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concerns about issue #1682

From: <kfogel_at_collab.net>
Date: 2004-01-08 21:33:22 CET

(Poor MBK, it seems he's always producing patches based on discussion,
and then people are realizing concerns afterwards and vetoing them!)

I've vetoed issue #1682 for 1.0, at least while we discuss. I don't
think it's compelling for 1.0. Context:

   * Issue #1682
     'svn blame' should adjust to max username width
     Justification: Improved blame display, API change, low risk.
     Notes: bindings would need updating
     Votes:
      +1: mbk
      -1: kfogel (see mailing list thread foo, meaning, I'll put the
            URL and Message-ID here as soon as I've got them. :-) )

Here are the reasons I'm against it (and MBK, sorry I didn't manage to
crystallize these concerns earlier):

We don't absolutely *need* this enhancement right now. 'svn blame' is
still very useful without this change; this is an edge-case thing.

Furthermore, the patch is not really trivial. In the issue, MBK calls
the patch "simple", but it doesn't look very simple to me. It's a
medium-sized code change -- admittedly, it's partly rearrangement, but
it's also an API change. And there would need to be another bindings
change to compensate, which we don't have a patch for yet.

For me, this issue is kind of the deciding moment in the API stability
question.

If you believe (as I do) that we are *bound* to discover more API
issues after we release 1.0 anyway, and that they will necessitate an
API-changing release sooner rather than later anyway, then this patch
should be left out of 1.0.

On the other hand, if you think that we've got all the API issues
nailed down as part of this stabilization process, then including this
patch in 1.0 makes sense. I think that would be waaaay optimistic,
though. After all, we discovered this API change because of a
feature/enhancement we wanted to implement. "Want to adjust blame
output to usernames? Ah, just need this little API tweak..."

But surely, we're going to discover even more things like that *after*
we release 1.0, when the number of users and bindings-users increases
dramatically. Some of these future discoveries will be more serious
than this issue, too.

If we keep enslaving ourselves to the most recent API concern we
happen to have thought of, how will we ever reach 1.0? We need to
draw a line; although there is some fuzziness, I think this
enhancement comes down on the other side of that ilne.

Oh, and indepently of the API question:

This is also a UI change. Here is an IRC conversation ghudson and I
had, regarding the hastiness with which we settled this new UI:

ghudson: I'm not bullish on #1682, because I'm not sure it's
         consistent with what we do elsewhere, and it seems a bit late
         to be making a snap UI decision like that. Also, it doesn't
         strike me as the cleanest API.

ghudson: (Like, it feels like an API designed to allow exactly one
         kind of presentation, which we may or may not settle on,
         rather than something generally useful.)

kfogel: ghudson: exactly. this probably needs more discussion. And,
         I *do* think its okay to change the blame UI later. Some
         people will write parsers for fixed-width blame output, and
         they'll get burned, but we can document that people shouldn't
         count on it, and that will save at least some of them from
         future pain.

In other words, this whole enhancement (both UI and API) needs more
discussion. We should give ourselves enough leisure to have that
discussion -- and that means not trying to squeeze this into 1.0.

-Karl

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Received on Thu Jan 8 22:27:28 2004

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