending doom ahead, in a world full of software patents.

Finally, in 2008, I joined an amazing little free software company called Canonical, which was far too busy releasing Ubuntu every 6 months on time, and building an amazing open source software ecosystem, to fart around with software patents.  To my delight, our founder, Mark Shuttleworth, continues to share the same enlightened view, as he states in this TechCrunch interview (2012):
“People have become confused,” Shuttleworth lamented, “and think that a patent is incentive to create at all.” No one invents just to get a patent, though — people invent in order to solve problems. According to him, patents should incentivize disclosure. Software is not something you can really keep secret, and as such Shuttleworth’s determination is that “society is not benefited by software patents at all.”Software patents, he said, are a bad deal for society. The remedy is to shorten the duration of patents, and reduce the areas people are allowed to patent. “We’re entering a third world war of patents,” Shuttleworth said emphatically. “You can’t do anything without tripping over a patent!” One cannot possibly check all possible patents for your invention, and the patent arms race is not about creation at all.
And while I'm still really proud of some of my ideas today, I'm ever so ashamed that they're patented.

If I could do what Elon Musk did with Tesla's patent portfolio, you have my word, I absolutely would.  However, while my name is listed as the "inventor" on four dozen patents, all of them are "assigned" to IBM (or Lenovo).  That is to say, they're not mine to give, or open up.

What I can do, is speak up, and formally apologize.  I'm sorry I filed software patents.  A lot of them.  I have no intention on ever doing so again.  The system desperately needs a complete overhaul.  Both the technology and business worlds are healthier, better, more innovative environment without software patents.

I do take some consolation that IBM seems to be "one of the good guys", in so much as our modern day IBM has not been as litigious as others, and hasn't, to my knowledge, used any of the patents for which I'm responsible in an offensive manner.

No longer hanging on my wall.  Tucked away in a box in the attic.
But there are certainly those that do.  Patent trolls.

Another former employer of mine, Gazzang was acquired earlier this month (June 3rd) by Cloudera -- a super sharp, up-and-coming big data open source company with very deep pockets and tremendous market potential.  Want to guess what happened 3 days later?  A super shady patent infringement lawsuit is filed, of course!
Protegrity Corp v. Gazzang, Inc.
Complaint for Patent InfringementCivil Action No. 3:14-cv-00825; no judge yet assigned. Filed on June 6, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut;Patents in case 7,305,707: “Method for intrusion detection in a database system” by Mattsson. Prosecuted by Neuner; George W. Cohen; Steven M. Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP. Includes 22 claims (2 indep.). Was application 11/510,185. Granted 12/4/2007.
Yuck.  And the reality is that happens every single day, and in places where the stakes are much, much higher.  See: Apple v. Google, for instance.

Musk concludes his post:
Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.
What a brave, bold, ballsy, responsible assertion!

I've never been more excited to see someone back up their own rhetoric against software patents, with such a substantial, palpable, tangible assertion.  Kudos, Elon.

Moreover, I've also never been more interested in buying a Tesla.   Coincidence?

Maybe it'll run an open source operating system and apps, too.  Do that, and I'm sold.

:-Dustin

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Louis

A couple of weeks ago I announced that I was working on a new remote functionality for kdump-tools, the kernel crash dump tool used on Debian and Ubuntu.

I am now done with the development of the new functionality, so the package is ready for testing. If you are interested, just read the previous post which has all the gory details on how to set it up & test it.

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Anthony Dillon

table.highlight { margin-bottom: 0; } table.highlight td { text-align: left; font-size: 0.8em; line-height: 1.6; border: 0; }

This post is part of the series ‘Making ubuntu.com responsive‘.

The JavaScript used on ubuntu.com is very light. We limit its use to small functional elements of the web style guide, which act to enhance the user experience but are never required to deliver the content the user is there to consume.

