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Is LESS in need of support? #867

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matthew-dean opened this issue Jul 10, 2012 · 28 comments
Closed

Is LESS in need of support? #867

matthew-dean opened this issue Jul 10, 2012 · 28 comments

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@matthew-dean
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@matthew-dean matthew-dean commented Jul 10, 2012

Note:

Issue #224
Issue #540
Issue #853

Over the course of a year, no acknowledgement of one particular bug or any hint as to when it might be addressed. This is just one bug, but it's a consistent pattern. I'm not saying that to demand any contributor to LESS do more work. But I think LESS is at risk of losing developer support.

In contrast, look at the commit history for SASS: https://github.com/nex3/sass/commits/stable

SASS has a growing and active community, and support from major projects like Compass. LESS has Bootstrap, Crunch, Less.app, Codekit, etc, so it's not like it doesn't have support, but I am still quite worried at the lack of project activity.

What can we do as a community to help move this along? I've seen developers actually fix LESS bugs like this, submit pull requests, and then nothing happens for a long time.

I love LESS. I want to see it succeed. How can we keep it from continuing to float away into the ethers?

@designermonkey
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@designermonkey designermonkey commented Jul 10, 2012

I agree. There are 96 pull requests! This means the community using it are active, what is needed is @cloudhead to do some merges.

@matthew-dean
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@matthew-dean matthew-dean commented Jul 10, 2012

Wow. 96? So maybe not enough people at the top to manage requests / approve merges? LESS is probably at a size where it could use at least half a dozen volunteers for administrative-type activity like that. I know that there were two volunteers that stepped forward. When I asked this question to @fat (code lead of Twitter Bootstrap), as far as lack of activity, he said to contact those two guys. One said he had had to step back from LESS, the other never responded. So back to where we were.

@StilgarBF
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@StilgarBF StilgarBF commented Jul 10, 2012

this ins github! If cloudhead abandoned less and does not respond to request - let's stick our heads together, setup a fork some devs are willing to contribute to and get the project moving again.

@lukeapage
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@lukeapage lukeapage commented Jul 11, 2012

@cloudhead doesn't look at github alerts. I suggest you (or anyone who is good and can look at these things objectively) mail him seperately and ask if he would give you commit access to the less project.

The first thing I would do is label everything so we know the duplicates and the bugs and the features. Features should be considered closely before adding.

@phillip-haydon
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@phillip-haydon phillip-haydon commented Jul 11, 2012

Does @cloudhead still maintain the project? He seems to use github but doesn't work on less.js anymore...

#650

^ I need that PR because that bug is causing heaps of issues.

@designermonkey
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@designermonkey designermonkey commented Jul 11, 2012

@agatronic that is an excellent suggestion, especially about the labelling. Sadly I can't myself as I have too much work on for Symphony CMS, otherwise I would dive in.

@krmmalik
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@krmmalik krmmalik commented Jul 11, 2012

I think forking might be the best bet. LinkedIn experienced something similar with dust.js , a client side templating library. The original maintainer of the library stopped updating/maintaining it over a year ago, so in the end LinkedIn ended up creating a fork, and fixed the bugs themselves.

Link for reference: http://linkedin.github.com/dustjs/

@designermonkey
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@designermonkey designermonkey commented Jul 11, 2012

I can understand the thought that forking for a community copy is best, but all of the current issues and pull requests are logged here, and they do not migrate with a fork.

@agatronic's suggestion is best to get the backlog out of the way first, it's just a matter of who will do it.

@phillip-haydon
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@phillip-haydon phillip-haydon commented Jul 11, 2012

@designermonkey you can pull other people's PR to your fork. So it's completely possible to fork and then pull all the current PR's.

The problem is people who have forked the current repo will need to fork the new one to contribute in the future.

Edit: I guess you can't do it from GitHub website, would need to do it manually, add the persons fork to the remote and pull their change.

@lukeapage
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@lukeapage lukeapage commented Jul 11, 2012

if there isnt a group of people prepared to be gatekeepers, the same thing will happen on any fork.

if you can find those people, contact cloudhead and help.. if that doesn't work out, then start thinking about forks.

from my experience with dotless (a port of less) I can say the parser is complex and unfortunately a lot of the pull requests are hacks that might work but make the code less maintainable.

also bear in mind cloudhead has a history of spending an intense couple of weeks every several months. I hope he will be back.

@matthew-dean
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@matthew-dean matthew-dean commented Jul 16, 2012

@agatronic It's a good point. Is there currently a group of talented LESS developers prepared to be gatekeepers?

My instinct is that there would be people willing and able to step in and help, but of course that gives someone like @cloudhead a people management problem instead of just a code management problem. Which means there may be a people management person needed to manage the code management people. But first, maybe we could somehow put the question out there of who can support in this way.

@cloudhead
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@cloudhead cloudhead commented Jul 17, 2012

I've given several people commit access, but unfortunately they have been swamped with other kinds of work, so it's back to square one.

I have 0% time to dedicate to Less right now, and have pretty much left front-end development to focus on things which interest me more.

I can give commit access to anyone who thinks they can help - I just don't want this project to become a bloated piece of crap, like most of the software out there. So I'd rather not see anything merged which adds features, but only bug fixes/refactors. New functionality needs to be maintained, tested, documented & supported, and often adds complexity to the code-base as a whole.

If there is a lot of interest in taking over, I can also "move" the project to the lesscss organization, which I reserved a while back. But I would rather not, unless someone really believes he can play the gatekeeper role.

