Reconciling master and ThinkUp.com

Posted by gina

ThinkUp’s open source developers and users have noticed that the downloadable, run-yourself version of ThinkUp doesn’t look like the version running on ThinkUp.com. You can see the difference for yourself: here’s my install-yourself ThinkUp and here’s ginatrapani on ThinkUp.com.

Indeed, the code that runs on ThinkUp.com (in the public branch called thinkup.com) is several commits ahead of the master branch. We haven’t merged the changes we made in thinkup.com back into master yet, because in order to launch we cut several features and heavily redesigned what was left. The code we produced runs a non-admin’s ThinkUp with basic Twitter and Facebook functionality, but that’s it. Install-yourself users know that ThinkUp does much more, especially if you’re an admin, but the thinkup.com code doesn’t support it. In short, it’s not ready for everyone.

Of course, anyone is free to download and run the thinkup.com branch, but since it’s not release-ready, a lot of the design and some functionality will be broken. For that reason, we don’t recommend regular users install the code in the thinkup.com branch.

We do ask community developers to pitch in and help us integrate the thinkup.com look and feel and optimizations into master. To give you an idea of what needs to be done, some of the open tasks include:

  • Redesign registration, login, and forgot password to match ThinkUp.com.
  • Redesign all the admin settings pages.
  • Redesign all of the plugin settings pages beyond Facebook and Twitter.
  • Re-enable search, Facebook pages, and Twitter keyword search.
  • Fix and re-enable web-based crawling.
  • Re-enable browser notifications of new insights.
  • Migrate all the application’s tables from MyISAM to InnoDB.

In order to minimize conflicts, we rebase the thinkup.com branch on master on a regular basis, so any changes that happen in the master branch while this work is in progress will also get included in thinkup.com.

Our goal is to get all ThinkUp users running the same code and enjoying the same great user experience. We’ll be working on syncing up these branches in the weeks to come, and we hope you can help.

Frequently asked questions

When will the ThinkUp.com code get released to install-yourself users?

We don’t know; we haven’t settled on a release date yet. So far, the core team has spent most of our time building and improving the hosted service. Now that it’s launched, we’re turning our attention toward merging that code back into master so everyone can benefit from it and build on it without fear of conflicts. In the coming weeks we hope to spend about 20% of our time syncing the branches.

What code should I run?

If you’re a ThinkUp user who wants to run the app yourself, download the latest stable ThinkUp release (built from the master branch).

If you’re a developer who wants to play with the newest code and you’re prepared for the app’s design to be inconsistent, misaligned, awkward, and some buttons and features to be broken, check out the thinkup.com branch.

How can I help?

If you’re a PHP developer/CSS lover/HTML composer/JavaScript wrangler and any of the tasks on the todo list above sound like fun, please pitch in! Git pull the ThinkUp repository, and switch between master and thinkup.com to get a sense of what’s different between them and what needs to match. Then roll up your sleeves and submit a patch. You can read more about how to help build ThinkUp on the Developer Contributor page.

If you’re a designer, writer, UX expert, or a regular user who wants to help, we need you. Get in touch on the community mailing list to help out fellow ThinkUp users, let us know what you think of ThinkUp’s current insights, discuss what insights and other features you wish ThinkUp had or handled differently, and document any bugs you encounter using either hosted ThinkUp or the install-yourself version. Every feature discussion, bug report, and bit of user feedback helps.

Thanks in advance.

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