Concluding the bridging the gap theme

Many people have noticed application pages are changing on Launchpad. The pages might state that Launchpad does not know where a service is hosted, or the layout looks more like the common Launchpad design. These changes are a part of the final feature the Launchpad Registry team is contributing to the bridging the gap theme: To clearly state what Launchpad knows about were a project hosts a service.

This simple statement is a very large change to how Launchpad collects and presents information about the applications used by a project. The underlying goal is one that anyone who has ever tried to contribute to a project will sympathise with–“I want to contribute and I need to find where the project is hosted”. Launchpad aggregates project information and it hosts projects. Many projects use one or two Launchpad services like bug tracking and code hosting, but manage support or specifications elsewhere. Each service needs to tell users where or how they can accomplish their task. This also means that when Launchpad does not know, it should say so and not imply the project uses Launchpad.

This feature is also an opportunity to reconcile the differences between how applications present the same information. Once this opportunity was agreed to be in scope, I proposed the common experience for the five Launchpad applications (Answers, Blueprints, Bugs, Code, and Translations). The front pages will state whether the service is unknown (tell us), hosted externally (and tell you where), uses Launchpad (use it now), or not applicable. The pages will also explain if information may also be tracked in Ubuntu. The pages will not be indexed by search engines when the service is unknown. The layouts of the pages will be the same so that your experience using one application is applicable to all applications.

At first glance, this appears to be a feature that a team could deliver in a month, but that is not true. This is a very large change. We changed how launchpad collects information and the change had to be compatible with the current information so that the UI changes could be made without preventing you from using Launchpad. The description of 4 states for 5 apps is a gross simplification. When I say project, I mean a valid target for the applications, which could be a project, project series, project group, distribution, distro series, distro package, user, or team. This is 4 x 5 x 8 pages/conditions. The number of interaction we are building is much less than 160 pages because not all states apply to every app, nor does every kind of thing I listed. The Registry team is designing, building, and verifying 80 distinct pages. This is a lot of work for a 4 person team (this too is an exaggeration as most of my time is spent fixing oopses and planning new features). We appreciate your patience and we welcome your bug reports.