** UPDATE: All Rainy related stuff can be found in a Wiki at http://dynalon.github.io/Rainy – See the NEWS section there for latest release and feature information **
It’s been a while since I blogged about me hacking on Rainy, a note synchronisation/cloud server for using with Tomboy and drop-in replacement for the somewhat unmaintained Snowy. But though not blogging, development went further and I came up with a releasable first version, that I invite everyone to try out (source & binary download links are at the bottom of this post).
Attention: Canonical has announced removal of the public note synchronization service offered with UbuntuOne for around end of February, so now would be the perfect time to help testing and report bugs, so that Rainy can be shipped as a stable and mature, free alternative for all Tomboy (and Tomdroid) users!
Notes are usually very personal, and not everyone feels comfortable storing them in the cloud, which is IMHO why Tomboy is still a good competitor to Evernote and alike. This is why I want the deployment/installation of Rainy to be easy and hassle-free as much as possible, so that everyone can setup his own instance on his own private home or cloud server.
That is why I am so happy I found the IL-Repack project on GitHub, which enables me to link all required assemblies (including those from the System.* namespace) together with my own code into a single, dependency-free CIL executable (“Rainy.exe”), which is less than 900kb of size. You will still need the mono runtime installed, but that is nothing difficult to do, a simple “apt-get install mono-complete” or “zypper install mono-complete” should do the trick on Ubuntu/Debian or openSUSE. If you are running Tomboy, you are already running mono, so no need to install anything!
This Rainy.exe is the preferred deployment target, as it runs on all system with mono available. The intermediate code it is compiled to, makes a binary deployment quite easy, and there is not much need for a user to compile from source. I’ve tested it on Linux & Mac, and it also runs on Windows if you (a) use mono (since we need Mono.Data.Sqlite) and (b) install a feasible native sqlite3.dll.
Building the packed executable is already part of the Makefile (“make pack” ), so feel free to roll your own blobs from the source code.
What else is new?
Compared to the initial state that I had come up within the first two weeks, there are some major changes:
- Introduction of sqlite3 as backend, which replaces the basic JSON plain-file which lacked scalability and safe-transactions
- Using ServiceStack.OrmLite as an OR mapper, so that sqlite can be easily replaced by mysql/postgres/ms-sql in the near future
- Two backends can be configured to use:
- full sqlite, storing all notes and OAuth metadata into a single “rainy.db” sqlite3 file. Makes backups very easy, as only the “rainy.db” file needs to be backuped.
- the XML backend that comes with tomboy-library, which stores each note in readable, plain XML files. This is perfect for small installations, as notes stay readable in any text editor and it is easy to write 3rd party Apps. However the OAuth metadata is still stored in a sqlite database when using this backend.
- Lots of additional unit tests, modelling different synchronization scenarios
How stable is it?
This is actually the very first release of Rainy, as I’ve only maintained a source tree on GitHub. I’ve tagged it “0.1”, and to sum up the stability and maturity: I’ve tested it on my private machines, using Tomboy on two different Ubuntu 12.04 and latest Tomdroid (0.7.2). Tomboy works good, I did not lose any notes in my testing, nor did I encounter any crashes. Tomdroid has some bugs, but if you start with a note and hit refresh a few times upon setup, you will get to a point where syncing works without any noticeable flaws, at least to the extend I’ve tested (which isn’t that big, I have to admit). But nevertheless: Be warned that this is beta quality software, and always do backups before testing.
Public open beta server
I own a small virtual server instance I installed Rainy upon, which I am hereby offering as a testing playground to the public. While Rainy still lacks HTTPS support, (though this can be worked around through setting up a secure nginx reverse proxy, which I will blog about if there is demand), Tomboy does not yet have client-side note encryption, so I do not even start to pretend that this public instance is a secure cloud space. It is just not. I provide it for testing and experimentation only. Since it is not meant to be private, I have created 50 public username / password combinations that can be used by everyone. If you randomly pick one for testing, there is a good chance you won’t be disturbed by anybody else while testing🙂
Downloads & Docs
The single Rainy.exe binary releases can be found at http://rainy.notesync.org/release/