Moved Slugathon to github

I've been working on Slugathon on-and-off (but mostly off) since 2003. The bare minimum feature set that I consider necessary to do a serious alpha release is almost done. (Release early, release often; but if you release before you actually do anything useful you might just leave a bad first impression and scare off your potential users.) So I've been thinking about installers, and portability to MacOS and Windows, and whether my current hosting solution (svn and Trac provided for free to open source Python projects by WebFaction; thanks WebFaction) would cut it when I had users and possibly more contributors.

I like Trac, a lot. I now strongly prefer Git to Subversion. You can use Git and Trac together with the GitTracPlugin, but it's hard to find a host that has it installed. (SourceForge, for example, now offers both Git and Trac, but not together.) So I decided to go with github. They're the most popular Git host, their paid hosting business seems to be solid enough that they're unlikely to go away anytime soon, they offer free hosting for open source projects, and they have a wiki and an issue tracker.

So this morning I experimentally moved everything from Subversion+Trac to github. I've administered both Svn/Trac and Git/Trac installations at work, so I knew how to do this on a local machine where I had control, but doing things locally is different from doing things on a remote hosting service.

Here's what I did on github:

1. Signed up for an account. (I've poked around github plenty of times, and cloned other people's repositories there to my local box, but I never needed to register until I actually wanted to move my own repository there. Which is exactly the way it should work.)

2. Uploaded an ssh key. I already know ssh so it was just a matter of posting ~/.ssh/ into a web form.

3. Re-cloned my Subversion repository to my local box, using git-svn, using the –no-metadata option to remove all the ugly "git-svn-id" blobs in the log. I'd done this before when we switched from Subversion to Git at work, but I didn't remember the exact syntax. Luckily it was right there on Github's help page so I didn't even need to check a Git man page.

4. Uploaded my new local Git repository to Github.

5. Realized that I'd forgotten to use the –authors-file option to convert the author metadata from Subversion format (bare username) to Git format (firstname lastname email). Oops, this was also on github's help page but I'd been in too much of a hurry. I poked around github until I found out how to delete a repository, deleted the one I'd just made, redid the git-svn clone with the missing option, and re-uploaded my repository.

6. Basically cut-and-pasted my wiki pages (there were only 8 of them) from Trac to Github's wiki. I did a little tweaking to convert formatting from Trac format to the Textile format that Github uses, but didn't obsess about getting every little format perfect. One thing that github's wiki doesn't support well is images; they let you link to external images, but not post attachments directly into the wiki. So for now the thumbnail screenshots are there, but they don't link to the larger versions.

7. Manually ported all my Trac tickets to github issues. I had 62 tickets, 30 closed and 32 open. Both Trac and the github issue tracker share the same #number format for referring to issues, and I mention ticket numbers inside commit messages, so I thought it was necessary to add all the already-closed issues for historical reasons. I also changed any references to Subversion commit numbers to Git commit ids inside the issues. This was an annoying data entry task, but with only 62 tickets it was faster to just do it by hand than to write some awesome Trac to github conversion script. (Which would require either cooperation from github, or advanced web scraping, since github is a rather fancy web site with JavaScript everywhere.)

8. Changed Slugathon's SourceForge page to point at github rather than WebFaction. (I'm keeping a SourceForge presence for the project because they offer useful things that Github does not, like project mailing lists. Also, if SourceForge ever integrates Git and Trac and I become dissatisfied with Github's new and fairly minimal issue tracker, I might move everything to SourceForge.)

9. Changed the main wiki page at WebFaction to point to github, too. (I will eventually ask WebFaction to delete the project, but first I want to make sure that the move was a good idea. And give Google enough time to cache the version of the page that shows the redirect to github, so people don't think the project just disappeared.)

10. Created a static web page using the instructions at This feels somewhat redundant with the github wiki, but it gave me a place to park my images.

My conclusion so far: I still like Git a lot more than Subversion. I like github's wiki and issue tracker less than Trac, but they seem to be good enough.