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[Gnu-arch-users] Utterly painless arch?

From: Zack Brown
Subject: [Gnu-arch-users] Utterly painless arch?
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 09:00:41 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.4i

Hi Miles,

Miles Bader said:
> Zack Brown <address@hidden> writes:
> > There are also plenty of small projects that don't need the sophistication
> > of tla. Dealing with tla's startup overhead may be fine for large projects,
> > but for a lot of smaller things and single-user projects CVS and Subversion
> > will probably be a lot of users' first choice.
> This is definitely true; what I wonder is, is it possible to make it utterly
> painless to start using arch without introducing obstacles that would make it
> hard for a project to grow later (for instance, the most `initially painless'
> tagging-method in arch might actually be `by name', but that causes obvious
> problems later on)?

When someone starts playing around with arch, they are starting with a
scratch directory, probably containing a copy of something they're working
on. They want to give a single command, and have that directory become an
arch repository with version control features. Next they want to experiment
with making changes and committing those changes. And thirdly, they want
to check out multiple working directories, make various changes (some not
conflicting, some conflicting) and see how tla deals with that kind of
distributed development.

So to make it utterly painless to start using arch, I think the first thing
would be to create a tla command that takes care of a whole bunch of stuff,
such as creating an initial archive, branch, etc., and automate all the
leg work necessary to get started, and finally import the user's test
directory. If there were just a single command that accomplished all that
using sane defaults (instead of requiring tons of command-line args) that
could be changed by the user later, I think that would make a huge difference.

The second big piece of overhead is the naming conventions imposed on
repositories (I know, I know, but let's avoid the flames please). Its enough
of a pain just understanding the category--branch--etc style, let alone
remembering it later. Someone who just wants to experiment with tla doesn't
want to have to learn all those naming conventions. It should be possible for
the user to specify their own arbitrary string to be the name. tla should
then provide a mechanism for the user to migrate to the more featureful
naming conventions later. If it's impossible for tla to provide its full set
of features with such a restricted name, then it should provide a restricted
set, and document those restrictions. Then the user can regain those features
when they migrate to the proper conventions later.

Those two things are the big obstacles IMO. In order for a user to just
sit down and use tla, there has to be first of all, a quick way to start up
a project; and second of all, a way to get around the complex repo naming
stuff, even if only temporarily.

The tagging method you talk about is another issue, but less important.
Default tagging should just be by name, so the user doesn't have to do
anything. Let the power users choose better tagging systems, and let
novices have things just work reasonably.

Be well,

Zack Brown

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