[mmgsoc] Pipermail archive UI

Barry Warsaw barry at list.org
Tue May 31 16:34:25 CEST 2011

On May 31, 2011, at 07:32 PM, Dushyant Bansal wrote:

>So far, I have been able to run the basic functionalities of archive-ui for
>mm3. Moving forward, I would like to discuss these issues. Please give your


>*archive-ui* -> Yian's work on archive-ui as part of last year's GSOC on mailman 2.1
>*pipermail* -> Pipermail on mailman 3
>1. In pipermail, all the static htmls generated for each message(that goes
>into archives) are arranged in directories corresponding to different months.
> Whereas in archive-ui, all the conversations are stored in a single
> directory. The reason is that since a conversation can span across months,
> it is somewhat ambiguous where to keep that conversation.

No, in fact just about everybody finds Pipermail's forced divisions pretty
crappy exactly for the reason you state.

Now, there is some benefit to not just storing all the html in one big
directory though.  Some systems have limits on the number of files that can
appear in one directory.  These can be hard limits or practical
(i.e. performance) limits.  One thing that some people have done is to hash
the contents and use that in the filename, with a hierarchy to represent the
message, e.g.:

for message foo
- hash = 1234abcd
- save the file in:
- .../archives/private/foo/12/34/1234abcd.html

I'm not saying that's definitely the way to go, but just giving you something
to think about.

>If any of you think that arranging conversations by months offers advantage
>in any form, then I can do so. But in that case, the whole conversation will
>be kept in the month when its first message arrives.

I think the key thing here is that regardless of how the messages are stored
on disk, it should be possible to follow conversations across organizational
boundaries, like months.

>2. Readable urls: URL corresponding to a conversation can be created from
>subject of the first message of a conversation (in the same way as various
>blog sites do).

Hmm, possibly.  But I think that's much less important than the RFC 5064
stable-URL proposal on the wiki.  I'd cite that now, but wiki.list.org seems
to be down. :( Have you read that page?

>Also, in archive-ui, when a message is archived, all the conversations are
>generated again. Ideally, we should do minimum amount of work on archiving a
>message. I am trying to work this out too.

Agreed.  This is one reason to think about doing less work to generate a
static page and doing the actual final rendering dynamically (with possibly a

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