phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

General discussion of development ideas and the approaches taken in the 3.x branch of phpBB. The next feature release of phpBB 3 will be 3.2/Rhea followed by 3.3.
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DavidIQ
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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by DavidIQ » Thu May 31, 2012 2:49 pm

Unknown Bliss wrote:
XTF wrote:Any plans to release 3.1 this year? It's like development progress has grinded to a halt.
How does https://github.com/phpbb/phpbb3/pulls and https://github.com/phpbb/phpbb3/commits/develop suggest development grinding to a halt? If anything I'd say the amount of development in recent months has grown.
^ this...
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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by XTF » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:11 pm

Unknown Bliss wrote:
XTF wrote:Any plans to release 3.1 this year? It's like development progress has grinded to a halt.
How does https://github.com/phpbb/phpbb3/pulls and https://github.com/phpbb/phpbb3/commits/develop suggest development grinding to a halt? If anything I'd say the amount of development in recent months has grown.
That's great, but the end user doesn't benefit until it gets released. And the last major release was more than 4 years ago. That's what I meant with progress.

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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by DavidIQ » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:51 pm

That would be the end result, not progress...
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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by XTF » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:29 pm

It doesn't really matter what you call it. So: Any plans to release 3.1 this year?

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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by imkingdavid » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:53 pm

XTF wrote:It doesn't really matter what you call it. So: Any plans to release 3.1 this year?
You won't like this, but we plan to release it when it's ready. I would love to say that yes, it will be this year. But that all depends on whether or not the things we are hoping to complete get done by then. Please don't think that I wouldn't like to see phpBB 3.1 done sooner than later. I would love it if we could all work all day, every day, and get the release out. But the reality is that this takes time; each feature goes through the following phases, often repeating some as it goes: discussion/design, development, testing, merge. Each of those (except, perhaps merge, although that includes final testing) takes time.

(To note: the following is not meant to excuse the slow development speed, but rather to explain the facts of why it is how it is, as I see it.)
Here's the deal: development speed will not change with the enforcement of a deadline. The bottom line is that while we (developers) try to dedicate as much time as we can to progress on the next version, we are ultimately restricted by the time we have to spend on other things (e.g. paid work/our jobs, family/personal life, other projects we may help with, etc.). A deadline will cause one of two things: 1) rushed, broken, and low-quality software that only mostly works, or 2) we miss the deadline because we don't have everything ready on time.

One of the issues that I think has caused 3.1 to take such a long time, aside from the availability problem outlined above, is the release strategy. From what I can remember, when the development team originally sat down to get 3.1 started, they said "let's compile a list of features and not release until all of these features are completely done". In my opinion, that kind of development strategy is flawed. Yes, it is necessary when you are initially designing the software from the beginning to lay out what features you want and decide what is needed for inclusion in the first release, but for subsequent feature releases, if you wait for all X number of features to be done, it is going to (as you can see) take a long time.

A better release strategy, in my opinion, is a "Let's release every X months, assuming there have been enough new changes to justify a feature release. Whatever is done is included; everything else is pushed back." In other words, instead of trying to include everything and the kitchen sink, we would only include what is ready. So it's more of a loose time-based release than a feature-based release. Let's say we just released a feature release and I finish feature A. That is put into the deveopment branch for the next feature release. I start on feature B and if I finish by the time the next release comes, it is included along with feature A. Otherwise, we wait until the next release for it.

The current development strategy is something of a hybrid of the two; there are a few things that must be done before a release, but the rest is just whatever makes it. If you have been around for a little while, you may have noticed the reorganization of the forums; we had 3.1 RFCs and 3.2 RFCs separated. However, because we are now including whatever is done when we release, rather than labeling a feature with a specific version number, that organization is not optimal (it resulted in having to move topics from the 3.2 RFC forum to the 3.1 RFC forum upon completion).
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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by XTF » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:48 pm

I actually like your answer and thank you for it.

What's stopping you from changing the 3.1 release strategy to your better release strategy? Move all unmerged RFCs to 3.2 and get 3.1 ready for release.

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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by imkingdavid » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:18 pm

XTF wrote:I actually like your answer and thank you for it.
You're quite welcome.
XTF wrote:What's stopping you from changing the 3.1 release strategy to your better release strategy?
1) I'm not in charge of release so it's not my call. I do believe I brought this up before somewhere, but can't remember when/where or the outcome of the conversation.
2) As I mentioned, we sort of have adopted a hybrid of the two. Because the Extensions system is so important, we can't just implement part of it and not the rest. As it is, we have the basic framework for extensions merged, but there are a few other components that must be completed before we can actually release.
3) It is possible that, following the 3.1 release, we may consider adopting the release strategy I mentioned, or similar, but as I said in point #1, it's not up to me, so there will need to be further discussion about it, and that probably won't occur until after 3.1 is released.

As far as I know, 3.1 will be ready once all of the extensions-related components are merged and tested extensively. From what I can remember, what we are waiting on are events (the basic framework is done but there is more to be merged) and migrations (i'm actually not to sure about the status of this; basically this is a new/easier way for extensions to track database changes across versions, as I understand it) and perhaps a couple of other smaller things.
XTF wrote:Move all unmerged RFCs to 3.2 and get 3.1 ready for release.
We are trying to focus mainly on the things I just outlined, but if someone (developer or non-developer) submits a patch for an RFC that isn't necessarily needed for 3.1 but would otherwise be accepted, we're not going to turn it down. As long as we're still working on other stuff, we will continue to merge patches that we deem appropriate instead of making them sit and wait until 3.2.
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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by Oleg » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:08 pm

XTF wrote: What's stopping you from changing the 3.1 release strategy to your better release strategy?
The consensus of the development team was that releasing 3.1 without extensions was not worth the effort.

It would be nice if all developers prioritized getting extensions finished above other work, but so far such a thing has not happened.

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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by DavidIQ » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:26 am

XTF wrote:It doesn't really matter what you call it. So: Any plans to release 3.1 this year?
It sure does matter what you call it. No progress means nothing at all is being done, which is what you suggested. As you can see however that is far from the truth. 3.1 work is actively being done and really the biggest holdback from doing a Beta is the extensions, as has been mentioned already. This board uses 3.1 so you could realistically download 3.1 from github right now and install on a test location.
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Re: phpBB 3.1 Information and Status

Post by XTF » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:32 pm

Oleg wrote:
XTF wrote: What's stopping you from changing the 3.1 release strategy to your better release strategy?
The consensus of the development team was that releasing 3.1 without extensions was not worth the effort.

It would be nice if all developers prioritized getting extensions finished above other work, but so far such a thing has not happened.
Does 3.1 contain no worthwhile improvements over 3.0 besides the extensions support?
If extensions is still a lot of work you might want to (re)consider moving it to 3.2 so users can get their hands on the other improvements.

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