On April 7th, we released Bespin 0.7.1 (codenamed “Bryce”). This is the first update to the Bespin server and full package since we “rebooted” the client side of the project. Read on for a few of the details of the release.
A few months ago, we decided to “reboot” the client side code of the Bespin project. We heavily refactored the code and rewrote significant portions of it to make something that was structured better to handle the features we are looking to add in 2010. For the past couple of months, we’d see email messages on the list referring to some feature or problem in Bespin 0.4.4 despite the fact that the core Bespin team has been actively working on the “reboot” code (which has appeared as Bespin Embedded 0.5 and 0.6).
We’re pleased to finally bring the whole of the Bespin project back under one codebase. bespin.mozillalabs.com is now running Bespin 0.7.1. There are actually too many things to talk about for a single blog post (the plugin system and editing of plugins from within Bespin, command line changes, the myriad of editor changes, the new keyboard mapping support, the initial plugin gallery, and so on). More docs and blog posts are coming up next.
As excited as we are about the new release and everything new that Bespin can do, we want to emphasize that Bespin is still alpha quality software. In some ways, it’s “more alpha” than Bespin 0.4.4 because of missing features and rough edges. In other ways, it’s less alpha and ready to evolve quickly. And evolve quickly it will, so keep an eye out here (or on the mailing list or twitter) to follow releases.
Here’s a list of things that are not yet present in Bespin 0.7: collaboration, file explorer, “svn” commands, project import/export, command line aliases and file preview. Eugene Lazutkin has been hard at work on the collaboration feature, which will return with a bit of extra goodness over the Bespin 0.4.4 implementation. The file explorer will come back in some form (hint: use the “ls” command for now, and check out the new “open” command), and the other features all just need to finish being refactored from the 0.4.4 code. Even with this list, we felt that the time was right to bring all Bespin users back together under one codebase.
It’s easier than ever to let us know how you want to see Bespin evolve. Let us know what’s important to you at our feedback.mozillalabs forum (hint: use the “feedback” command from within Bespin).
Getting Started with Bespin 0.7
I wanted to jot down a few quick notes to help you get started with Bespin 0.7, since we have a bunch of work to do in user documentation at this point.
If you’ve already got a Bespin account, your account will still work just fine. If you don’t, go ahead and sign up.
You’ll start off with an empty editor, waiting for input. You’ve got an editor at the top and a command line at the bottom. Bespin will remember your last open file, so the next time you return to Bespin, it will open the same file you were last editing.
You can use the “help” command to get a list of the available commands. Also, each command will tell you a little bit about itself when you type the command in:
Thanks to the help of Zandr, the Mozilla Labs sysadmin, we now have a shiny new Ubuntu-based VM for Bespin. It’s got more RAM and disk space than the old VM and should do a nice job for us. This was the reason for the downtime today. A straight software upgrade doesn’t take as long as migrating all of the data to another box.
Since it’s all one codebase now, Bespin Embedded is also getting bumped up to 0.7.1. A nice collection of fixes are in, so pick up the release in the usual spot.
Thanks to Joe Walker, Patrick Walton, Julian Viereck and Eugene Lazutkin for a huge effort on getting the rebooted Bespin together, and a big thank you to all of the early adopters who are helping to make Bespin a great code editing tool.
– Kevin Dangoor on behalf of the Bespin team