2011-06-12

GDom, after two weeks

This was actually supposed to go up last Monday, but got missed in the busy-ness. I did send my weekly report to the GSoC mailing list, though those reports are less verbose :)




GDom is now two weeks old.  Here's what we have so far:


  • Most of the DOM spec's functionality for Node and Document is working

  • Lots of other classes work partially

  • Beginnings of test suites for Document, Node, and Element


Enough of the base should be laid now that I'll be able to make better commits against git.  I've often found myself in states of not-compiling as I tried to flesh out large chunks of API at once for expediency.



Past week



I managed to do more research, more fully reading the DOM Level 1 Core spec (rather than my quicker review of it when I started) and it answered many
of the questions I encountered after writing code the previous week.



Performance



Many people have offered a lot of suggestions regarding the direction of
GDom so far and I got to discuss them with my mentor this morning [last Monday]. 
To ensure something useful gets created and implemented well within the
GSoC time frame, GDom will remain limited to essentially wrapping
libxml2 and complying with the DOM Level 1 Core spec.



In the comments from last week [two weeks ago], there was notable concern about performance of libxml2 and GObject.  GDom will not be directly addressing those.  It will simply be providing a much nicer API for GNOME developers to work with in most cases.



That said, I am quite interested in the resulting performance and would like to start testing performance as I go along, once most of the base has been laid.  I'll probably simply measure the memory and time performance differences between libxml2 and GDom and identify some choke points.  I don't expect GDom to be faster, but I hope for it to not be significantly worse.   After the Summer of Code is over and GDom can provide a pretty, standard, GNOME-y API, it will be worth considering a faster, more efficient implementation of the interface.  This is something I'm interested in pursuing, and would be something I would have started with this summer except for the strict time frame and progress requirements.



Request for you, XML-using reader!



If you have any specific test cases (e.g. work loads you'd like me to consider like super huge files you deal with :D), please send or explain them to me.  I will test with those and see what I can do to ensure GDom isn't useless to you :D



My e-mail: aquarichy at gmail dot com



Features



Some people have named some features they'd like to see on top of GDom that go beyond the spec.  I'm going to track these and keep them as a list at live.gnome.org/XML to keep them in mind and consider pursuing them after the summer.



Similar Projects



So far, I've encountered a few similar projects and had one noted to me.  They're all similar in that they handle XML documents and they're written in Vala.  They also no longer seem active and/or have had a goal of implementing functionality rather than reusing libxml2.



They were


 If you know of another project that I should peek at and consider, let me know.  :D



Tests



I've started implementing GTests to guide the implementation of details for the classes.  Hopefully this will increase API compliance and correctness, so anyone already familiar with the DOM API can use the code without surprises.



Next Week [plans for this past week, actually]


  • Talk to my mentor Alberto Ruiz about the build system.  I don't know autotools too well, and WAF was brought up as a potential solution.  

  • More implementation and testing for Document, Element, Node, and Attr.

  • Ensure I commit and push files more regularly.


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