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From Ross Gardler <rgard...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [RT] cost of smooth migration and/or backward compatibility (was Re: [PROPOSAL] Plugin and themes naming convention)
Date Sun, 12 Feb 2006 14:28:32 GMT
Ferdinand Soethe wrote:
> Ross Gardler wrote:
> 
> 
>>It will cause problems for users having to change their local installs.
>>This kind of thing annoys and upsets users. We would have to provide an
>>alias facility for existing names.
> 
> 
> Aren't we going a bit too far in our attempts to provide a smooth
> transition?

Possibly, lets consider...

> Is it really asked too much to follow a list of well
> documented changes like adjusting plugin names?

No, but the reality is that people do not follow a simple list of 
instructions, they ask questions and take our time up, or worse still, 
they move away from Forrest because it is too much work.

> Different story if we were talking about effects like upgrading early
> Firefox versions. It _really_ made me mad how at some point each
> upgrade would force you to reinstall all of your extensions and
> reconfigure everything by hand.

Well, that is *exactly* what would happen if we changed plugin names. 
forest.properties would have to be updated and plugins would have to be 
downloaded and installed again (not always done automatically, depends 
on users set-up).

  > And compare this to other side effects our recent developments have had
> or will have. Not saying that they are wrong (!), but consider that the
> changes planned or already done will invalidate a good part of people's
> knowledge of how Forrest works. And the time it well take them to
> learn about 0.8.

0.7 sites will run (almost) unchanged in 0.8 This is what we are trying 
to achieve. There is no *requirement* for users to use the new features, 
they can stick with the old methods if they like.

The right way, IMHO, is to deprecate old functionality to provide a 
smooth migration from one version to the next rather than to force users 
to learn a whole bunch of new things in order to upgrade.

Of course, sometimes this does not make sense, we need to weigh up each 
individual cases on its own merits.

> I'd rather spend time on providing a smooth transition of user's
> knowledge about Forrest than worry about update mechanisms for such
> minor changes (or not make those changes for that reason).

It's a balance. We need a smooth transition of users from one version to 
the next, otherwise they will never bother transfer their knowledge, 
they will simply move.

It is trivial to either write an alias facility for the few plugins we 
already have, or to write a script to update existing forrest.properties 
files. In fact it will take less time for one individual to do than for 
the community (as a collective) to answer the resulting user queries.

Therefore, in my opinion asking the users to do it only causes 
unnecessary difficulty in upgrading for them. So in this case (and only 
this case) my conclusion is that either we do not change the names, or 
we change them and provide an upgrade script. Which we do depends on the 
merits of changing the names.

Ross

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