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From: Christian Couder <>
To: "Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason" <>
Cc: Marc Branchaud <>,
	Junio C Hamano <>, Git <>
Subject: Re: RFC: Supporting .git/hooks/$NAME.d/* && /etc/git/hooks/$NAME.d/*
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2016 19:52:11 +0200
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 6:09 PM, Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
<> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 3:40 PM, Marc Branchaud <> wrote:
>> On 2016-04-26 06:58 AM, Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason wrote:
>>> Makes sense to have an experimental.* config tree for git for stuff like this.
>> I disagree.
>> * If the point is to express some kind of warning to users, I think the
>> community has been much better served by leaving experimental settings
>> undocumented (or documented only in unmerged topic branches).

There are features considered experimental that are documented, like
--split-index in `git update-index` and `git interpret-trailers`.

As far as I know the possible reasons they are considered experimental are:

- in the release notes they were described as "experimental",
- they are not considered complete, because of missing features,
- they might not be useful as is,
- they might be buggy in the real world.

>> It feels like
>> an experimental.* tree is a doorway to putting experimental features in
>> official releases, which seems odd considering that (IMHO) git has so far
>> done very well with the carefully-planned-out integration of all sorts of
>> features.

Some people have been happily experimenting with or even using some of
the experimental features, like the ones I am talking about above.

>> * Part of the experiment is coming up with appropriate configuration knobs,
>> including where those knobs should live.

I agree that it can be difficult to find the right knobs for any new feature.

>> Often such considerations lead to a
>> better implementation for the feature.  Dumping things into an experimental.*
>> tree would merely postpone that part of the feature's design.

I am not so sure about this. For example `git update-index
--untracked-cache` used to be considered experimental, but it
definitely had knobs that were not right, so its UI has been reworked

Maybe if it had first been created with an UI in an experimental.*
config tree, rather than only options to `git update-index` it would
have been an easier transition.

>> * Such a tree creates a flag day when the experimental feature eventually
>> becomes a "real" feature. That'll annoy any early adopters. Sure, they
>> *should* be prepared to deal with config tree bike-shedding, but still that
>> extra churn seems unnecessary.

Not sure about that. New config options outside the experimental.*
config tree could always take over config options in the
experimental.* config tree, as if they appear, it means that the user
is aware that they are the new way to configure the feature. Then the
cost of supporting both the old options in the experimental.* config
tree and the new ones outside should be very small, especially if
there are not many changes between the two set of options.

If there are a lot of changes between these two sets, it means that we
were probably right to have the old ones in the experimental.* config
tree. And in the worst case, which should hardly ever happen, we can
probably afford to just emit warnings saying "old 'experimental.XXXX'
config option is not supported anymore, please use YYYY config option
instead" and just ignore the 'experimental.XXXX' config option.

> By "stuff like this", yeah I did mean, and I assume Junio means,
> putting "experimental" features in official releases.
> E.g. perl does this, if you type "perldoc experimental" on a Linux box
> you'll get the documentation.
> Basically you can look at patches to a project on a spectrum of:
>  1. You hacked something up locally
>  2. It's in someone's *.git repo as a POC
>  3. It's a third-party patch series used by a bunch of people
>  4. In an official release but documented as experimental
>  5. In an official release as a first-rate feature

Yeah, and it seems to me that Git also has:

4.5. In an official release, documented, but scarcely documented as experimental

and in fact more stuff under 4.5. than under 4.

And in Git there is also the notion of porcelain vs plumbing, where
porcelain output can more easily be changed a bit than plumbing

> Something like an experimental.WHATEVER=bool flag provides #4.
> I think aside from this feature just leaving these things undocumented
> really provides the worst of both worlds.

Yeah I agree. Undocumented stuff in Git is already for stuff that we
don't want people to use.

> Now you have some feature that's undocumented *because* you're not
> sure about it, but you can't ever be sure about it unless people
> actually use it, and if it's not documented at all effectively it's as
> visible as some third-party patch series. I.e. only people really
> involved in the project will ever use it.
> Which is why perl has the "experimental" subsystem, it allows for
> playing around with features the maintainers aren't quite sure about
> in official releases, and the users know they're opting in to trying
> something unstable that may go away or have its semantics changed from
> under them.

An "experimental" subsystem is perhaps overkill for Git though.

  reply	other threads:[~2016-04-26 17:52 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 8+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2016-04-22 23:51 Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
2016-04-25 17:45 ` Junio C Hamano
2016-04-26 10:58   ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
2016-04-26 13:40     ` Marc Branchaud
2016-04-26 16:09       ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
2016-04-26 17:52         ` Christian Couder [this message]
2016-04-26 21:09         ` Marc Branchaud
2016-04-26 21:52     ` Junio C Hamano

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