[IPython-dev] (slightly OT) tags vs. branches

Aaron Meurer asmeurer@gmail....
Wed Aug 17 01:03:04 CDT 2011

On Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 11:26 PM, Fernando Perez <fperez.net@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi David,
> On Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 8:05 PM, David Warde-Farley
> <wardefar@iro.umontreal.ca> wrote:
>> Gentlemen,
>> I noticed you have both tags and branches related to releases. As I am currently in the midst of getting the Theano team up to speed on git (woohoo! we've switched!) and the GitHub pull request style of workflow (via gitwash and my various tl;dr cribbings from it), I wonder if you could enlighten me on why you have both, and what each might be useful for.
> As Aaron indicated, having tags for releases is important to be able
> to easily recover the exact commit that was used to make an official
> release.  For this reason, it's important (as I've learned from
> screwing up multiple times) to tag *after* you've made the release,
> and you're sure that everything went up ok, uploaded to pypi, etc.  At
> that point you create an annotated tag and push it to github, as
> explained here (copied from the ipython release process and updated):
> https://github.com/nipy/nitime/blob/master/doc/devel/how_to_release.rst
> An additional benefit of using tags is that github automatically
> creates downloadable tar/zipballs for any tag, so you get an automatic
> download website by the mere act of pushing a tag.
> Now, we only create numbered branches for cases when we do maintain a
> release series in parallel with the main development. That was the
> case for the 0.9.x and 0.10.x series, simply because what we now call
> 0.11 took forever to get into shape, and it was important to still
> provide users with fixes to the released IPython while we cooked 0.11.
>  But now that those branches are finished, we can get rid of them (to
> keep the repo tidy) and simply leave the tags as reference points of
> when the release was made (Min is actually going to do that cleanup
> soon).
> The other case when we do create extra branches on the repo is when
> there is a major feature that requires extensive collaborative
> development where we may want multiple core devs to be able to write
> directly.  We did that last summer with some of the work that led to
> 0.11, and now we have the htmlnotebook branch for the same reason.
> But once it gets merged, we'll delete the branch from the repo, as in
> this case it's strictly convenience.
> So in summary: branches to make development easy while things are
> changing, tags to mark the point where releases were made so that
> anyone can reconstruct the release later on (distributors, etc).
> I should add (re. Aaron's comment) that in IPython we do try to review
> most code, except for very small changes.  We only commit directly
> typically things that fix a bug in a small, localized change and when
> the bug is nasty, such as one that Aaron happened to report yesterday
> that crashed IPython altogether.  I whipped up a localized fix and
> committed it right away.  But in general, even core devs with commit
> access submit all our work for review via pull requests, as you can
> see from the pulls page:

I see.  In SymPy, literally everything goes through review, even small
changes.  This definitely has a positive effect on the resulting code,
though I should note that one negative side effect is that a lot of
branches sit around unreviewed for a long time.  This situation has
gotten much better with pull requests, and especially since they added
the "Merge" button, but it's still a problem.  So I would evaluate any
reviewing policy not only against a potential gain in code quality but
also against your reviewing manpower.

Aaron Meurer

> https://github.com/ipython/ipython/pulls
> which has PRs from pretty much everyone.
> In my mind, review is always better than not, but with such a small
> team we also use some judgment in allowing occasional changes to go in
> directly when waiting for review would otherwise just paralyze things.
>  We basically try to strike a balance between maximizing review (which
> pretty much always increases code quality) and maintaining good
> throughput.
> I hope this helps, feel free to ask further.  And glad to see Theano on github!
> Best,
> f
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