Although the feed feature of the pkg(5) repository server pkg.depotd
has been available for a few months, we're just starting to get it
configured properly for some of the repositories that our project team
helps to manage. For example, recently Teresa of our Release
Engineering team modified several repository instances to use a 60 day
window rather than the default of 24 hours. This extended window will
help new users see a broader set of package additions and updates. The
setting of interest was:
Where "1440" is the number of hours.
The URL for repository feeds is simply:
Here's a view from Thunderbird of the feed from http://pkg.sun.com/layered-collection/dev, a repo that acts as a clearing house of development quality packages of Sun middleware:
Several comments on the user experience:
Date/time stamps: Are a bit misleading based on how we typically manage
publication of packages to our repositories. Since we use a "copypkgs"
utility to copy a submitted package to the destination repository and
this utility preserves the publication date/time stamp, the date/time
displayed in the feed can be much earlier than the date/time at which
the package appeared in the repository.
2) Since this is a
feed for an external repository, we need to configure pkg.depotd to use
a more appropriate "From" value than "SWI Release Engineering".
Perhaps, simply "Sun Microsystems" in this example. The "From" field in
Thunderbird's display comes from the <author><name> element
in the feed:
<author><name>SWI Release Engineering</name><email>firstname.lastname@example.org</email>
3) It's very nice to see the distinction between "Added" and "Updated" for new and updated packages.
Perhaps dropping the publication date/time stamp from the "Subject"
would help reduce the complexity of the title and let the users focus
on the package name and non-date/time stamp portion of the version
string. The "Subject" field in Thunderbird's display comes from the
<title> element in the feed:
Once we enhance our repository web front end, there will be a much
better user experience when the user clicks on the website link to see
the package details. For example, displaying change summary
information would be a very useful feature.
Clearly, there's room for a more user friendly display of data. The UC2 project is keen on seeing a series of repo web UI enhancements
along these lines.