GXml and the Amazing Desktop Summit!

(whoops, this was posted last week, but I failed to tag it correctly to appear on Planet GNOME.)  

The week previous was divided between a school assignment and finalising arrangements to fly from Guelph, Canada to Berlin, Germany for the 2011 Desktop Summit.  Since arriving for the summit last Thursday, I've been able to meet my awesome mentor, Alberto Ruiz, in person, and sort out the remaining two weeks of GSoC

Desktop Summit 2011

This is an amazing experience.  I'm still incredibly grateful for the GNOME Foundation's sponsorship.

I will write more nearer the end of the month about it, but for now I'll just say that it is amazing to meet developers I've followed on Planet GNOME for so long.  I can now testify that GNOME developers (including Google Summer of Code students) are a special and amazing breed of people.  I am also glad to say that about KDE developers, and hope that joint Desktop Summits continue in the future.  There were quite a few excellent talks, and the collaborative and productive atmosphere is invigorating.

Also, hackergotchies are not the best way to identify people in person. :)

Remaining plans for GXml

  • namespace support: it's going to be read-only for users of GXml right now.  There are API complications when you allow people to create nodes and attributes with and without namespaces in the same document, and it's unclear how we should handle that.  However, if you parse an existing document, we support accessing the namespace information that the underlying libxml2 parser parses.  Our original goal was to implement DOM Level 1 Core's API, and namespace support isn't part of it, but is necessary for many GNOME users of XML.  Oh wait, I just pushed this last night! :D  It is now in git.  It was blocked a little by a bug involving syncing GXml Attrs and
    libxml2 attrs (the bug being that I had forgot to finish implementing that earlier
    :O), but that has been solved inelegantly for now.

  • libgdata: with the advent of read-only namespace support (as of last night!), I can now finish the patch for libgdata to GXml.  I will be reviewing my patch and splitting it up for Philip Withnall's sanity.  Ha!

  • API examples: I'm going to provide a few example files on how to use GXml from C and JavaScript. 

  • bindings: my mentor has indicated that the build system we're using (WAF, not autotools!) has imminent support for handling my binding generation, so hopefully that will become available before the end of my GSoC.  It may delay examples for JavaScript, but C is working well already (see libgdata support :D)

  • gtk-doc: we already provide valadoc documentation, so I'll worry about gtk-doc until shortly after the summer.

  • live.gnome.org: I want to update thi-oh, there, I just did it.

  • NamedNodeMap: right now we return a HashTable of attributes to users, but this is annoying because we can't see what changes they make to the attributes unless we keep a ref to the table and check it before we need to resynchronise the HashTable we gave a user and the local list of attributes for a given element. This means I will probably implement NamedNodeMap from the spec by wrapping a HashTable (or, if we end up using libgee, extend its HashMap) to update our libxml2 list of attributes on an element as the NamedNodeMap gets altered (attributes added, removed from an element).

  • everything: so, after talking to a variety of developers including my mentor Alberto, Michael Meeks, Shaun McCance, Philip Withnall, and many others, GXml will attempt to add everything ever, and it will be awesome!  We'll probably start with more complete namespace support, then SAX parsing, then XPath, and then I'll implement the much desired and maligned XPath2 and XQuery, and then we'll optimise GXml to make it superefficient, and then implement a tea brewing API.  Mwahaha.  I'm very grateful for all the good feedback and interest I've gotten at the summit, and encourage anyone with an opinion on the future of GXml and XML in GNOME in general, to please let me know! (aquarichy AT gmail DOT com, or in the comments!)  Or, if you're at the summit and you see me walking around, poke me!


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