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Separating the women from the girls

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The topic of this post is something I have been wanting to do since I published version 0.3 of AequilibraE, back on August 2016: Separating the aequilibrae python library (the computational engine that underlines most of the AequilibraE procedures) from the GUI part of the software (which is the QGIS interface). The goal?  Being able to “pip install” AequilibraE and script models in any python (3) environment.

Although the desire to do this change comes from quite a while back, I have only known acquired the knowledge and had the energy to implement this change (and the help of the wonderful Yu-Chu), which comes in the wake of the conversion of AequilibraE into QGIS 3.

The migration of AequilibraE to Python 3 and QGIS 3 will not bring great new features to regular users, but a number of important upgrades are being done to the software, all which are not particularly simple for a non-software developer like me.  These changes are:

  • Comprehensive set of integration tests covering 77% (so far) of the code in AequilibraE
  • Continuous integration structure for AequilibraE, guaranteeing that only code that passes all tests will be merged (only for Ubuntu on Travis-CI so far)
  • Replacement of the manual logging scheme with the Python logging module

From a repository perspective, a couple of changes were required.  There is a new repository to manage, which contains just the Python library, and the original repository, which was renamed and now contains just the QGIS interface and includes the aequilibrae library as a submodule and main computational engine (NumPy, SciPy, and others are also used as computational engines for some algorithms).

The next steps are clear, and I would appreciate any comments and/or help on any of these items:

  • Setup of a more comprehensive continuous integration infrastructure (Mac and Windows)
  • Setup of automatic builds of Python wheels within the continuous integration infrastructure
  • Improve the documentation of the AequilibraE library and create API automatic documentation
  • Finalize the migration of AequilibraE into QGIS 3 and release it
  • Make the final release of AequilibraE for QGIS 2 (includes GTFS importer)
  • Make the first release of AequilibraE for QGIS 3
  • Make AequilibraE pip-installable

 

An (atypical) aside:

While thinking of what this change meant for the AequilibraE project and its users, the expression separating the men from the boys came to mind. However, I decided to switch it to “separating the women from the girls” in reference to the important times we live in western culture ( I also started writing this post about 6 months ago, right before I postponed this undertaking). After all, we should look above our monitors every once in a while and understand and criticize the environment we live in.