Bukkit Development: Back on Track and Full Steam Ahead!

Discussion in 'Bukkit News' started by EvilSeph, Jun 14, 2012.

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    This announcement is mostly for the developers in our community as it provides an explanation for why we have been seeing little to no activity with the project and why pull requests have not been handled within a reasonable amount of time.

    As most of you may or may not know, we have been under a code freeze for the last two months or so to focus on improving the level of performance people were seeing from our product. Believe me when I say it's highly unlikely anyone is as frustrated as we are that we've been unable to move as quickly as we have wanted. I've had the team on my back every single day wanting me to lift the code freeze so we can continue coding to our hearts' content and I've been eager to get some commits in of my own or pull some PRs that have really garnered my interest.

    Unfortunately, for the benefit of the project I had to stop all development and focus all of our resources and efforts on addressing some critical issues we were noticing through frequent reports popping up throughout our community. Usually I'd opt to have a portion of the team focus on addressing the issues, while another portion would push forward with development, but it was clear that going that route would have just made it even more difficult to track down some of the issues people were bringing to our attention. It's hard enough tracking down a bug, crash or leak within static code...adding changes in while we were investigating would have just driven us insane and wasted our time.

    So, it was full steam ahead. We scoured every inch of our community to find even the smallest report relating to a performance issue and set off to investigate each and every one in the hopes that it would give us a hint as to the cause of the significant and sudden decrease in performance we were seeing. After it was all said and done, we finally got a Recommended Build out that fixed the issues. Sadly, shortly after getting that RB out our issue tracker was filled with reports of some crashing and duping issues (that may or may not have been directly caused by Bukkit). So, despite having just unfrozen the code, I re-instated the code freeze and directed our focus to addressing those issues. Having just promoted an RB, I did not want to risk having new, unproven code added to the code base while we were addressing the security issues since it might introduce new issues that would require another RB (believe it or not, we get angry emails, posts and feedback when we promote RBs too often...).

    Judging by some of the feedback I've received from developers, it is clear that the lack of response or communication on our part about the code freeze has left some developers annoyed and disgruntled. Unfortunately, the last time we communicated a code freeze, we had to deal with false and misinformed rumours spreading throughout the Minecraft community that "Bukkit is dying". Bearing that in mind, I was hesitant to write an announcement and chose to communicate that we were under a code freeze through IRC as much as we could, which avoided non-developers hearing about the code freeze but also had the downside of not reaching every developer. If the Bukkit community consisted only of developers, things would be much easier. As it is, however, we need to bear in mind that there are many different types of individuals in the community, ranging from Developers, to Server Admins, to GSPs, normal users and so on. With the current systems we have in place, it is difficult for us to communicate a purely developer-centric message without having a non-developer misunderstand it in some way.

    On behalf of the team, the project and myself, I sincerely apologise to you and every other developer who has been waiting for their PR to be reviewed and hopefully pulled for the delay, but - as I hope you can understand now - it was unavoidable. I would like to promise that this will not happen again, but honestly if I were faced with the same situation, I would make the same decision. Ideally, I would like to have a system in place where we could better and more frequently communicate project status purely with developers, but I'm not sure how to best go about doing that. If, for example, GitHub had an announcement banner feature that could be shown above all pull requests and the pull request list, we'd be set. But, as this is not the case, I'll need to come up with some other solution. If you have any ideas, I'd be happy to hear them - please leave a comment reply with your thoughts.

    With that covered, I'm happy to announce that I am finally able to and have finally lifted the code freeze. From this point onward, until we need to freeze development again, we'll be reviewing (and possibly pulling) PRs like crazy, as well as committing the work we've had on the backburner for the past few months. You have no idea how happy we are to finally have the freedom to code like crazy again.

