• This Week in Tessel: Special Report from Tesselcamp

    Monday, September 12, 2016

    Hello, Tesselators!

    Tessel Project leadership met up at Tesselcamp to determine the organization’s goals and main activities for the next year. In this special issue of This Week in Tessel, we’re reporting back to you:


    • We’ve set goals for the next year focusing on growing community and making it easier to use Tessel 2 in production. Read the specifics.
    • There are working groups to go with the goals, and we’d love to have you. Check them out here.
    • There are new releases out for T2 CLI (including Node 6 support) and Firmware. Plug in your Tessel and run npm i -g t2-cli; t2 update to use them.
    • Documentation now includes more of the stack.
    • Repos are now more contributor-friendly than ever with badges and standardized labels.

    Part of the @tesselproject team at Tesselcamp, photo by Flaki.

    Goals for the next year

    The two key goals for the next year are:

    1. Grow the community to increase contributions and encourage both inclusion and accessibility to newcomers.
      • Build effective working groups that can complete their tasks with measurable results.
      • Upgrade our documentation. Build more fritzing examples, API prototypes, and call out features that are currently missing from the docs.
      • Update the tessel.io website to more accurately represent the project and its plans.
    2. Support and grow the number of production deployments of Tessel in the field.
      • Research and create a guide for production-scale deployment of a Tessel project. Base this on the needs of current users.
      • Build Tessel Reach, the low-power hardware endpoints of a star network whose center is Tessel 2, so Tessel can make sense in more use cases.
      • Build first-class support for Rust API and documentation (parity with JS) and figure out JS-Rust inter-exection to provide for performant high-level coding of serious applications.
      • Investigate increasing RAM and Flash availability on Tessel or a revision of the Tessel board, reducing friction in production-level deployments.

    Read more in the Tessel Project readme.

    Working groups

    To accomplish the outlined goals, the team decided to form working groups as follows:

    • Learning WG: investigate user needs for production & write a guide on how to take a Tessel project to product scale. Also build and document GPIO/GUTS (Great Uses for Tessel in Stuff e.g. hacking a production system) projects. Learn more/get involved
    • Website WG: Create a better website for what we are & what we plan to be based on this year’s goals. Learn more/get involved
    • Rust WG: Get Rust to 1st class support
    • Reach WG: Ship Reach
    • Memory WG: Investigate strategies to make larger projects deployable on T2, possibly as a 2.1 Tessel hardware

    Since working groups are new for the project, we’re rolling out these groups slowly. The Learning and Website WG’s are our pilots. See the working groups section in the Tessel Project readme to learn more and get involved.

    Please get involved! It is our hope that working groups make it easier for people to engage with specific facets of the Tessel Project.

    Updates from the Repos

    Tesselcamp also included lots of work time. This helped us release new versions of T2 CLI, firmware, docs, and our repos!

    We recommend you update CLI and firmware with npm i -g t2-cli; t2 update so you get the benefits of our latest work.

    CLI Update

    • The node-usb module has been moved to the Tessel organization. Thanks to Kevin Mehall for being its lead developer and maintainer!
    • We’ve updated its CI infrastructure to publish binaries for macOS and Windows for all current Node versions.
    • As a result, we were also able to publish a new version of the T2 CLI. You no longer have to run Node 4.x to talk to Tessel from the command line; any Node version 4.x, 5.x, or 6.x is supported.

    Here are the full release notes for T2 CLI 0.0.27 and 0.0.28.

    Note: Tessel 2 still runs Node 4.x as it’s the current LTS (long-term support) version. The next LTS release is coming up in October, and we expect to release Node 6.x on Tessel at that time. You can follow our progress in upgrading Tessel 2 for Node 6.x support, and help us design a release process for supporting new Node versions going forward.

    Firmware Update

    The version 0.0.14 release of the Tessel firmware includes a variety of stability improvements for USB and GPIO communications.

    • This error should be long gone!
    • A few Network API bugs were squashed as well, making the returned network information more consistent.
    • The Tessel.Port.close method was added to allow closing power to individual ports, i.e. tessel.port.A.close() will turn off power to Port A. One or both ports can be opened again using tessel.open('A') or tessel.open(). More control over the power to the ports means more energy efficient projects!

    The full release notes can be found here.

    Docs Updates

    From the many recent updates to the Tessel docs, the most notable are:

    • The Debugging section now includes more documentation about Tessel 2’s full tech stack and how to interface with the Linux filesystem. This reflects the philosophy that you should be able to hack Tessel on any level, not just through the API we expose. It also helps blur the line between Tessel “users” and Tessel “contributors”.
    • The Tutorials section has new documentation on Pulse Width Modulation: what it is, how to use it, and diagrams for experimentation. We hope to do more in this space with other signal protocols in the future – please post an issue on the T2 Docs repo if there’s some electrical concept you’d particularly like to see more examples of.

    There is always more to do in documentation. Check out some of the well-outlined starter issues if you want to help the community learn!

    Contributor-friendly repo updates

    We try to make our repos as friendly as possible. A couple of new additions include:

    • We’ve added Code of Conduct badges to our active repos. This is an efficient way to explicitly link every repo to our Code of Conduct, and serves as a visual reminder to all visitors that we’re a caring community.
    • Standardized labels across our active repos make it easier to get work done. In addition to our contribution-starter label (where we take special care to point you in the direction of relevant documentation), there’s a design label for graphic design on some repos, and a discussion label for issues seeking advice and considered opinions.

    That’s all for this week!

    Usually, we’d have some links to projects and talks here, but we don’t want to wear you out with this email!

    Please feel free to submit talks, blog posts, projects, and more to the next newsletter. In the meantime, see you online.

    With love,
    Everyone at the Tessel Project

    This Week in Tessel is where we highlight the latest news, projects, and events, from code, to community, to hardware manufacturing.

    #tessel #tesselcamp #open source #open governance #update #updates #twit #goals #working groups

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