July 09, 2008

debexpo (Debian package exposition) is a web application that allows one to run a user-friendly public Debian package repository with social interaction that one may be used to from social networking sites. debexpo will be the basis for the site but will be useful for others as well. debexpo is the project I am working on for this year’s Summer of Code for Debian under the watch of Christoph Haas.

debexpo is more than just a web application though. It was based on suggestions by you, and therefore it has some nifty features:

  • Uploading is done through HTTP PUT directly in debexpo, and handled immediately. This means that packages can be available within seconds of you uploading the package instead of having to wait for a cron job running an importer.

  • debexpo supports plugins for several stages of package life-cycle. The main use of these are for QA purposes on the package, such as automatically running Lintian, checking the watch file, or checking bugs closed actually belong to the package in question, but there is scope for much more. Plugins are easy so you can customize a repository to check for whatever you want. Other cool plugins allow features such as pulling an orig.tar.gz from Debian if it is absent from the upload and not in the repository already. Plugins provide you the option to customize your repository for any purpose.

  • Users will be able to have their own personal repository (much like Launchpad’s PPAs) to host binary packages. This is simply achieved by creating a new user, uploading, and adding the appropriate entry to your sources.list.

  • Sponsors will be able to tell debexpo what kind of packages he or she likes to see, and a filtered package list will be shown. These kind of filters will include whether it’s a python package, or C library, whether it uses CDBS or straight debhelper, or even whether the maintainer is in the New Maintainer process (this is clearly a mentors-specific feature).

  • Packages will be able to be commented on by other users, in the same way as Ubuntu’s REVU tool. This keeps package discussion in one place, and Debian Developers can claim to have uploaded the package. This is useful to stop the scenario of a Debian Developer reviewing a package that has requested a sponsor, and then finding the package has been uploaded already after the initial uploader left no mention of this.

  • And more to come.

Development can be tracked through its Trac instance:, where I invite you to submit tickets or even submit patches! Its Git repository is public: Last but not least, the there is also a low-traffic mailing list.

I invite you to try it out, and report bugs. Posting to the list is a great way to get in contact.

There is little visible eye-candy in your browser to show for the work so far as nearly all the work so far has gone into the backend. A sneak peek at what it looks like at the moment is available though:

As you can see, the theme is somewhat familiar. Hopefully, as the SoC program nears an end, this will be fixed.

This is my first post to Planet Debian.

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