At Canonical we use YUI as our JavaScript framework of choice. We have many years of using it for our websites and web apps therefore have a large knowledge base to fall back on. We have a single core.js which contains a number of functions called on when required.

Below I will discuss some of the functions and workarounds we have provided in the web style guide.

Providing fallbacks

When considering our transition from PNGs to SVGs across the site, we provided a fallback for background images with Modernizr and reset the background image with the .no-svg class on the body. Our approached to a fallback replacement in markup images was a JavaScript snippet from CSS Tricks – SVG Fallbacks, which I converted to YUI:

The snippet above checks if Modernizr exists in the namespace. It then interrogates the Modernizr object for SVG support. If the browser does not support SVGs we loop through each image with .svg contained in the src and replace the src with the same path and filename but a .png version. This means all SVGs need to have a PNG version at the same location.

Navigation and fallback

The mobile navigation on ubuntu.com uses JavaScript to toggle the menu open and closed. We decided to use JavaScript because it’s well supported. We explored using :target as a pure CSS solution, but this selector isn’t supported in Internet Explorer 7, which represented a fair chunk of our visitors.

mobile-open-navThe navigation on ubuntu.com, in small screens.

For browsers that don’t support JavaScript we resort to displaying the “burger” icon, which acts as an in-page anchor to the footer which contains the site navigation.

Equal height

As part of the guidelines project we needed a way of setting a number of elements to the same height. We would love to use the flexbox to do this but the browser support is not there yet. Therefore we developed a small JavaScript solution:

This function finds all elements with an .equal-height class. We then look for child divs or lis and measure the tallest one. Then set all these children to the highest value.

Using combined YUI

One of the obstacles discovered when working on this project was that YUI will load modules from an http (non secure) domain as the library requires. This of course causes issues on any site that is hosted on a secure domain. We definitely didn’t want to restrict the use of the web style guide to non secure sites, therefore we need combine all required modules into a combined YUI file.

To combine your own YUI visit YUI configurator. Add the modules you require and copy the code from the Output Console panel into your own hosted file.

Final thoughts

Obviously we had a fairly easy time of making our JavaScript responsive as we only use the minimum required as a general principle on our site. But using integrating tools like Modernizr into our workflow and keeping top of CSS browser support, we can keep what we do lean and current.

Read the next post in this series: “Making ubuntu.com responsive: testing on multiple devices”

Reading list

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Michael Hall

ubuntu-phone-three-1As we enter the final months before the first Ubuntu phones ship from our partners Meizu and Bq, the numbers of apps, users and downloads continues to grow at a steady pace. Today I’m excited to announce that we have more than ten thousand unique users of Ubuntu on phones or tablets!

Users

Ubuntu phone (and tablet) users sign into their Ubuntu One account on their device in order to download or update the applications on their phone. This allows us to provide many useful features that users expect coming from Android or iOS, such as being able to re-install their collection of apps on a new phone or after resetting their current one, or browsing the store’s website (coming soon) and having the option to install an app directly to their device from there. As a side effect, it means we know how many unique Ubuntu One accounts have connected to the store to in order to download an app, and that number has this week passed the 10,000 mark.

Excitement

Meizu-MX3Not only is this a milestone, but it’s down right amazing when you consider that there are currently no phones available to purchase with Ubuntu on them. The first phones from OEMs will be shipping later this year, but for now there isn’t a phone or tablet that comes with the new Ubuntu device OS on it. That means that each of these 10,000 people have purchased (or already had) either a supported Nexus device, or are using one of the community ports, and either wiped Android off them in favor of Ubuntu, or are dual booting. If this many people are willing to install the beta release of Ubuntu phone on their device, just imagine how many more will want to purchase a phone with Ubuntu pre-installed and with full support from the manufacturer.

Pioneers

In addition to users of Ubuntu phone, we’ve also seen a steady growth in the number of applications and application developers targeting Ubuntu phone and using the Ubuntu SDK. To celebrate them, we created Ubuntu App Pioneers page, and the first batch of Pioneers t-shirts are being sent out to those intrepid developers who, again, are so excited about a platform that isn’t even available to consumers yet that they’ve dedicated their time and energy into making it better for everyone.

