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From Mike Reinstein <reinstein.m...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: State of command-line tools
Date Wed, 19 Sep 2012 15:16:16 GMT
> Still, I would also appreciate a formal update

I'm not sure how to make this formal, but let me outline what I've learned
so far. I'm very new to the cordova dev community so if I muck up part of
this, someone chime and correct me. :)

This may get kind of long but I think it will give a high level overview of
the state of things, who's involved, what we're working on, etc. One thing
to note: as it's been pointed out there are a lot of people working on
this, and it's become a bit fragmented. As a result there's a metric ton of
links that I could point you at but I wont because you'd tear your hair out
trying to follow them all, so I'll give you a straight up history. If you
have more questions follow up and I'll point you at the right places.

Andrew Lunny seems to have started most of this work. He's developed a
plugin specification, a 1st attempt at defining a package format that
plugins will adhere to. It's essentially a directory organized in a certain
way, containing a plugin.xml with the bulk of the setup directives. Andrew
also created a tool called *pluginstall* that supports this plugin format
and supports adding plugins on android and ios.  He created this because
he's primarily responsible for phonegap build at his day job, the web
service that allow people to upload an archive and have it build remotely,
without requiring the hassle of local dev environments being set up.

So pluginstall has been pulled into cordova command line tools as a low
level dependency. When the cordova cli does plugin related stuff, it calls
this tool in the background to handle adding plugins.

Here is where it gets complicated. :) Andrew built pluginstall, and it
primarily exists to support phonegap build. He has no problem with it being
used for cordova as part of our toolsuite, but because his primary concern
is building/maintaining the pg build site that takes priority. Currently
he's also just getting back from vacay, and won't be working on pluginsall
or it's spec for a few weeks because he's also got an upcoming release of
phonegap build that takes priority. There are a number of things that need
to be changed in order to build out a more robust cli toolset on our side.
Just off the top of my head:
* support for platforms besides ios and android
* support for OSes besides Mac OS X (the cli tools only run on mac for now)
* better/more tests
* someday we will probably want to have a repo so people can
programmatically install plugins similar to npm

Those are just the high level tasks, as you can imagine the devil is in the
details and there are 7.8 trillion sub tasks.

What I've found to be most challenging though, is the dev environment and
fragmentation. There are 4-6 people involved in the development of this
tool, with people working in different directions though with a shared
goal. My first several weeks on this team have largely been playing
detective, interrogating everyone that seems to have some involvement in
the plugin feature, looking at docs, and discovering what repos have what
changes, and the *WHY *behind them. I have like 16 repos on github that I'm
trying to keep track of that are very similar but differnet. I'm willling
to bet even as I'm writing this other people have chimed in on the plugin
topic in this dev thread. :)

So that being said, I'm not picking on anyone, we're making good progress.
But it's definitely frustrating how fragmented and unorganized the work for
it is. What I'm trying to consolidate the code everyone is working on into
one repo. I'm tracking the work of @imhotep, @wildabeast, @alunny, @filmaj
on github, and trying to pull their work into my codebase (while taming the
frankenstein aspects of bolting together contributions from 5 people.)  My
hope is that in the next week or so, my code will provide everyone's
contributions in one place, while at the same time trying to get more
coordination on how we work and what we're doing so we're not trampling
each other. That's  my goal anyway. : /

Anyway, I hope this has been helpful. The biggest challenge is getting more
organized and not repeating ourselves. I've found from other projects that
communication tends to be the biggest stumbling block, not the work itself.
And that experience was with day job, paid full time developers. In this
open source situation it's like 3X more disconnected. :)

-Mike



On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM, Brian LeRoux <b@brian.io> wrote:

> you can also give `npm install -g cordova` a go to see where its at
>
> definitely alpha but super promising. =)
>
>
> On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 4:27 PM, Michal Mocny <mmocny@chromium.org> wrote:
> > Take a look at the "plugin tooling/specification" thread, and Mike
> > Reinstein has been digging around here lately.
> >
> > I think also they may have had an irc chat recently on this topic,
> perhaps
> > they can report if there were any interesting conclusions.
> >
> > Still, I would also appreciate a formal update to see how we can all help
> > out.
> >
> > -Michal
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM, Braden Shepherdson <
> braden@chromium.org>wrote:
> >
> >> I'm wondering about the state of the command-line tools for Cordova.
> >>
> >> Are the current plans and progress so far documented anywhere? If not,
> >> could someone give an update here?
> >>
> >> I'm interested in helping out with that effort, but it's hard to know
> where
> >> to start. I understand it had fragmented into several different
> >> repositories but that someone was working on consolidating it again.
> >>
> >> Any information would be welcome.
> >>
> >> Braden
> >>
>

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