Sunday, July 24, 2011

Taking Over Sigil

The other day it was announced I am now the maintainer of the Sigil. Back in June Strahinja announced that he was looking for someone to take over the project. I highly respect the work Strahinja has done with Sigil and this is a project I don't want to see die. I myself use Sigil one occasion and when dealing with e-books I often find myself recommending its use.

After seeing the announcement by Strahinja that it was time to move on I contacted him about taking over in his stead. He agreed and has now given me control over the project. From this point on I will be handling releases, bug wrangling and everything else that goes into managing an open source project. I don't plan to remove Strahinja's access to the code repository. If he asks I will but Sigil started as his baby and if he wants to start working on it again I fully trust him and I would have no problem with this.

The good news is Sigil is not going to die tor stagnate. I am fully committed to continuing the project and bettering the application. That said things are different now than when Strahinja was here. Strahinja was pretty much a one man show when it came to fixing bugs and implementing new features in Sigil. He had a lot of time he was able to spend working on it. I unfortunately do not have nearly that amount of free time to work on Sigil. I have a day job unrelated to programming, publishing, or books in general. I can only work on Sigil in my spare time (mainly after work and weekends). I also work on other projects too which will be sharing my free time with Sigil development. I cannot match the pace of development Sigil users have come to expect so unless others step up to help me with coding development will slow considerably.

My plans for Sigil are as follows. Short term I want to get 0.4 released. Currently it's sitting at RC 1 and there are only a few small bugs I would like to fix for it. I have been spending the past few days becoming familiar with Sigil's build system. Once 0.4 is out I will need to spend some time getting to know the ins and outs of the code itself. From there I will move onto working toward the 0.5 release. Right now I'm going to commit to a hyperlink editor and spell check support for 0.5. I will need to look over the existing bugs and see what else would be a good fit for 0.5. At some point when the EPUB 3 specification is finished I will work on bringing Sigil up to speed with it. That will take place in what ever release number Sigil is at at that time.

I'm not going to give any release target dates for either 0.4 or 0.5. Each Sigil release will take the form of when it's ready it will ship. One big difference between me and Strahinja is undoubtedly how we handle version numbers. I only use this system, major.minor.revision. With major numbers 0 is for feature incomplete and an unstable API. Going from 0 to 1 simply means that I feel the application is mature, stable and has a set API. Going from 1 to any other number means it's a massive change in some way (features, functionality, UI, API...). Minor numbers are for new features. Revisions changes mean there are no new features only bug fixes. Up until 1.0 is released the majority of releases you will see will be minor release numbers. Such as 0.4 followed by 0.5 instead of 0.3.0 followed by 0.3.1 and so forth.

Aside from Sigil development there is also the Sigil development blog. I plan to use it to communicate Sigil announcements. I do want to point out that I do keep a personal blog which I also use. I will be posting all Sigil announcements on my blog as well as on the Sigil blog. However, I plan to keep posts on the Sigil blog to only Sigil content. If you want to keep up with everything I'm working on including Sigil then read my blog. If you want to keep up with only Sigil then read the Sigil blog.

As always feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I am always available to help if I can. MobileRead, email or blog comments are all ways to get in touch with me. However, I do ask that support type questions be directed to the appropriate section of MobileRead as I'm not an expert on all aspects of e-books. There are a lot of smart people there who can help too and often you'll get an answer faster than asking me directly.

3 comments:

  1. Good to hear. Sigil is an extremely important tool for me. If I could make one suggestion to the leadership of Barnes & Noble, it would be to invest heavily in support of the project. It is one of the single best advantages they have in getting books produced for their preferred format. They could allow some people to work on the project full time for less than the payroll of a single retail location. Trivially cheap compared to the benefits. for their platform.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congrats John! I hope Google doesn't hire you now that you've got through Strahinja's screening:) I recommend taking all the time to make 0.4 a very stable release. Google can hire you after that!

    ReplyDelete
  3. 0.4 is nearly complete. Strahinja let it in RC1 status with one blocking bug. I've made a few small changes (closed some easy to deal with bugs) and I plan to focus on this blocker. Once that one is complete 0.4 will be released.

    I've been using the 0.4 RC1 for some time and I haven't encountered any major issues. It might take a bit between fixing that bug to having an actual release as I'm not well versed in packaging on Windows. I want to put all the packages out at once and not one then another a few days / weeks later.

    ReplyDelete