Proposal to use GitHub instead of trac
|Reported by:||jonathan||Owned by:||cf-conventions@…|
Dear CF committee and all
I'm pleased to say that Tanya Reshel at PCMDI is making good progress with working through the tickets which had been accepted by the end of Jan, which we agreed would define CF1.7, and implementing them in the new AsciiDoc source of the CF document on GitHub, with some advice from Jeff Painter, David Hassell and me. Thank you, Tanya.
It's been suggested several times, and most recently by Rich Signell on the email list, that we should consider moving CF conventions discussions to GitHub. We agreed as a committee (recorded in cf-trac.llnl.gov/trac/ticket/146) to revisit this issue when we had more experience of managing the CF document on GitHub, so perhaps this is now the time to discuss it. The suggestion is to replace trac tickets, for discussions of changes to the convention, with GitHub issues; the email list, for more general discussion, not directed to agreeing a particular proposal, could continue as it is.
At the moment we have a system, maintained by Jeff, to synchronise the CF email list, maintained at NCAR, with an email distribution list for trac ticket updates, so that everyone receives both after subscribing to the email list. The present system in principle allows people to be on one but not the other, but in practice there is no-one who's chosen to do that, so it does not seem to be a requirement. I think it's important that everyone should be notified of conventions discussions, because otherwise not enough people will engage with them, since they won't know.
Jeff thinks it would be simple to forward all GitHub notifications from CF conventions discussions to the CF email list. People who don't want them can filter them out. Subscribers who are mentioned by GitHub name in an issue would receive two copies; that's a minor inconvenience, but if everyone is getting them anyway there's probably no need to mention anyone by name. Clearly this would be an easier system to maintain. There would probably be no need to have a list of subscribers to CF on GitHub; anyone with a GitHub account could open an issue.
trac is quite familiar to us now and has served our purpose well. GitHub is a bit more complicated because it can do more. GitHub is probably more popular now. Would GitHub be suitable for us, do you think?
It would have the advantage that, when there is text to discuss, the proposer could make a branch of the CF conventions document and edit it, to show exactly what is proposed. I do not think that it should be required to do it that way, though, because (a) it's not always the clearest way to see things, when they're scattered through several parts of the document, (b) it could be an obstacle to some proposers, who would prefer to write out their proposed changes in their postings to the issue. An editor would then still be needed to implement the changes, once agreed, in the document source.
If we decide to migrate, I think we should do it once CF1.7 is finalised, so that there are no agreed tickets to be migrated. We could then leave the trac system in place for reference, but not permit new tickets. Any existing active tickets could be allowed to come to a conclusion on trac.
Standard name proposals could also be done as GitHub issues, I suppose. They come from a much wider range of contributors than conventions proposals. Would GitHub be a barrier for proposers?