Wagtail RFCs
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kaedroho and gasman Document RFC process in README.md (#31)
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README.md Document RFC process in README.md (#31) Aug 23, 2018

README.md

Wagtail RFCs

Many changes, including bug fixes and documentation improvements, can be implemented and reviewed via the normal GitHub pull request workflow.

Some changes, though, are "substantial", and we ask that these be put through a bit of a design process and produce a consensus among the Wagtail core team.

The "RFC" (request for comments) process is intended to provide a consistent and controlled path for new features to enter the CMS.

Active RFC List

When you should follow this process

You should follow this process if you intend to make "substantial" changes to Wagtail, or its documentation. What constitutes a "substantial" change is evolving based on community norms, but may include the following.

  • A new feature that creates new API surface area.
  • The removal of features that already shipped in a previous release.
  • Changes to the Wagtail admin interface that alter the end-user experience.

Some changes do not require an RFC:

  • Internal rephrasing, reorganizing or refactoring
  • Additions that strictly improve objective, numerical quality criteria (speedup, better browser support)
  • Additions only likely to be noticed by other implementors-of-Wagtail, invisible to users-of-Wagtail.

If you submit a pull request to implement a new feature without going through the RFC process, it may be closed with a polite request to submit an RFC first.

Gathering feedback before submitting

It's often helpful to get feedback on your concept before diving into the level of API design detail required for an RFC. You may open an issue on this repo to start a high-level discussion, with the goal of eventually formulating an RFC pull request with the specific implementation design.

What the process is

In short, to get a major feature added to Wagtail, one must first get the RFC merged into the RFC repo as a markdown file. At that point the RFC is 'active' and may be implemented with the goal of eventual inclusion into Wagtail.

  • Fork the RFC repo http://github.com/wagtail/rfcs
  • Copy 000-template.md to text/000-my-feature.md (where 'my-feature' is descriptive. don't assign an RFC number yet).
  • Fill in the RFC. Put care into the details: RFCs that do not present convincing motivation, demonstrate understanding of the impact of the design, or are disingenuous about the drawbacks or alternatives tend to be poorly-received.
  • Submit a pull request. As a pull request the RFC will receive design feedback from the larger community, and the author should be prepared to revise it in response.
  • Build consensus and integrate feedback. RFCs that have broad support are much more likely to make progress than those that don't receive any comments.
  • Eventually, the core team will decide whether the RFC is a candidate for inclusion in Wagtail.
  • RFCs that are candidates for inclusion in Wagtail will enter a "final comment period" lasting 10 days. The beginning of this period will be signaled with a comment and tag on the RFC's pull request. Furthermore, the RFC will be advertised widely (for example, it may be posted on Wagtail's official Twitter account and included in the following week's "This Week In Wagtail" newsletter).
  • An RFC can be modified based upon feedback from the core team and community. Significant modifications may trigger a new final comment period.
  • An RFC may be rejected by the core team after public discussion has settled and comments have been made summarizing the rationale for rejection. A member of the core team should then close the RFC's associated pull request.
  • An RFC may be accepted at the close of its final comment period. A core team member will merge the RFC's associated pull request, at which point the RFC will become 'active'.

The RFC life-cycle

Once an RFC becomes active then authors may implement it and submit the feature as a pull request to the Wagtail repo. Becoming 'active' is not a rubber stamp, and in particular still does not mean the feature will ultimately be merged; it does mean that the core team has agreed to it in principle and are amenable to merging it.

Furthermore, the fact that a given RFC has been accepted and is 'active' implies nothing about what priority is assigned to its implementation, nor whether anybody is currently working on it.

Modifications to active RFCs can be done in followup PRs. We strive to write each RFC in a manner that it will reflect the final design of the feature; but the nature of the process means that we cannot expect every merged RFC to actually reflect what the end result will be at the time of the next major release; therefore we try to keep each RFC document somewhat in sync with the language feature as planned, tracking such changes via followup pull requests to the document.

Implementing an RFC

The author of an RFC is not obligated to implement it. Of course, the RFC author (like any other developer) is welcome to post an implementation for review after the RFC has been accepted.

If you are interested in working on the implementation for an 'active' RFC, but cannot determine if someone else is already working on it, feel free to ask (e.g. by leaving a comment on the associated issue).

Reviewing RFCs

Each week the core team will attempt to review some set of open RFC pull requests.

Wagtail's RFC process owes its inspiration to the Rust RFC process