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Agenda for AstroPy Meeting 2011


This day will be devoted to general discussions about coordinating efforts to develop AstroPy.

10:30am Coffee / snacks / video setup


Each participant introduces themselves (name, institution, experience, interests). We need to keep this short, less than a minute for each participant.



Go briefly over the agenda, and add any missing items.


Progress made so far

Summary of progress made so far via the mailing list


Development workflow

Discussion session on the development process for affiliated packages and for the core package. The discussion will center around the existing workflow for development.

Detailed agenda

  • Presentation of existing workflow.
  • Identify any issues, and propose modifications.
  • Do affiliated packages continue to exist once merged in, or should the work then be done on a fork of AstroPy?
  • If they continue to exist, how are contributions by normal users made: to the affiliated package, or directly as pull requests to AstroPy?
  • If directly to AstroPy, how are the changes reconciled with the separate affiliated package? Who is responsible for ensuring this?
  • Similarly, where are bugs reported? In AstroPy, or in the affiliated package?
  • How do we avoid multiple affiliated packages for the same task? Do we officially designate which team we will support from the start?


Short discussion to decide what license AstroPy should be developed/released under.

Detailed agenda

  • Request suggestions for licenses (GPL? BSD? MIT? Python?).
  • Discuss pros/cons of possible licenses.
  • Vote on which license to use.

Lightning talks

1:30pm Lunch

Initial areas of development

The coordination committee will propose a set of initial areas of development, and the purpose of this discussion will be to discuss these, identify missing initial areas, and agree on a final list.

The aim will then be to identify participants who would be willing to -- at least temporarily -- coordinate the efforts for a specific area of development. This does not imply a definite choice, but more that after the meeting these coordinators can then try and get all people interested in that area to start coordinating efforts, including potentially decide on a longer term coordinator. But leaving the meeting, we should have at least a volunteer for each area of development to ensure that things get started.

We can then discuss how we expect the design of affiliated packages to work. Should affiliated package teams inform the rest of the developers of their design plans for the package, and wait for it to be approved before going ahead with coding?

Finally, we can discuss how to best communicate during the development process. Are we worried about driving people away from the astropy mailing list? Should we create astropy-dev? Should each affiliated package team have their own method of communication and only communicate via astropy-dev when reporting back to the overall group, or should all discussions be done via astropy-dev for the record?

Detailed agenda

  • Present possible areas for initial development.
  • Discuss whether any of the areas should not be included.
  • Discuss whether any areas should be added to the list.
  • Vote on final list.
  • Request volunteers to coordinate affiliated packages.
  • What are the next steps for affiliated package teams?
  • How do we plan to handle existing duplication in existing packages, and how do we choose which package should form the starting point in cases where there are currently several alternatives?
  • Should affiliated package designs be approved before going ahead?
  • Do we want to create an astropy-dev list?
  • If so, what is the scope of that list?

Lightning talks

4:00pm Afternoon break

Long-term transition

Discussion session on how we envisage the transition to AstroPy over the next few years.

Detailed agenda

  • Share thoughts on how we see the transition happening.
  • Do some developers/packages have commitments to existing packages that have an impact on this?
  • How do different developers plan to maintain existing packages in parallel with AstroPy components?

Timeline and milestones

Discussion session on timeline and milestones for the project. The aim will be to decide whether we want to set any milestones for inclusion of the initial affiliated packages and for an initial public release.

Detailed agenda

  • Decide whether we want to schedule a milestone for public release.
  • Decide on shorter-term milestones.
  • Decide whether any long-term (years) milestones are needed.

Lightning talks (Online data access and sharing)

7:00pm Finish
8:00pm Dinner at a local restaurant


This day will be devoted to more specific coding topics, and will include some hands-on work. The morning sessions will in all likelihood lead to work on the guidelines, core package, or template package being necessary. A session after lunch is planned for people to split into groups and implement these changes.

9:30am Coffee / snacks / video setup

Testing framework

Finalize the discussion that was carried out on the list regarding unittest vs nose vs py.test and designate a small group to update the testing guidelines.

Detailed agenda

  • Summary of the mailing list discussion.
  • Discussion to reach a consensus on a single testing framework.
  • Vote if needed.
  • Request volunteers to update the testing guidelines

Core package layout

Determine whether everyone is happy with the current layout of the core package, especially regarding interfacing to external C and python libraries. The current layout is available here

One of the points to discuss will be whether we definitely want to go ahead with the idea that we provide any required external C library in cextern/, and give the user the option to specify an existing installation. An alternative to this would be to never provide unmodified dependencies, but to then to provide an optional package which does include these dependencies. This also touches on some topics related to packaging and distribution.

Detailed agenda

  • Short presentation of the core package layout, and justification for current layout
  • Q&A session regarding current layout, and establish whether further changes are required.
  • Request volunteers to update the core package layout

Template package layout

Discuss what steps need to be taken to finalize the template package so that coding can already start on Friday. The current template package is available here.

Detailed agenda

  • Short presentation of the template package layout, and justification for current layout
  • Q&A session regarding current layout, and establish whether further changes are required.
  • Request volunteers to update the template package layout

Lightning talks (Packaging and Releasing)

  • Erik Bray - zest.releaser
  • Mike Droettboom - pkgsrc
  • Brian Refsdal - EPD-like packaging
  • James Turner - the Gemini/STScI Unified Release
12:30pm Lunch

Splinter coding/writing session

Break into groups to implement decisions from the morning.

3:00pm Afternoon break
3:30pm Each group designates someone to present the updated documents and packages. Subsequent discussion and modifications if needed.
5:30pm Brief discussion on possibility of a logo/website design competition
6:00pm Finish

If time permits, we can also discuss the following topics:

  • Funding possibilities
  • Packaging/distribution issues
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