Project management with Phabricator

The Fabricator

Unusual Updates

Phabricator does not publish releases but follows a rolling release model that maintains ongoing changes in its source code repository. For updates, the developers recommend updating the source code from this repository regularly (e.g., on a weekly basis). A changelog published weekly should be read to keep up-to-date with the latest changes.

This method is unusual and time-consuming compared with the usual release cycles of other software. Perhaps the updates can be automated via cron jobs, but then you have to ensure that everything works after the update. If everything is running smoothly, you simply have no reason to update weekly. The old admin adage applies here: "Never change a running system."

In the update documentation, the Phabricator developers recommend the following procedure: Stop the web server, stop the Phabricator daemons, update the three source code directories, update the database, and then restart all production processes. In practice, I dispensed with restarting the web server (after all, other websites are still running on the server), and everything worked perfectly.

Conclusions

Phabricator is project management software with many features, from chat, to trouble and bug tickets, to a wiki. The web-based tools are easy to use and serve their purpose perfectly. Only the update process takes a bit of getting used to. With a rolling release that requires an update from the source code repository, the question is: When should you update? A conventional release model would be easier to understand. If that's all too complicated, consider the commercially hosted version dubbed Phacility [2].

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