What I want is what is best for the community, but I'm not sure how to proceed right now.

I'll be watching this thread for further comments.

@krmmalik
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@krmmalik krmmalik commented Jul 17, 2012

Thanks for responding @cloudhead - I'm a non-programmer currently learning about development. I'm also new to git and github. I'd be happy to take on responsibility as gatekeeper depending on what it involves. I also agree with your sentiments regards concentrating on bug fixes and refactoring for now.

If someone can help me better understand what my role would mean as gatekeeper and what i need to do, i'm willing to give it a go, but please remember, i'm very new to development so not necessarily best qualified for this but if i dont step up now then i'll never learn i suppose.

@lukeapage
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@lukeapage lukeapage commented Jul 17, 2012

@cloudhead Thanks for replying. I could see if I have the time to help out a bit - I do most of the maintenance/gatekeeping on dotless (a c# port, but the code structure is near identical and I mainly do quite complex javascript at work) but could spend some time here (e.g. not taking over just helping a bit). It would be good to first set labels so we can work out where we are, so please add me, or give me a private contact if you'd like to discuss further.

@eemouk I think it requires someone with technical expertise and knowledge of the code.

@krmmalik
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@krmmalik krmmalik commented Jul 17, 2012

@agatronic That's fair enough. I'd still like to help in whatever capacity that i can, so please feel free to call on me. my twitter is @KhuramMalik

@matthew-dean
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@matthew-dean matthew-dean commented Jul 17, 2012

I'm glad I raised this question and hopefully even more people will step forward to help out. @cloudhead - My area where I've been contributing already has been to address issues here on Less and often I say whether or not something is likely to occur based on conversations we've had about the scope of the project. (See: Issue #869) So, it makes sense for me to continue to do so in a more official capacity, and I can certainly help with at least managing the stack of issues and organization, although I would hope to not do it alone. I know we're all busy people with hopefully other gainful employment, so I'd really like to assist with setting up a team structure.

Like @agatronic, I obviously have a vested interest with Crunch, so my priority is on bug fixing. A bug in LESS right now is a bug in Crunch. On features: there are some features that have been discussed in the Issues (or which have pull requests submitted) which I think may fill in some gaps in LESS without expanding its scope, but I think we could make this deal: that we don't add features without at least discussing with you. We can at least separate wheat from chaff, and figure out what's left. But again, I'd like to see half a dozen people come to this role, and I can help build that team as well.

Having said that, managing complex JavaScript is also my day job, so I'm not without some capacity to potentially address some issues, but that piece is more of a time issue. And, again, I'd like to see more people involved than just a few gatekeepers.

I want LESS developers to always feel that they are well supported, and that there is a thriving LESS community. I have future projects / ideas based on LESS, so I want to see it succeed.

@cloudhead
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@cloudhead cloudhead commented Jul 17, 2012

@eemouk indeed, it needs to be someone deeply familiar with the project and codebase.

@agatronic will add you, help where you can!

@MatthewDL agreed with everything. the hard part is making sure a bug fix doesn't break something else - the tests catch a lot, but not everything, and unfortunately, not everyone runs the tests, so you gotta do that yourself, before merging a patch. I added you as collaborator, do whatever you can to help, and if you find other people who can help, e-mail/skype me, and I'll add them.

As far as new features, yes, as long as there is a PR, and it doesn't add too much code or complexity, we can discuss it.

Cheers

@matthew-dean
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@matthew-dean matthew-dean commented Jul 18, 2012

Thanks, @cloudhead! I will also put the word out.

@matthew-dean
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@matthew-dean matthew-dean commented Jul 19, 2012

Hey @cloudhead - One more person to add. Sent you a Skype message about it. Thanks!

@jmgunn87
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@jmgunn87 jmgunn87 commented Jul 22, 2012

Hi, I'd very much like to have commit access and play a part in the maintenance and development of less

@jmgunn87
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@jmgunn87 jmgunn87 commented Jul 25, 2012

Anyone?

@sturobson
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@sturobson sturobson commented Jul 25, 2012

perhaps @jmgunn87 include @cloudhead @agatronic or @MatthewDL in your request, to see if you can poke them into an answer :o)

@jmgunn87
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@jmgunn87 jmgunn87 commented Jul 25, 2012

Ah :D

@cloudhead @agatronic or @MatthewDL I'm down for long-term maintenance and development! I'd love commit access

@ghost
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@ghost ghost commented Aug 6, 2012

I don't understand the hesitance on creating a lesscss organization. It seems very appropriate given the current situation.

@phillip-haydon
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@phillip-haydon phillip-haydon commented Aug 6, 2012

I would be happy if a 6month old PR to fix a bug would just get merged.

<

Sent from my Windows Phone
From: DeShawn Williams
Sent: 6/8/2012 8:22 AM
To: Phillip Haydon
Subject: Re: [less.js] Is LESS in need of support? (#867)
I don't understand the hesitance on creating a lesscss organization.
It seems very appropriate given the current situation.


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub:
#867 (comment)

@matthew-dean
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@matthew-dean matthew-dean commented Aug 6, 2012

Have patience. We have several more contributors now and we've been cataloging and moving through the backlog.

@phillip-haydon
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@phillip-haydon phillip-haydon commented Aug 6, 2012

OH you are too! I'm happy now. Thanks.

@matthew-dean
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@matthew-dean matthew-dean commented Aug 19, 2012

Support is now well under way (thanks mostly to @agatronic), so closing. :-)

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