Phabricator

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Phabricator is a solid agile project manager and issue tracker, with a customizable workflow.

My Workflow

WORKFLOW Description
Workflow columns Backlog => In Progress There is a third column Fixed that can be shown, it's nice to move Resolved items there on occasion to clean up the board.
Create a task Click dropdown on Backlog, select Create Task. Or you can click the large + in the top-right toolbar, select Create Task, and assign the correct Project in the tags box.
Start a task Drag it from Backlog to In Progress. Drop above an existing task so the priority will be automatically set. If this is not possible, you need to manually change Priority to High so that the CI dashboard shows the task.
Finish a task Change Status to Resolved. This will hide the task on the CI dashboard. It will also immediately remove the task from the board if you are only showing Open statuses. You can also drag the task from In Progress to Fixed; this has no real effect on the task, but will keep your board better organized.


Tips

If you are viewing a board by priority, and drag, the dropped task will have its priority automatically adjusted to fit in drag zone. This works great if you can drag a new item from Backlog to a spot above an existing In Progress item.

I changed the default task priority from "Needs Triage" (90) to "Normal" (50) to make my flow simpler. I don't need someone else to set the initial priority.

Natural and By-priority sorting BOTH maintain their specific orders. Fucking weird. NEVER USE NATURAL. Ever. You have to set sort by priority and save as default for new boards.

Wikipedia is done with Phabricator and is a great resource, for example their project management guidelines.

I updated at the beginning of 2018 and Epriestley has added an action to move items to different "columns" through the UI. This was a major missing piece before on mobile, as drag-and-drop is not supported there.

Configure

You can customize the site banner now through the ui - yay thanks epriestley!

Navigate via Config > Core settings > User interface.

Upgrade

Process:

  • Stop phabricator (I usually ignore this step)
# stop apache
m@bitpost cd development/phabricator/phabricator
bin/phd stop
  • Update code
m@bitpost cd 
cd development/phabricator/libphutil
git checkout master && git pull
git checkout willcodeforcoffee && git rebase -i master
cd ../arcanist
git checkout master && git pull
git checkout willcodeforcoffee && git rebase -i master
cd ../phabricator
git checkout master && git pull
git checkout willcodeforcoffee && git rebase -i master
  • Upgrade the mysql schema
cd development/phabricator/phabricator
bin/storage upgrade
  • Restart phabricator
# restart apache
cd development/phabricator/phabricator
bin/phd start

Install

Installing Phabricator is as simple as any other LAMP installation. We grabbed the three primary git repos, here:

m@bitpost cd development/phabricator
git clone https://github.com/phacility/libphutil.git
git clone https://github.com/phacility/arcanist.git
git clone https://github.com/phacility/phabricator.git

Then set up an alias and directory in apache. Then a mysql user + db. Browse to the url to finish. Easy peasy. Read on for further updates over time.

After putting up haproxy as the front end, I needed to add a "preamble" script to confirm we were actually using https through haproxy:

🌵 m@bitpost  [~/development/phabricator/phabricator/support] ls preamble.php 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 m m 78 Feb 17 15:03 preamble.php -> /home/m/development/config/bitpost/home/m/development/phabricator/preamble.php

Over time I migrated to a better git layout, using a [willcodeforcoffee] branch off master for my installation. Master can be updated at any time. I can rebase my branch to it on occasion. The only change so far has been:

libphutil/.arcconfig
arcanist/.arcconfig
phabricator/.arcconfig
phabricator/support/preamble.php (only in my repo)

Note that I have a COPY of these in my config repo:

 ls ~/development/config/bitpost/home/m/development/phabricator/
 -rw-r--r-- 1 m m   78 Aug  6  2016 .arcconfig
 -rw-r--r-- 1 m m   36 Feb 17 15:01 preamble.php
 -rw-r--r-- 1 m m  375 Apr 29  2016 readme.txt 

Not ideal, but git hates symlinks so I can't connect the repos that way. Try to remember to keep the copy up to date on any change.

  • Notes on failed attempt to change url

WARNING! No matter what I did, I couldn't get arcanist (or curl) to accept a subdomain's (agile.bitpost.com) CA certs. Browsers were fine. Shrug. Using a full domain worked fine. Maybe I'll revisit some time, but for now it's too much pain, move on.

  1. Stop and reconfigure apache, restart
  2. NOTE: currently we are using a 5-domain cert that includes bitpost.com, agile., www., ssl., mail.
  3. Update phabricator config - this is different than and in addition to .arcconfig files!
phabricator/ $ ./bin/config set phabricator.base-uri 'https://agile.bitpost.com/'
  1. Update ~/development/config/bitpost/home/m/development/phabricator/.arcconfig
  2. And make sure that the three phab folders (phabricator, arcanist, libphutil) point to it
  3. You MAY need to run through some of the API steps again, below

API

The Phabricator API can be used to extract a query of tasks. You need to get a (permanent) auth certificate from arcanist:

m@bitpost cd development/phabricator/arcanist
bin/arc set-config default https://abettersoftware.org/
emacs .arcconfig # and set phabricator.uri to the same
emacs ../phabricator/.arcconfig # and set phabricator.uri to the same
bin/arc install-certificate

That will tell you to browse here. You'll get an "API Token" once you log in, eg cli-5sdfksomkhgvasdlfkwfelk or whatever (NOT that one).

Paste API Token from that page: cli-5fxsvztkshgvtc7ssdf
Writing ~/.arcrc...
SUCCESS!  API Token installed.

It then creates ~/.arcrc with the token, which is used by subsequent arc calls, like this:

Now you can use that in the API calls to authenticate, like this:

curl https://abettersoftware.org/api/maniphest.query -d api.token=cli-5fxsvztksdfsomkhgvczjtcdts 

Pretty easy to use once you have the initial bullshit done. It certainly isn't secure to send over the wire though. The only viable solution is to use it server-side. See bitpost.com/ci.php code for details on using good old php to get the job done.

View active tokens here:

https://abettersoftware.org/settings/panel/apitokens/


Alternatives

If phabricator becomes heavy to maintain or lacking in features, consider these: