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MJR: Koha

photo I write web applications. It's sort of what I do most for work. Koha has been a good one for me, developing it for a variety of customers, installing it and supporting it. Here's my notes on news and development.

Backtraces with CGI::Carp

Posted by mjr 2008-04-03 (permalink)

A while ago, Koha started using CGI::Carp in order to give more useful error messages and save us having to tell mailing list posters to read the fine Apache HTTPD error log quite so often.

Even this still has limitations. Sometimes an unexpected response from a networked resource causes one of the underlying layers to return an error. That error itself doesn't help us much. We need to know what Koha or our C4 modules did to provoke it.

So, I enabled backtraces. I copied a line from BitTorrent::TrackerCGI and added $main::SIG{DIE} = \&CGI::Carp::confess; to Koha in the relevant place. Isn't there a nicer way to do that? Or is this a bad idea for some reason?

A patch for this has been sent to koha.org and it's inspired Galen Charlton to fix a related bug in the CGI::Carp usage.

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Yaz into Debian

Posted by mjr 2008-03-04 (permalink)

The indomitable Vincent Danjean continues working on getting the new yaz into debian. It seems the upstream licensing problems are resolved and it's all modBSD now. Now we just need to fix the apparently-absent maintainer problem. See bug 463116 for the current situation.

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Work Trip Goes Wrong

Posted by mjr 2008-02-26 (permalink)

Yesterday really didn't go to plan. The plan was to clear a few work tasks and then travel to London for an early afternoon Koha-related meeting, then fix some other problems on site before travelling home this evening. Unusually, this trip involved bike, train, tube coach and bus. Everything but the car, indeed, so a pretty good example of using greener transport for TTLLP.

Got about 80% of the work tasks done (not bad), biked to Worle station and caught the train, then changed to a high-speed train at Bristol. So far, so good. I spotted our Member of Parliament changing trains in Bristol too. I did a double-take, which I think he noticed - he's in the local papers every week or two, but he's not that visually distinctive and looks superficially similar to my last MP. Didn't harangue him this time - he was queuing for coffee, while I wanted to visit the buffet.

Anyway, about 10 minutes before arrival in London, someone walked onto the tracks near Southall. We reversed into Slough and were eventually told to travel via Windsor into Waterloo (I think if they'd been a bit quicker, I could have saved 30 minutes).

I planned to arrive in London 75 minutes before my meeting, but this happened at about the most delaying point, so I was actually 70 minutes late and missed the whole thing. Damn. Of the three on-site problems, I fixed one and made progress on one, but that fixed one means that we can continue working remotely on the others, so not a total failure.

The coach back to Bristol was fine - once it stops weaving around London, it's as comfortable as an unrefurbished HST (not quite as much leg or arm room as a current one). The bus to Worle was awful, bouncy as hell and badly-driven, stopping ahead of the lines at red lights. It's also expensive (thanks to First's route monopoly?) - in future, I'd walk 15 minutes and pay 30p more for the train.

The above was written on the return journey, then bluetoothed here. Now it's time to catch up with the stack of emails and back to work.

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Posted by mjr 2008-02-17 (permalink)

On Thursday 14 February, there was an IRC meeting for a new Koha Users group. The log is saved on the usual site.

I'm not at all clear what the motive for forming another formal group is, as will be clear if you read the log - it doesn't really need a formal group taking membership fees to arrange meetings and seminars, does it?

Collective commissioning of new features would be a good reason IMO, but only some attendees seemed to want that. Others seemed quite vocal against cooperating on feature commissions, which surprised me.

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