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Anthony Dillon

This post is part of the series ‘Making ubuntu.com responsive‘.

Performance has always been one of the top priorities when it came to building the responsive ubuntu.com. We started with a list of performance snags and worked to improve each one as much as possible in the time we had. Here is a quick run through of the points we collected and the way we managed to improve them.

Asset caching

We now have a number of websites using our web style guide. Because of this, we needed to deliver assets on both http and secure https domains. We decided to build an asset server to support the guidelines and other sites that require asset hosting.

This gave us the ability to increase the far future expires (FFE) of each file. By doing so the file is cached by the server and not resupplied. This gives us a much faster round trip speed. But as we are still able to update a single file we cannot set the FFE too far in the future. We plan to resolve this with a new and improved assets system, which is currently under development.

The new asset system will have a internal frontend to upload a binary file. This will provide a link to the asset with a 6 character hexadecimal attached to the file name.

/ho686yst/favicon.ico

The new system restricts the ability to edit or update a file. Only upload a new one and change the link in the markup. This guarantees the asset to stay the same forever.

Minification and concatenation

We introduced a minification and concatenation step to the build of the web style guide. This saves precious bytes and reduces the number of requests performed by each page.

We use the sass ruby gem to generate minified and concatenated CSS in production. We also run the small amount of JavaScript we have through UglifyJS before delivering to production.

Compressed images

Images were the main issue when it came to performance.

We had a look at the file sizes of some of our key images (like the ones in the tablet section of the site) and were shocked to discover we hadn’t been treating our visitors’ bandwidth kindly.

After analysing a handful of images, we decided to have a look into our assets folder and flag the images that were over 100 KB as a first go.

One of the largest time consuming jobs in this project was converting all images that could to SVGs. This meant creating pictograms and illustrations as vectors from earlier PNGs. Any images that could not be recreated as a vector graphic were heavy compressed. This squeezed an alarming amount out of the original file.

We continued this for every image on the site. By doing so the total reduction across the site was 7.712MB.

Reduce required fonts

We currently load a large selection of the Ubuntu font.

<link href='//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Ubuntu:400,300,300italic,400italic,700,700italic%7CUbuntu+Mono' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css' />

The designers are exploring the patterns of the present and ideal future to discover unneeded types. Since the move from normal font weight to light a few months ago as our base font style, we rarely use the bold weight (700) anymore, resorting to normal (400) for highlighting text.

Once we determine which weights we can drop, we will be able to make significant savings, as seen below:

google-fonts-beforeandafterReducing loaded fonts: before and after

Using SVG

Taking the leap to SVGs over PNG caused a number of issues. We decided to load SVGs as opposed to inline SVGs to keep our markup clean and easy to read and update. This meant we needed to provide four different coloured images for each pictogram.

pictopack-smiles

We introduced Modernizr to give us an easy way to detect browsers that do not support SVGs and replace the image with PNGs of the same path and name.

Remove unnecessary enhancements

We explored a parallaxing effect for our site’s background with JavaScript. With worked well on normal resolution screens but lagged on retina displays, so we decided not do it and set the background position to static instead — user experience is always paramount and trumps visual enhancements.

Future improvements

One of the things in our roadmap is to remove unused styles remaining in the stylesheets. There are a number of solutions for this such as grunt-uncss.

Conclusion

There is still a lot to do but we have definitely broken the back of the work to steer ubuntu.com in the right direction. The aim is to push the site up to 90+ in the speed page tests in the next wave of updates.

Read the next post in this series: “Making ubuntu.com responsive: JavaScript considerations”

Reading list

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bmichaelsen

Free Four

The memories of a man in his old age

are the deeds of a man in his prime

– Free Four, Obscured by Clouds, Pink Floyd

I just donated to:

  • the Wikimedia Foundation
  • the OpenBSD project

and became:

Being involved in a project that is heavily driven by donations, I keep remembering myself of the importance of putting my money were my mouth is.

