The triggers

IRC discussion

14:16 < dixie> kowey: what is your opinion on
14:16 < kowey> glancing at that, dixie, I think it could be worth looking at the plans for cleaning up all the flags
14:16 < kowey> but I don't mean to turn one issue into a huge scary one
14:17 < kowey> in a way, I'm inclined to say that if we're going to change how the opts work
14:17 < kowey> we might as well do it right
14:17 < kowey> (the big overhaul; it's in the tracker somewhere)
14:17 < dixie> kowey: do you mean some existing plans?
14:17 < kowey> and anything less than that would just add to confusion
14:18 < kowey> dixie: yeah, well a design that mornfall sketched out
14:19 < kowey> dixie: I'm relying on old memories, as have been out of the loop for a long time
14:21 < kowey> dixie:
14:21 < kowey> this may need something like a
14:22 < kowey> dixie: sorry to throw that thing at you; I don't mean to distract

Proposal (issue1467)

darcs record help for issue1457

  -m PATCHNAME  --name=PATCHNAME                         name of patch
  -A EMAIL      --author=EMAIL                           specify author id
                --test[=yes/no]                          run the test script (default: no)
                --remove-test-directory[=yes/no]         remove the test directory (default: yes) [!!!]
  -a            --all                                    answer yes to all patches
                --pipe                                   ask user interactively for the patch metadata
  -i            --interactive[=yes/no]                   prompt user interactively (default: yes)
                --ask-deps[=yes/no]                      ask for extra dependencies (default: no)
                --edit-long-comment[=yes/no/prompt]      edit the long comment by default (default: prompt) [!!!]
  -l            --look-for-adds[=yes/no]                 look for (non-boring) files that could be added (default: no)
                --repodir=DIRECTORY                      specify the repository directory in which to run
                --disable                                disable this command
  -h            --help                                   shows brief description of command and its arguments

Advanced options:
                --debug[=yes/no]                         give debug output
                --debug-http                             give debug output for libcurl
  -v            --verbosity[=0..2]                       verbosity level (default: 1) [!!!]
  -q            --quiet                                  suppress informational output (same as --verbosity=quiet)
                --timings                                provide debugging timings information
                --logfile=FILE                           give patch name and comment in file
                --delete-logfile[=yes/no]                delete the logfile when done (default: no)
                --compress[=yes/no]                      create compressed patches (default: yes)
                --trust-times[=yes/no]                   trust the file modification times (default: yes) [!!!]
                --umask=UMASK                            specify umask to use when writing
                --set-scripts-executable[=yes/no]        make scripts executable (default: no)
                --use-cache[=yes/no]                     use patch caches (default: yes) [!!!]
                --posthook=COMMAND                       specify command to run after this darcs command
                --run-posthook[=yes/no/prompt]           run posthook command (default: prompt)
                --prehook=COMMAND                        specify command to run before this darcs command
                --run-prehook[=yes/no/prompt]            run prehook command without prompting (default: prompt)


One potential principle (to be taken with a grain of salt) is that --foo=[yes/no] flags should (A) use a verb and (B) use the verb that most evokes darcs actively doing something.

So --test-directory[=remove/leave] is potentially confusing because if you’re not paying attention, you might think that one should pass in a test directory name to that flag.

Likewise, --leave-test-directory is perhaps suboptimal compared to --remove-test-directory (because it means you’re passing a flag to tell darcs to not take an action).

This second half of this principle slightly improves resistance to defaults changing (in other words, if you make the decision on the basis of --remove-directory being the default and --leave-directory being the special case, then the day you change your mind about the default, the basis for your choice is rendered void).

  • remove-test-directory: was --{remove,leave}-test-directory. thinking that --test-directory expects a directory

  • edit-long-comment: was --{edit,no,prompt}-long-comment

  • verbosity: was --verbose, --standard-verbosity, --quiet. Note that debug output is considered orthogonal to this (you could have --debug -q). Note also that the default for the command would be --verbosity=1 (no args), but if you just supply --verbosity you get --verbosity=2. This sort of confusion makse me think it’s best to make the argument a required one.

  • trust-times: was --{dont-,no-,}ignore-times; I figured that the double-negative --ignore-times=no would just confuse people

  • use-cache: was --no-cache (with no option to override!)

Backward compatibility

Flags overhaul should not immediately break the user’s known pattern, hence the temporary the backward compatibility is needed.

Overhaul process would looks like following:

  1. Design flags structure
  2. Implement & deprecate old flags (release 2.10)
  3. Remove depreciated flags (release 2.12)
  4. ???
  5. Profit

Deprecated flags

These flags should have following behavior:

  • Help always display them like a deprecated (maybe hide them from help…?)
  • Usage of them should display warning `Parameter –foo is DEPRECATED, please use –bar’