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Problems with Current State

Publishing modules to the update center currently suffers from a number of problems. Some of these problems do not exist for modules in main (or contrib) in a defined cluster configuration (, but that just increases the pressure to bloat these repositories with modules which would not otherwise need to be versioned in concert with the "standard" IDE distribution. (For example, after ExtractingStandaloneCluster it is suddenly much harder to offer the resulting module suite to users.)

Multiple update site URLs


Ill-defined "versions" of modules released from CI

Radim Kubacki in the context of NB-Android had mentioned being irritated that $job/lastStableBuild/artifact/build/updates/updates.xml does not work quite like you would expect: if you change a module between builds 1 and 2 but do not increment the OpenIDE-Module-Specification-Version, someone who connected to the UC after build 1 had completed would not receive the changes in build 2, but someone who connected for the first time after build 2 would get those changes... so you have two different modules in the field both with the same spec version, which is potentially confusing. You would either (a) want the UC to only offer the copy of the module from build 1 unless and until a new version was explicitly pushed, or you would (b) want the spec version in the AU descriptor to be incremented when a new build is made in which that module was changed.

In I started to play with a Hudson plugin which would implement policy (a), so that rather than listing build/updates/ in the includes for the artifact publisher, you would tell this special plugin to publish an UC $job/nbuc/updates.xml which would get "updates" from builds just like the regular AU client would, so end users would only ever see a single copy of a given module in a given spec version. Policy (b) could also be offered as an option, though it could be tricky to identify "real" changes in a module - the plugin might (b1) compare binary NBMs if it knew how to exclude irrelevant details such as OpenIDE-Module-Build-Number, assuming the build does not insert extraneous timestamps elsewhere; or (b2) it could try to figure out from the build's changelog which NB modules were affected, though that might not be very reliable.

Although this issue could be addressed using a Hudson plugin, or by publishing modules to a Maven repository set to releases-only mode without using CI, an UC aggregator (see below) would also handle either (a) or (b1) with less burden on the module developers.

Lack of validation

While modules in cluster.config=experimental are checked for a variety of generic problems, no such check is made for modules published to other update centers. For example, user logs often show the JasperSoft iReports module throwing dozens of exceptions about nonexistent layer file entries. Specific checks that are useful include:


Difficulty of signing NBMs

XXX build-secret-plugin, etc.

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