October 2019 update

Published on October 24, 2019 by Michael Hawkes

While there hasn’t been a lot of coding since the last update, some other things have been happening that are worth noting. The most significant of these is moving Federama from Github to Codeberg.

Open source projects that want to attract the attention of developers put their code in public repositories, normally in places like GitHub, GitLab, and so on. They are websites where people can post their code for free, as long as it’s open source. If they want to post closed source code, they can pay for that privilege, and since the companies are profitable, it seems like a lot of projects are willing to do so.

However, over the past year or so there have been rumblings of discontent. In 2018, Microsoft bought GitHub for $7.5 billion, which pissed off a number of open-source developers who made up a significant portion of GitHub’s userbase. Some were concerned that GitHub would be treated like other Microsoft acquisitions, such as Nokia, that were mismanaged after being purchased. Others had general concerns about entrusting Microsoft with anything to do with open-source software. After GitHub was acquired, their competitors saw spikes in new users who began migrating away from them. Because Microsoft, and by extension, GitHub, turns off some developers, it made sense to look at hosting my code elsewhere. I was in the process of looking around when GitLab started making the news.

GitLab is a competitor to GitHub, and while not as large or as popular, is has the advantage of not being owned by Microsoft. That said, not everything is fine and dandy at the code hosting company. When I was looking around, I saw an article at The Register that said GitLab wouldn’t ban projects on “moral/value grounds”. This was apparently in response to the controversy regarding GitHub’s business with ICE and CBP.

Somewhere along the way, I heard about another competitor in Germany called Codeberg. Codeberg is another code-hosting website, but it’s run by a non-profit and it’s much, much smaller. While GitHub has nearly 40 million users and over 100 million repositories, Codeberg has around 150 repositories and over 1000 users as of September 2019. They’ve only been around since late 2018/early 2019.

Codeberg is built around software called Gitea, which is a web-based frontend for for Git. From what I can see it has all or most of the features of GitHub and none of the drawbacks, but I’ve only been playing with it for a few weeks and haven’t worked with it extensively. I’ve migrated Federama over to Codeberg and created a new repo with some documents for 10th Street Media, LLC, but I still have to bring over the repos for Amore and the Amore icons.

Because of the move and being busy with other stuff, I anticipate releasing Federama v0.3 around the end of December. The plan is that it will implement ActivityPub to some extent. After that, I can start working on Amore again. I also have some other related projects lined up, but they all depend on Federama utilizing ActivityPub, so they’ll have to wait.

What coding I have been doing relates to two quasi-standards: PSR-2 and WAI-ARIA. PSR-2 is sort-of a best practices guide for coding in PHP. The main thing is that 4 spaces are inserted into the code instead of tabs, and that files that are purely PHP don’t need a closing tag. WAI-ARIA is another standard that makes it easier for screen readers to interact with websites. This is important for people who are blind or have low vision. Implementing these is sort of busywork. I’m probably doing them incorrectly at the moment, but it’s a start.