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The fix was to create a second updates feed, this one is available at: https://dobrado.net/testing. Now when an update is built, a post is created in this feed. I still write the post to the original updates feed at https://dobrado.net/updates, but these posts are now saved as a draft with a scheduled publish time. At the moment that time is set to 24 hours later. Of course my publishing tools didn't have a concept of draft posts so I had to add that too... next I need to add UI support to make this feature available to users, at the moment it is only used by the Autoupdate module.
Lastly I added support for removing updates. This needs to happen so that the current version number can be re-used rather than leaving the current broken version in place. Sites that are subscribed to the testing feed will also need to re-apply the update at the current version number, and this is done by the build server removing the matching post in the feed. When the Autoupdate module sees that the post was removed from the feed, it will remove the matching version of the update. This means it will be able to install that version again when it is eventually re-published. The draft post also needs to be removed on the build server, but after that anyone subscribed to the updates feed will never know there was a problem.
So now I have a couple of servers subscribed to the testing feed, and the others that I really don't want to break when I build an update are subscribed to the normal updates feed.
Chris Messina, inventor of the hashtag, on owning your ideas and imagining new realities
Chris Messina is known as a technologist, evangelist of the open source movement, and the inventor of the hashtag. As part of our TOA Podcast Studio series recorded during the Tech Open Air 2019 conference, Chris spoke about collaboration and ownership in the tech industry, pushing forward and letting go, and the strategies entrepreneurs need to take both personally […]
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For the last few years I've worked on adding all sorts of IndieWeb building blocks to Dobrado, and there's enough pieces to play with that from a scratch-your-own-itch perspective you can stay itchy for a very long time!
But I've decided to step back and have a look at more than my own itches. Or maybe they're still mine, but looking at community goals could also be something to choose to work on? Something we hear a lot in the community is that IndieWeb is just too hard to get started in. I think that's true, but since everyone is a volunteer, there can't be any expectation that anyone is going to fix that problem. All you can do is recognize that it's an issue, and if you have some time and the inclination, work on it yourself.
For me, that means making Dobrado easier to use. Up until now installing the software has meant knowing how to use git and editing config files. After that, keeping it up to date meant more git commands and a basic understanding of how the software worked... not overly friendly! My solution to this was to create a new build system, which creates the updates and also produces a feed which you can follow at: https://dobrado.net/updates
The other half of this project was to create a new module that handles automatic updates by subscribing to this feed. Since Dobrado supports WebSub this update happens straight away. The feed items contain enough information for sites to fetch the update from dobrado.net. It creates notifications when it's updated your site too:
I have quite a few sites running Dobrado, so this change means I won't need to log in to all of them just to pull in the latest changes. It's probably the biggest change to the way I've developed the software in the last few years and I'm still getting used to it!
I'm hoping that has solved the update problem for anyone else that wants to use the software too. The next goal is still how to even get started... I've done some work on that too and will hopefully have more updates soon.