Dojo Offline Toolkit Status Report for Week Ending March 25th, 2007

By on March 26, 2007 12:13 am

Last Week

We’re almost there! Here’s a laundry list of some of the code checkins from the last week:

* We now provide a way to give a ‘magic’ domain name that will resolve to the localhost to help in testing in scenarios where the developer is running both the client and the server on the same machine. Polipo, our local proxy, doesn’t read and parse your hosts.conf file for local domain names or use the platform’s standard gethostbyname function; instead, it rolls its own DNS communication for various reliability and performance reasons, which means that it bypasses the hosts.conf file. This can make it difficult to do rapid testing on your own box, which we now provide a workaround for.
* Did much more testing of offline ‘replays’ on Windows, fixing bugs that were found. Offline replays are when we attempt a communication on the network through the local proxy, have it fail becuause the network is down or malfunctioning, and then ‘replay’ this request against the local proxy’s offline cache in order to provide cached results.
* Fixed a regression where we would always print a ‘details’ message in the Dojo Offline default UI even if there were no messages or errors to report.
* Polipo 1.0 came out in the interim; we were at something like 0.9.99. Diffed our codebase against the 1.0 release to make sure we picked up any code changes made in the jump from 0.9.99 to 1.0.
* Fixed bug found in QA: On Firefox/Mac, sometimes if we are offline and start loading moxie, the whole page doesn’t load
* Made sure UI tells user to restart their browser when a web app has been added to the offline list for the first time. When we add a web app we update our PAC (Proxy AutoConfig) file; some browsers don’t see changes to a PAC file made after startup, and will only pickup changes when restarted. Created a way to have JavaScript layer ‘query’ to see if the PAC file has been updated yet — if not, we tell the user to restart their browser. Tested and QAed on Windows and Mac across Safari, IE, and Firefox.
* QA test done with bug fixes: do repeated on off line cyclings with local proxy to make sure DNS names aren’t cached in a wierd way for offline detection
* Created install.bat file for quickly ‘installing’ and refreshing an installation on Windows to aid rapid testing on that platform
* By default, Polipo saves cached files from memory to disk on a long timeout, sometimes several minutes — found source of issue — Polipo now caches new objects from memory to disk within 2 seconds. Before this a bug would occur on Windows where we would hit a web app for the first time, cache it’s offline resources during the syncing process, and then drop off the network and restart the browser to use the app — you would get a cache miss and errors. Fixed.
* Figured out how to have Windows running in Parallels access Mac OS X without having a network connection, to aid in debugging and more rapid development on Windows. I run the ‘server’ portion of the Moxie demo on Mac OS X, and access it as a ‘client’ on Windows to test the whole system on that platform. In my old configuration I had to be on the network for the virtualized Windows to see the Mac OS X system, since it looks like a different machine and needed an IP address to resolve.
* Did some important project housekeeping I had been putting off: based on usability testing from about 1 1/2 months with Moxie, the Dojo Offline UI was modified to be much simpler, with less options — this was done as a custom UI inside of editor.html — I’ve now rolled these changes back into the widget.html file to make all DOT based apps have this simpler UI, and have removed a bunch of UI featuritis that was related to being too close to the problem, such as the configuration UI (users don’t want to configure offline options — they just want it to magically work)

This Week

Our dev schedule now includes two extra weeks in April to aid in QA of the system. I will be sending out a big call for QA volunteers to help with testing in the first week of April. I’ll blog more about this on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

The goal this week continues to be about reliability and performance. Improving the stability of the local proxy, bug fixing, QA testing, getting the Moxie demo to load quickly because that will be the benchmark that folks will judge the system on, etc. I also expect to start putting together the installers and install scripts, which will be tricky since they need to automodify any browser’s that are on the system’s PAC file settings. Any info from folks on how to do this for Safari would be appreciated — I’ve found some solutions but I’m not happy with them.

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