QGIS.org blog

Your donations/sponsorships help to maintain and improve the quality of QGIS

The QGIS project is growing in size, number of contributors/contributions and code complexity. This introduces challenges for the project, especially for maintaining quality. Maintaining and improving quality is one of the main concerns of the QGIS.ORG board and some core developers.

Past and current QA efforts

Tim Sutton introduced a first unit test framework several years ago. But it wasn’t very visible then and passing the tests as a prerequisite to make changes to master wasn’t enforced. About a year ago, Matthias Kuhn introduced automated unit testing for the Linux builds – using Travis continuous integration testing. At our github page you can always see whether the master version builds fine and whether the tests are passing – see the green “Build passing” button at the beginning of the Readme.md file.

Since then, OS X automated building/testing was added. Pull requests (new contributions from developers) can be tested prior to integration into the master branch. Another effort was to use coverity code scans to detect memory leaks. Nyall Dawson and others did a lot of improvements/fixes due to this automated code scans.

Upcoming challenges

There is still a lot to do regarding quality and automated testing. Because continuous integration tests were only introduced about a year ago, it means that still a lot of areas in the code base remain untested. Also, the current unit tests do not test GUI interactions. There is an ongoing discussion if critical classes should have unit tests enforced for any code changes. Finally, our bug queue at http://hub.qgis.org/projects/quantum-gis/issues is still quite long, with lots of bigger and minor issues.

Your financial support really matters!

This is where your donations and sponsorships come in. For the past 3-4 releases we were able to pay 2-4 developers who worked for several days concentrating on bug fixing. For QGIS 2.12 we had Nyall Dawson, Jürgen Fischer and Larry Shaffer working on bug fixing. We also financially support Giovanni Manghi for working on our bug tracker (e.g. classifying issues correctly, trying to reproduce the issue, ask bug reporters for more details).

Now – you may wonder why they didn’t fix all the “BLOCKER”s first and then continue on with “HIGH”, “NORMAL” “LOW”  issues – and why a lot of unreported issues and issues with label “LOW” were also fixed? The answer is that it is often more efficient for the developers to concentrate on a certain part of the code – e.g. concentrating on geometry, labeling and editing issues, as Nyall did for this round of bug fixing. This means that he would not only fix issues labeled as “BLOCKER” or “HIGH” but also other bugs that are in the same code. Finally, not all of the “Blocker” and “High” bugs are reproducable or the issue may be much too hard/time consuming to fix.

Due to your financial support, the 3 developers were able to fix the following list of issues for the QGIS 2.12 release – many of the fixes also get back-ported to QGIS 2.8 LTS release: