Mondrian, Just the First Internal Google Tool Be Released Via App Engine?

Guido van Rossum, creator of Python and Google employee, has released a version of the internal Google code-checking tool Mondrian via the Python mailing list (text after the jump). The new app is called Code Review and was built with almost all new code on the Django framework. Code Review uses a lot of the same concepts and infrastructure that Mondrian does including Big Table.

There are differences. Code Review uses the open source software control system Subversion (also the backend of Google Code) whereas Mondrian works with Perforce, the commercial tool used internally at Google. Code Review will eventually be made open source.

Mondrian first became public at a Google Tech Talk. At the time Niall Kennedy wrote up a great summary of the talk.

It’s great that Guido is releasing this and that Google is letting him. I am impressed. Could AppEngine be the way that Google releases its most useful internal tools? I’ve talked to several Google employees about the amount of code Google open sources and it’s always less than they would like. The problem they face is that the code is tied to Google infrastructure and the hours required to de-couple it make the projects a non-starter.

Previous to the release of App Engine (and thus the exposure of Big Table) Code Review would have been one of those non-starters. Since he was able to rely on the Big Table implementation in App Engine the job became a lot easier. What other tools of Google’s would you want (any of these)? I wonder if anything new will come out in time for Google I/O.

(via Reddit Programming)

An excerpt from the mail sent by Guido:

Some of you may have seen a video recorded in November 2006 where I
showed off Mondrian, a code review tool that I was developing for
Google (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMql3Di4Kgc). I’ve always hoped
that I could release Mondrian as open source, but it was not to be:
due to its popularity inside Google, it became more and more tied to
proprietary Google infrastructure like Bigtable, and it remained
limited to Perforce, the commercial revision control system most used
at Google.

What I’m announcing now is the next best thing: an code review tool
for use with Subversion, inspired by Mondrian and (soon to be)
released as open source. Some of the code is even directly derived
from Mondrian. Most of the code is new though, written using Django
and running on Google App Engine.

I’m inviting the Python developer community to try out the tool on the
web for code reviews. I’ve added a few code reviews already, but I’m
hoping that more developers will upload at least one patch for review
and invite a reviewer to try it out.

To try it out, go here:

http://codereview.appspot.com

Please use the Help link in the top right to read more on how to use
the app. Please sign in using your Google Account (either a Gmail
address or a non-Gmail address registered with Google) to interact
more with the app (you need to be signed in to create new issues and
to add comments to existing issues).

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  • Yoyo Mama

    Cool. Another screwed up name from the people who named a programming language after a comedy show, or is it a snake. Who knows. But this is for sure. Choosing “mondrian” sucks, since there is already an extremely popular open source project under that name. But who cares. Apparently not certain socially disfunctional geeks.

  • http://www.rhonabwy.com/wp/ Joe Heck

    It’s worth noting that http://review-board.org/ is an open source code review application that supports Subversion, CVS, Perforce, Mercurial, and a growing list of other SCM’s. If you’re looking for a code review tool like this to use yourself, it is really very good.

  • Observer

    “Choosing “mondrian” sucks, since there is already an extremely popular open source project under that name. But who cares.”

    Looks like being able to read is no requirement for posting on this site. “Mondrian” is an internal project name, “Code Review” is the name of the released software.

    “Apparently not certain socially disfunctional geeks.”

    Well, at least very few geeks are dumb as bricks, unlike yourself. I’m impressed that you managed to type in the captcha, but maybe your mama helped you with that.

  • http://paulmwatson.com/journal/ Paul M. Watson

    And back to the article…

    Nice one Google and Guido. Interesting to see if the various efforts to allow GAE apps to run on other platforms (e.g. EC2) will work in this case. I know my employers wouldn’t be keen using a hosted code review tool, they’d want it on the internal network.

  • http://www.somebits.com/weblog/ Nelson

    I think it’s fantastic that Google’s gone through the extra effort to get this code review tool out there to the world.

  • MattMan

    Actually, there is a Ruby IDE, a Java OLAP server and some sort of “Internet Scripting Language” based on .Net, all using the Mondrian name. I’m not sure which of these is the “extremely popular open source project”, but it does seem to be a heavily used name. I know that they have released it as CodeReview, but my guess is that it will continue to be referred to as Mondrian for some time (viz the name of this post). It does seem unfortunate that they chose that name, I’m assuming that Guido is a particular fan of Piet Mondrian, the abstract artist (him being Dutch and all).

  • David Kirlin

    I think this is a better link to the app: http://code.google.com/p/rietveld/

    There is a wiki and the source download there.

  • http://elexpress.de elexpress

    Nice. Another screwed up name from the people who named a programming language after a comedy show, or is it a snake.