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Thanks to some new interest, I’ve decided to resurrect an old project of mine, PHP EMS Tools. It’s a web-based tool for small emergency services organizations, mainly aimed at volunteer EMS/ambulance providers. The tool handles roster tracking, scheduling, equipment maintenance and checks, and a bunch of other administrative tasks. I first started it in 2007 for the Midland Park Ambulance Corps (MPAC), which I was a volunteer EMT with from 2005 through 2011. I’ll admit that it’s a perfect model of how not to run a software project. The first few releases are plain awful code. I was keeping the project in CVS at the time, and posted some early releases on sourceforge and FreshMeat, now FreeCode. Sometime in 2009, I migrated the contents of the trunk of the CVS module to a SVN repository, but discarded the history. I also setup a MediaWiki-based website for the project, giving some information and mainly asking for feedback. Around that time I started working on a new and heavily updated (fixed) version for MPAC, but since it appeared that there was no interest in the project, and there were many many local customizations and organization-specific features, I let their codebase diverge from what was released, and as a result, stopped keeping it in version control. Until now, when they need to migrate to a new server, and I’ve also gotten some outside interest in the project.

So, as of this morning, I was left with at least four code bases:

  1. the original CVS repository with branches and tags and some history, untouched since 2007
  2. the SVN repository circa 2009, with only 3 commits, all related to the migration from CVS to SVN
  3. a “release” tarball that at least one outside organization is actually using.
  4. the code that MPAC is running, which has been largely rewritten since 2009, but also contains a lot of organization-specific customizations.

As a first step, I created a new SVN repository and migrated the original CVS repo, complete with history, branches, and tags, to it using cvs2svn, and then removed write permissions on the actual module in the repository. This gave me a SVN repository with all of the history of previous so-called releases, with a trunk matching r1 of the “current” SVN repository. I then manually applied patches to trunk/ for the two commits in the current SVN repository, and set the svn:date revision property to the correct 2009 date for those commits. I also confirmed that the correct tag matches up to the “release” tarball mentioned above. So, I’m down to a “current” trunk, plus the locally modified code running on MPAC’s current server. My plan of action from this point is as follows:

  1. Move the PHP EMS Tools website from Mediawiki to my local redmine installation, and update the news with a link to this post.
  2. Migrate the SVN repository, which now contains full history, to Git hosted at Github. Add Github integration to Redmine.
  3. Update freshmeat, sourceforge, and anywhere else online that knows about the project.
  4. Working in a git branch, begin converging the code MPAC is currently running with the latest (now git) trunk, trying to provide configuration options for anything organization specific, and testing as I go.

If all works well, I’ll end up with MPAC running the current trunk, just some different configuration options, and a working, up-to-date release. The biggest issues are going to be how I handle the MPAC-specific additions and customizations (a lot of stuff hard-coded for our position titles, plus our very custom call report and telephone-based call-in software, which is pretty tightly linked with the PHP EMS Tools core), and how I balance abstracting things to be configurable for other users versus getting this all done in a reasonable amount of time.

Stay tuned…


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