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[RFC 0045] Deprecating unquoted URL syntax #45

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merged 12 commits into from Nov 25, 2019

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7c6f434c commented Apr 28, 2019

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grahamc left a comment

I'm in favor of this RFC.

strings or uniformly unquoted.

Decide to use unquoted URLs for all URLs without special characters or variable
expansion.

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@grahamc

grahamc Apr 28, 2019 Member

Mind making these two items a list?

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@7c6f434c

7c6f434c Apr 28, 2019 Author Member

Definitely done in the PR branch, I have no idea why GitHub doesn't show this yet…

convert URLs to quoted strings when changing them.

Accept PRs that convert unquoted URLs to quoted strings if such PRs are
submitted.

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@grahamc

grahamc Apr 28, 2019 Member

I wonder if there is a way ofborg could detect newly introduced URL values?

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@7c6f434c

7c6f434c Apr 28, 2019 Author Member

Maybe your profiling patch to Nix is in the right direction for that…

@joepie91
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joepie91 commented Apr 28, 2019

Strongly in favour. It's never been clear to me why this was part of the syntax, and more than once I've been left with analysis paralysis because I wasn't sure whether there was a reason to use the special syntax or not, and there appeared to be no documentation on that.

And from a tooling implementor POV: removing this in the long run would reduce the complexity of a Nix (parser) implementation.

@ryantm
ryantm approved these changes Apr 28, 2019
@peti
peti approved these changes Apr 28, 2019
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peti left a comment

Yes, please remove the special URL syntax! That feature adds very little value (if any) and I've never needed it.

@samueldr
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samueldr commented Apr 28, 2019

Quick thoughts about deprecating language/interpreter features:

As far as detection goes, deprecating features in the interpreter could be made strict with a list of "new" features, e.g. --option strict-eval no-unquoted-urls so that the interpreter gates everything related to the unquoted URLs under conditionals, making it fail. Tracing could additionally be added at the same locations to warn, hopefully with a flag to disable tracing those.

Though, this is all at the cost of adding more conditionals, thus more possibilities for weird behaviours.

Gating it in the main interpreter with an option would also allow end-users to set it globally, allowing new deprecation-free evals to be forced on their systems, hopefully helping weed out the leftover features deprecations.

@globin
globin approved these changes Apr 28, 2019
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globin left a comment

I agree!

Another thing with unquoted URLs is that most terminals treat the ; as part of the url making it harder to copy/click links with the special syntax.

@globin globin changed the title A small RFC on deprecating URL syntax [RFC 0045] A small RFC on deprecating URL syntax Apr 28, 2019
@globin globin changed the title [RFC 0045] A small RFC on deprecating URL syntax [RFC 0045] Deprecating unquoted URL syntax Apr 28, 2019
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7c6f434c commented Apr 28, 2019

Thanks for the suggestion of one more reason, let's have motivation section be the longest one!

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4z3 approved these changes Apr 29, 2019
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zimbatm left a comment

👍 happy to see this happening


Add a note in the Nixpkgs manual that the unquoted URL syntax is deprecated,
changes to Nixpkgs should not increase its use, and it is recommended to
convert URLs to quoted strings when changing them.

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@zimbatm

zimbatm Apr 29, 2019 Member

Is it possible to be more specific? How would everybody be notified about this new rule?

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@7c6f434c

7c6f434c Apr 29, 2019 Author Member

  1. I think the mere fact of an RFC passing is a noticeable effect event for a large fraction of active contributors. (It is visible in this repository, announced via Discourse, gets into the «weekly», is likely to be discussed a bit on IRC etc.)

For this specific RFC just the announcement «RFC on Deprecation of URL syntax passed» conveys enough information.

  1. It will be noted in two out of three manuals.

  2. Once we have an RFC that something «should not» happen, a request for cosmetic cleanup in a PR (and such requests happen) is more likely to contain a mention of quoting URLs (if relevant for the package in question). This also spreads the knowledge.

I do have an impression that quite a few people mentioned that they are disappointed they cannot refer to a policy that quoted URLs are better, so I expect the review channel of information dissemination to perform well.

Appendix A: future work — maybe the tool gets implemented, then we can open a countdown issue and maybe make ofborg check that PRs do not make things worse).

My plan is indeed just these points. I think that these things do not really need any additions to the text of RFC, and I think these mechanisms will be enough to distribute the information.

If you think that any of these four channels benefit from an addition to RFC text, or that there are other information distribution channels that should be used (and mentioned in the RFC text) please give some details.

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@zimbatm

zimbatm Apr 29, 2019 Member

It doesn't have to be formalized in the RFC but it's good to have an accompanying discussion.

For example you mentioned "they are disappointed they cannot refer to a policy". Would the RFC act as such policy? If not, maybe we should have a list of official policies in place.

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@7c6f434c

7c6f434c Apr 29, 2019 Author Member

I think having a deprecation notice in the manual (added in accordance with an explicit bullet point in an approved/accepted RFC) is close enough to official policy for the purpose of asking people not to do the deprecated things.

I didn't start the discussion myself, because I thought that (1) is assumed, (2) and (A) are explicitly mentioned, and (3) is a manual variant of (A) in a sense.

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@marsam
marsam approved these changes May 1, 2019
rfcs/0045-deprecate-url-syntax.md Outdated Show resolved Hide resolved
rfcs/0045-deprecate-url-syntax.md Outdated Show resolved Hide resolved
start-date: 2019-04-28
author: Michael Raskin
co-authors:
related-issues:

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@7c6f434c

7c6f434c May 1, 2019 Author Member

I am not sure: the RFC template seems to imply this is for PRs implementing the RFC, not for the changes the RFC intends to undo.

FRidh and others added 2 commits May 1, 2019
Co-Authored-By: 7c6f434c <7c6f434c@mail.ru>
Co-Authored-By: 7c6f434c <7c6f434c@mail.ru>
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7c6f434c commented May 1, 2019

@FRidh thanks for the proofreading.

@edolstra
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edolstra commented May 1, 2019

We should not break backwards compatibility in such a massive way. I mean, deprecation is only useful if you eventually want to remove it, at which point it becomes impossible for Nix to build old Nix expressions.

In principle, the flakes "epoch" feature would make it possible to make such language changes in a backward compatible way (e.g. unquoted URLs could be deprecated in epoch 2020). I'm not convinced it's actually useful, though. The case of x:x falls under the "just don't do that" header IMHO.

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7c6f434c commented May 1, 2019

There are some features that we have chosen not to use in Nixpkgs anymore and we do not recommend to use these features if they can be avoided at all. Additional tooling intended for aiding Nixpkgs development can be useful without supporting such features, and easier creation of tooling is good.

The RFC definitely does not argue for actually dropping the support unless some other breaking changes happen. It will be a pity if an epoch-guarded syntax change for something major like a change in overrides happens without a cleanup of minor annnoyances.

@edolstra edolstra added the status: new label May 2, 2019
@domenkozar
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domenkozar commented May 2, 2019

In 2022 we can parse Nix identifier without first parsing a URI with a regex, which will speed up the parser.

@edolstra
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edolstra commented May 2, 2019

@domenkozar I think URIs, identifiers etc. are all recognized using a single finite state machine, so it shouldn't matter much for performance.

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