Marseille Hackfest 2012, feedback

The Hackfest BibLibre organized in Marseille is almost over ! time passes too quickly.

A lot of great great great work has been made, I’ll try to report things we made:
As we planned, we splitted in 5 groups, 4 of them focusing on specific hackers topics, the 5th one being librarians testing & translating.

Plack group

(Alex, Matthias, Dobrika and Henri-Damien at the beginning)
this group focused on introducing plack on Koha. A big performance boost was expected from their work.

  • Alex, Matthias and Dobrika worked on “plackifying” Koha. The OPAC is already working fine under plack (it’s lived in Lyon3 university, running 3.6, since 3 months)
    A wiki page has been written to show how to integrate plack into Koha setup:
  • The main problem that has been encountered with the staff interface is described in section 3 of this page:
    Dobrika worked a lot on writing patches to solve those problems (see bug 7172). He plans to run Koha on plack in production on staff interface next week, so that will be easier to identify any remaining problem !
  • The major goal is to be Plack available as an option for Koha 3.8.

Just a comparison (patron search taken as example): generating a page in CGI mode takes 1.12s, and in Plack mode, it takes 0.334s (3 times faster. Yes you’re reading well. Koha is 3 times faster with Plack !)

A second comparison : zebra search: 1.6s for plack and 3s for CGI

A better use of Plack can even be made, and everybody plan to continue the work for 3.10
Just beware that you’re trading speed for memory: plack consumes more memory than CGI: each child running consumes around 60MB of memory, so if you’ve 12 childs (suggested/recommended value), it mean you need aroung 1GB for Plack.

Alex also tried to see how Koha could be fully PSGI compliant, but the tries were not successfull for now.


(Owen, Katrin, Adrien, Gaetan, Marijana and Julian)

  • The group made big lists of things that are inconsistent, ergonomy guidelines,… Some wiki pages have been written.
  • the group suggested to use “Add” when we add something to an existing object, and the term “New” when it’s something not related to anything else
  • Adrien added header search bar, that is everywhere else on Koha has been introduced in the mainpage (patch submitted)
  • Gaetan started to work on a design for the home page, and the staff interface. The goal is to have it for 3.8
  • Katrin added id to all pages, as well as a specific css class. It mean we will be able to write a css with different colors for each module (the patch has been pushed, see bug 7760, comment 32 for an example how to use it). The bug 7812 is also related to this improvement, and is about adding a global “header” that include the menu, the header search bar and the breadcrumb, but no code has been submitted yet.
  • Owen presented a framework (bootstrap) that could be a replacement for YUI. The interesting point with bootstrap is that it contains all what we need for smartphones. Julian hacked a little bit, and replaced the


(Marc, St├ęphane and Christophe)

  • the group focused on removing mysql-ism
  • a first list of mysql-ism has been identified and put on the wiki:
  • the “show column” mysqlism has been removed in a patch submitted on bug
  • a generic OO approach has been taken for things that don’t have a generic equivalent.


(Zeno, Juan, Claire, Jonathan (a little) and Henri-Damien)
The Solr work is a long term work.
All the work the group made is explained in the wiki page :


The group of french librarians did a great work !

Bugzilla show the following numbers : no patches need to be pushed, 16 patches are waiting for QA, 71 patches are waiting for signoff.

The number of patches needing signoff hasn’t been lowered at first glance. But it’s a wrong feeling ! If you look closer, you’ll discover that :

  • 3 patches only had no activity since january
  • 6 patches only had no activity since february
  • 13 patches haven’t been updated this week but earlier in march.

all other patches still to sign-off had an activity this week.
Around 30 patches have been signed-off.

Those librarians where french, so the french translation of Koha 3.8 have been done, and a large part of the manual has been translated as well.


Last year, everybody was happy of our hackfest. This year, everybody is happy with this hackfest. So next year we will organize another one, you can already ask your boss (for end of march)

Koha 3.8 Release Manager Founder and owner of BibLibre, french company dedicated to OpenSource and libraries