Some of these donations were triggered by recent events and initiatives in these projects. GNOME’s outreach for women program for example. Or OpenBSDs bold initiative in starting LibreSSL, which is doing what needed to be done and vitalizing an overlooked area of open source development. Watching them explain the status quo and how they are attacking it remembers me of LibreOffice — beyond the name. Plus, I dont want to be compared with a My little Pony character again.

goals of LibreSSL -- they remind me of something

goals of LibreSSL — they remind me of something

Others are already working examples of the long tail, crowd funding and the meshed society (Wikipedia) or tailblazing to be one (Krautreporter) beyond the world of software. The latter might also have been influenced by one of the last wishes of a man that unexpectedly died way to early. May he rest in peace.


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Anthony Dillon

This post is part of the series ‘Making ubuntu.com responsive‘.

When working to make the current web style guide responsive, we made some large updates to the core Sass. We decided to update the file and folder structure of our styles. I love reading about other people or organisations Sass architectures, so I thought it would be only right to share the structure that has evolved over time here at Canonical.

Let’s get right to it.

  • core.scss
  • core-constants.scss
  • core-grid.scss
  • core-mixins.scss
  • core-print.scss
  • core-templates.scss
  • patterns
    • patterns.scss
    • _arrows.scss
    • _blockquotes.scss
    • _boxes.scss
    • _buttons.scss
    • _contextual-footer.scss
    • _footer.scss
    • _forms.scss
    • _header.scss
    • _helpers.scss
    • _image-centered.scss
    • _inline-logos.scss
    • _lists.scss
    • _notifications.scss
    • _resource.scss
    • _rows.scss
    • _slider.scss
    • _structure.scss
    • _tabbed-content.scss
    • _tooltips.scss
    • _typography.scss
    • _vertical-divider.scss

I won’t describe each file as some are self-explanatory but let’s just go through the core files to understand the structure.

core.scss contains the core HTML element styling. Such as img, p, ul, etc. You could say this acts as a reset file customised to match our style.

core-constants.scss is home to all variables used throughout. This file contains all the set colours used on the site. Base font size and some extra grid variables used to extend the layout.

core-grid.scss holds the entire responsive grid styles. This file mainly consists of generated code from Gridinator which we extended with breakpoints to modify the layout as the viewport gets smaller. You can read more about how we did this in “Making ubuntu.com responsive: making our grid responsive”.

core-mixins.scss holds all the mixins used in our Sass.

core-templates.scss is used to hold full pages styling classes. Without applying a template class to the <body> of a page you get a standard page style, if you add a template class, you will get the styles that are appropriate for that template.

webteam frontend working on web style guideWeb team front end working on the web style guide.

Divide and conquer

Patterns were originally all in one huge scss file, which became difficult to maintain. So we decided to split the patterns file apart in a pattern folder. This allows us to find and work in a much more modular way. This involved manually working through the file. Removing all the components styles into a new file and import back into the same position.

Naming conventions

Our mission when setting up the naming convention for our CSS was to make the markup as human readable as possible.

We decided early on to almost use a object oriented, inheritance system for large structural elements. For example, the class .row can be extended by adding the .row-enterprise class which applies a dark aubergine background and modifies the elements inside to be display correctly on a dark background.

We switch to a single class approach for small modular components, such as lists. If you apply the class .list the list items are styled with our simple Ubuntu list style. This can be modified by changing the class to .list-ubuntu or .list-canonical, which apply their corresponding branding themed bullets to the items.

list-stylesList styles.

The decision to use different systems arose from the desire to keep the markup clean and easy to skim read by limiting the classes applied to each element. We could have continued with the inheritance system for smaller elements but that would have lead to two or more classes (.list and .list-canonical) for each element. We felt this was overkill for every small component. For large structural elements such as rows it’s easier to start with a .row class and have added functionality and styling by adding classes.

