PKP Sprint Fall 2014 Results

October 14th, 2014 by  | Comments Off on PKP Sprint Fall 2014 Results

We had the pleasure of inviting our far-flung community to join us for a few days of intense group work just prior to our 2014 Annual General Meeting. This was our second development sprint and once again a diverse and talented mix of people came together and exceeded our expectations. A blank agenda allowed us to choose from many long-deferred topics and make impressive progress on a wide variety of subjects:


Who: Mark Jordan

Project: PKP has recently launched a Private LOCKSS Network (PLN) for OJS journals. This group identified the staging server as a good candidate for an automated test suite.

Results: Sandbox Travis-CI environment successfully created complete with HTTP client requests, MySQL database setup, etc. with tests using Pytest. Code available at

Publication Date for Article Records

Who: Alec Smecher, Vanessa Gabler, Clinton Graham

Project: This group identified a long-standing metadata handling quirk that leads to article publication dates not being tracked properly in some common publication workflows.

Results: The bug was found and fixed for release in OJS 2.4.6. The code was reviewed and tested and is currently ready for merge:

Import/Export For Everything

Who: Clinton Graham, Alec Smecher, Brian Gregg

Project: The group decided to tackle a long-standing missing piece in the OJS management toolset: merging a journal into an existing installation, preserving not just published content but also configuration, editorial workflow such as peer review, etc.

Results: This group couldn’t complete the task but did identify a workable approach: generating a MySQL dump in XML format, then processing it using a lightweight and database-oriented script to 1) identify a tree structure representing the data, and 2) from there, offset existing identifiers in order to permit conflict-free ingestion into the existing database. We hope to continue working on this code.

Dashboard Notifications

Who: Juan Pablo Alperin, Michael Thessel, Jason Nugent, Chris MacDonald

Project: This group tackled the question of how to deliver a better set of notifications from PKP to journal management. Currently there is a “new version” notice, but more categories will be useful: plugin updates, security warnings, announcements, usage recommendations, etc.

Results: The group decided to implement a proof of concept for OJS 2.x using the PKP website’s WordPress tools as a data source.

UI/UX: Reader Interfaces

Who: Kevin Stranack, Vanessa Gabler, Samia Ferrah, Bruno Beghelli, Karen Meijer-Kline

Project: This group tackled some problem solving in several specific areas of the new OMP / OJS 3.0 design related to Reader Interfaces.

Results: The group investigated several other popular publishing systems and sites, and evaluated their components for differences and communalities. From this, they created a list of desired features in OMP/OJS 3.0. An extensive list can be found here

As a side development project, the Popular Articles block plugin was also updated to work with the statistics framework for OJS 2.4.x; code here.

UI/UX: Editorial Interface

Who: Kevin Stranack, Vanessa Gabler, Samia Ferrah, Bruno Beghelli, Karen Meijer-Kline

Project: This group tackled some problem solving in several specific areas of the new OMP / OJS 3.0 design related to editorial workflow, such as Copyediting.

Results:  The group walked through the latest wireframes of a proposed new copyediting workflow, giving feedback and making suggestions.


Who: Samia Ferrah, James MacGregor, Marco Tullney

Project: This group met to discuss and refine the workflow for maintaining and merging translation updates.

Results: We had several practical outcomes, large and small:

  • Marco Tullney, our German managing translator for OJS and OMP, has stepped up into a new role as PKP Translation Manager (co-managing with James). As such he has received git commit access, and will be assisting us with managing translation submissions there. Marco will additionally be added to the PKP Technical Committee as a member-at-large in order to represent our translator interests with the broader PKP community.
  • Samia Ferrah, of Open Editions, has confirmed Open Editions’ commitment to provide PKP with French translations for both OJS and OMP. Additionally, Samia has stepped up as the French (fr_FR) managing translator for OJS And OMP, and will be maintaining a translation dictionary and other documents on the wiki.
  • Finally, we have also started on an fr_FR translation of OMP. This will most likely not be ready for OMP 1.1.1, but should be available by OMP 1.1.2 or 1.2.

Development Workflow

Who: Alec Smecher, Brian Gregg, Clinton Graham

Project: This group met to discuss the overall experience of collaborating on PKP software, ranging from developer onramping to github specifics to integrated testing. A number of smaller subprojects organically arose.

Results: There were several practical outcomes:

  • A proposal has been circulated advocating the use of issues instead of Bugzilla for bug tracking, with specific proposals for migration and workflow. This will be discussed next both internally and with the PKP technical committee.
  • Wiki curation and updates, specifically relating to github workflows. The volume of conflicting and out of date wiki documentation has been drastically decreased.
  • A list of “reference plugins” was created to showcase plugin coding practices and capture important plugins that were not included in PKP codebases.

These two sprint events have proven that our community is more than worthy of tackling difficult technical challenges in a short timespan with impressive results. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. We were honoured to have so many out-of-town visitors commit a considerable stretch of time and travel to be with us and hope the stronger connections between our respective teams will prove it worthwhile.

We intend to hold a similar event attached to our 2015 PKP International Scholarly Publishing Conference, which we are pleased to announce will be held in Vancouver, at Simon Fraser University, August 12-14 2015. Please watch the PKP website for details.


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