Symbolic #1 – Overview and Features

First Symbolic version was released on 22/04/08. It was first open source project I never managed, we got some problem to start and to make a stable version. Now I’m releasing (aka uploading on sourceforge) the 1.1.1. version. 🙂

I want to write a bit on this project on my blog (improvements, bugs, solutions and so on), but before I need to explain a bit few word about this project.

What’s symbolic?
Symbolic is a web application written with grails and is written as a front end of FUNC (Fedora Unified Network Controller). Symbolic goal is to resolve a big problem when unskilled administrators have to manage huge number of machines (virtual or host); FUNC has sexy design and is written really good, but is a python API, so require a substantive knowledge and is difficult to be used by unskilled people.

Which features actually are implemented?
Symbolic is written using Agile programming, so there are a lot of feature which are implemented and removed because testing fails. Actually there are these implemented features:

  • basic and LDAP authentication which support one or more LDAP servers
  • Virtual machine and cluster management: every machine can be inserted as virtual machine, host, guest and cluster; this characterization permit different action to different machine types (for example, virtual machines can be destroyed 😀 )
  • Every operation and machine can be tagged, in this way each users has a separated environment and control only granted machines.
  • Operations: any operation is a combination of a module (which corresponds to FUNC module) and functions with certain parameters. Parameters can be dynamic or fixed: inserted run time or chosed during operation creation (example, ping to an arbitrary host or ping to a fixed host).
  • Usability: we worked hard to improve usability and made application easy and simple to use by everyone (I agree, there is a lot of work in this direction)
  • Scripting: possibility to deploy simple scripts (only by administrator). Each user can launch it (if, of course, allowed).
  • Operation log, to see what operation was launched: each operation has different status, Success, Failed, Waiting, and so on…

Right now there is a dirty method to call FUNC, using command line; I’m writing (very slowly 😦 ) a FUNC extension to allow communication through network (now with XMLRPC but soon with socket). In this way FUNC provides a general interface which guarantee interdependency from back-end and front-end eliminating problems due different programming languages.

Who is working behind symbolic?

Francesco Crippa and Davide Panelli are project managers; me, Marco Mornati and Simone Pucci are developers, Samuele Storari is our Art Director. Last but not least, behind symbolic there is also FUNC community.

to be continued 😉

Update 15/06/08@09:53am
Symbolic 1.1.1 has been released, downland here. Grails 1.0.3 is required (RPM here).

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4 thoughts on “Symbolic #1 – Overview and Features

  1. I would like to point out that asking for actual usability is not a sign of “being unskilled”. Symbolic looks like pretty nice beginning.

  2. uhm, I think more usability is provided, more unskilled people can use application.
    I’m not a guru of usability but there are some process that are complexed also for me… 🙂

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