    Thanks again for your continued support, patience and understanding. You guys are awesome and we would not be where we are without you!
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    Wolvereness Bukkit Team Member

    On similar note, for the next few days I'll be devoting my time to reviewing the Bukkit API PRs.
    Deleted user and PatrickFreed like this.
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    Nice to see active developing again, however I was much more appreciative of the code freeze as it was sadly needed to fix many issues.
    h31ix likes this.
  4. Oh hey, communication! Yay
    Kohle, robxu9 and tyzoid like this.
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    Thanks, EvilSeph!
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    Looks like it's time to put on my pull request pants again (after I find out and fix what people are mad about PermissionsBukkit about...).
    hawkfalcon, madmac, Pim1234 and 4 others like this.
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    On a side note, it's so nice to have plugins that need 0 changes between RBs because nothing was removed/deprecated.
    madmac, MrDice and --GJ-- like this.
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    Where did you get those? I've been trying to track down a pair for years...
    theblakeman9 and fredghostkyle1 like this.
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    here, take mine. they've never been used
    fredghostkyle1 and Kohle like this.
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    XemsDoom likes this.
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    Thanks for letting everyone know! :)
  13. As for getting the message out to devs goes, can you not use a PM or announcement feature on BukkitDev?
    i.e. Sending out a PM to all people listed as devlopers on BukkitDev, or just having an announcement on the BukkitDev homepage?
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    We are unable to send PM's to all developers, but that's an interesting notion... But could go to too many non-dev's, as people that aren't developers also get the tag (Documentation, etc)

    Announcements on BukkitDev is a no-no as well, since those announcements go through all of Curse... And that too, would go to too many non-dev's. :)
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    hows about a banner above the javadocs? xDD To inform every developer. So like a bar on the top.
    codename_B likes this.
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    What developers honestly use the javadocs? :p
    joshwenke and Kohle like this.
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    I look often through it xD Hmm didnt noticed in the IRC, but Im there everyday for hours...
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    mbaxter ʇıʞʞnq ɐ sɐɥ ı

    Hi there.
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    I probably should have said "what developers that won't read this, honestly use the javadocs" :p
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    Isn't Bukkit+ for developers mostly ? You could announce this stuff there.

    Also, I forgive you :D Honestly it was nice to not have to keep up with frequent updates for a while ;)
    madmac likes this.
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    I think most active devs keep up with announcements. The few that don't will either be unaffected, or nagged by users who find issues with their plugins, at which point they will do something.

    Though these sort of announcements would be received better if they were a tad more succinct ; ).
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    I have an idea regarding getting messages to developers easily and quickly. The bukkit forums has an inbox already for incoming messages/reply's/etc. How about users who are marked as developers can receive messages on a certain automatic messaging "list" to allow for development related messages (i.e. code freeze updates) to be easily seen by developers? If accounts could just be simply marked as "developer" and sent development updates, that would be all we need to build a developer messaging system!
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    I'm glad Bukkit has lifted the code freeze, even though it did help fix some main issues before hand. But with 1.3 coming out eventually, and us not knowing exactly, its reassuring knowing that Bukkit will be coding. Thanks and good luck!!!
    Oh, and if you need to code freeze again, at least its for the better of the community. Good luck :D
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    Sometimes it helps to read the post before hand.. :p
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    C'mon, don't work yourself! This doesn't have to be perfect, I'm a developer and I love the way it works that I don't need to pull request things. Just relax and good luck :3
    Long live BUKKIT!!!
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    To put a banner above your git page, link to it via a framed page instead of directly.
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    Astro MacGuffin

    I had wondered why so many RBs. It looked to me like some plugin developers were either confused or irritated (rapid fire are-we-there-yet builds or rare/no updates since 1.2.4).

    Anyway, it's always good when programmers check, recheck, re-recheck if they can make software more stable. Kudos and thanks for the note.
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    Don't call it a code freeze, call it a code party instead or something like that. I'm being serious. It would prevent users from thinking something bad has happened and as long as you get every developer on the same page that it means a code freeze then you can get the word out without upsetting users.
    madmac likes this.
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    Have you tried using usergroups or something of a sort? Like, on vBulletin how the usergroups can be assigned. If a user submits a successful plugin, they acquire the developer usergroup, enabling them to receive dev-only messages. The Server Admin usergroup could be an optional one which any user is able to join as and when.
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    Wonderful post as usual EvilSeph. Glad you're communicating all of this. :)
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