Mixins

We mainly use mixins to handle browser prefixes as we haven’t yet added a “prefixer” step to our build system.

A lot of our styles are quite specific and therefore would not benefit from being included as a mixin.

A note on Block, Element, Modifier syntax

We would like to have used the Block, Element, Modifier (BEM) syntax as we think it is a good convention and easy for people external to the project to understand and use. Since we started this project back in 2013 with the above syntax, which is now used on a number of sites across the Canonical/Ubuntu web real estate, the effort to convert every class name to follow the BEM naming convention would far outweigh the benefits it would return.

Conclusion

By splitting our bloated patterns file into multiple small modular files we have made it much easier to maintain and diagnose bugs within components. I would recommend anyone in a similar situation to find the time to split the components into separate files sooner rather then later. The effort grows exponentially the longer it’s left.

Introducing linting to the production of the guidelines will keep our coding style the same throughout the team and help readability to new members of the team.

Read the next post in this series: “Making ubuntu.com responsive: ensuring performance”

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Inayaili de León Persson

This post is part of the series ‘Making ubuntu.com responsive‘.

All our designs are created using the Ubuntu font, and the websites are not exception. Ubuntu.com was already using a carefully refined and tested typographic scale that we have evolved over the years.

Early in the project, we had decided that the large screen view of the website would be kept, so we would be reusing the original styles (with some updates and clean up) and it became the typographic scale for the desktop view.

Adjust as needed

When working on the pilot responsive projects like Ubuntu Insights and canonical.com, we’ve used that original scale and reduced it, keeping the proportions.

After some device testing to adjust paragraph size for comfortable reading, we settled on having the base font size modified at our grid breakpoints to 14px, 15px and 16px.

By keeping the proportions of the sizes though, it was easy to see that some font sizes and margins were too large in proportion to others at small screens — especially the larger headings like h1 —, so we tweaked these as needed to improve readability.

A typographic scale can serve as a guide, but you don’t have to stay married to it: adjusting sizes to what feels better is an important step in making sure your text is comfortable to read at various sizes — and the best way to test this is on the actual devices!

Testing devicesTesting ubuntu.com on various devices.

Use ems

Our typographic scale is defined in pixels, but the sizes are specified in ems in our CSS so they can be scalable.

Small, medium and large spacingDifferences in the typographic scale from small to large screens.

Reuse existing patterns

We have a weekly designers meeting where we talk about new patterns we’re working on in our separate projects across the entire design team. This way, we minimise the risk of creating new patterns when existing ones are in place, and when something new is created it can be shared with the rest of the team to use.

So we made sure to show our updated typographic scale and get everyone’s feedback on it, including designers from the apps and platforms teams. The best part was that we had reached similar conclusions about which sizes worked best in small screens (the variation was in the decimals) so we were all being consistent when it came to mobile!

Remember fallback fonts

Even though web fonts are widely supported now, some browsers, like Opera Mini, just don’t support them, so it’s always a good idea to look at your site across various devices and browsers, and turn off the font-face declarations to see if the fallback fonts that you’ve declared look as good as you can make them and match as closely as possible with the original font. By doing this you’ll make the transition between the fallback font and the web font once it’s finally loaded less obvious and less jarring for the user.

Opera MiniOpera Mini, without the Ubuntu font.

Conclusion

There are a few simple things you can do when transitioning from a fixed-width to a responsive website. The focus should be to improve readability, so it’s vital to check as many pages and screens of your site in different devices. And remember that picking a typographic scale is not as simple as taking numbers out of a generator: you have to see it in action and adapt it to your project.

We’d love to hear how you handled typography in your responsive projects — leave your thoughts in the comments area!

Read the next post in this series: “Making ubuntu.com responsive: our Sass architecture”

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