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Re: Async package.el

From: Dmitry Gutov
Subject: Re: Async package.el
Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2015 16:53:22 +0300
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:36.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/36.0

Hi Artur,

On 04/06/2015 01:46 PM, Artur Malabarba wrote:
This is a heads up that I've pushed some commits that implement
asynchronicity in package.el. I'll explain implementation details below,
but I want to list the surface changes first.

One change I've noticed recently, is that the last few times I ran `M-x list-packages', it didn't display the "new" packages at the top.

Might that be related to the recent changes?

- For the sake of simplicity, when you hit `x' in the package-menu you
will no longer get two separate prompts for install/delete. You'll be
prompted a single time for everything.

I think "INSTALL (xxx-y.z) and DELETE (xxx-z.t)" is needlessly verbose. It should probably be "Upgrade (xxx to z.t)", with maybe "and delete the currently installed versions".

- Most functions which involve downloading data now take an extra
optional ASYNC argument (some of them also take an additional CALLBACK
argument). This defaults to nil. If it is t, any downloads involved are
performed asynchronously (and, if appropriate, CALLBACK is called

Shouldn't there be some new tests?

- The only really async function (actually a macro) is
`package--with-work-buffer-async'. All other functions simply propagate
their ASYNC argument down to this one. If ASYNC nil, it just defers the
work back to `package--with-work-buffer'.

I have to say that package upgrading being only partially asynchronous looks perplexing. You say yes - it starts downloading stuff in the background - I can move around in the buffer, then suddenly the background process takes over in a synchronous fashion - I can't move cursor anymore and just watch some messages in the echo area. The Compile-Log only pops up at the end.

While parallel downloading sounds good, maybe the overall interface should still be presented in a synchronous fashion.

- Archives are refreshed all at the same time (which leads to a
signficant speed boost if you have several archives configured), so
there's a new variable `package--downloads-in-progress' to keep track of
which archive downloads are still ongoing. The function
`package--update-downloads-in-progress' takes care of controling this
variable and calling a relevant hook when it's all done.

I think this is the main upside of the latest changes, currently.

- Package downloads are performed in sequence, because it is generally
not safe to do them in parallel

Why not? Simply downloading in parallel should be safe. Maybe not all at once, but 2-4 at a time, especially if they come from different archives, would be beneficial.

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