How to use NBIC Trac

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See also The meta project on Trac itself for more manuals

The NBIC Trac system is a development system for software tools developed in collaborations that involve NBIC. It is a single site that keeps all development together; this makes sure that each of the bioinformatics projects benefit from the attention that other projects get.

Each project in trac gets a Version Control system, some mailing lists, bug and feature trackers and a wiki for documentation.

The use of a version control system can be beneficial to any kind of software development, but it is of utmost Importance for larger collaborative projects. Some reasons are:

  • It allows you to go back to a working earlier version if something breaks
  • It keeps track of when things changed and why
  • It makes it possible to work on a project with more than one person or on more than one computer without the risk of overwriting changes by mistakes in copying
  • It provides a backup of all code in a remote location

Basic usage of NBIC Trac

  • How to register as a developer
  - Fill in your E-mail address on the form at Click.
  - Click on the link in the E-mail that you get
  - Choose a safe password
  - At the top of the screen, click "project and user administration"
  - Fill in the form. Fill your real name at "name", and tell something about yourself 
    (using trac wiki syntax if you want and know what it is) under "information".
  - All set. Ask access to an existing project, or register your own project.
  • How to register a project
  - Go to
  - Click on "project and user administration"
  - Log in.
  - Click on "Projects" in the blue bar at the top of the screen
  - Click on "add" in the grey bar
  - Give a unique name to the project. This can not be changed later, and will be used in the name of all mailing lists for the project. Use letters, numbers and "-". You can use capital letters, but the name will be case-insensitive.
   - The admin of the whole system now needs to approve your project. You will get a CC of the e-mail conversation for this purpose. If this takes too long, send e-mail to
   - Once the project is approved, the system will (within an hour) build the project, and send you a message how you can access it. You will receive a password that will allow you perform the administration on the mailing lists.
   - Every project has a number of mailing lists, a wiki for documentation, and trackers to keep track of bug/feature requests and developer tasks.
   - Once the project has been approved, change the front page of the wiki
  - Add the other developers
  - Each of the the developers is automatically added to the developer mailing list. Do not change the membership of the developer mailing list by hand.
- Make sure to add "This is part of Open PHACTS." to the project definition.
  • How to set the protection:
  - each project has its own admins and those can set all aspects of the project
  - projects can be hidden
  - projects can be closed
  • How to add documentation to the wiki
  • How to use the trackers
  • Importance of automatic test cases, continuous integration
  - Regression tests
  - Unit tests
  - Functional tests