[Numpy-discussion] Proposed Roadmap Overview

Fernando Perez fperez.net@gmail....
Tue Feb 28 23:51:48 CST 2012

On Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 4:49 PM, Bryan Van de Ven <bryanv@continuum.io> wrote:
> Just my own $0.02 regarding this issue: I am in favor of using C++ for
> numpy, I think it could confer various benefits. However, I am also in
> favor of explicitly deciding and documenting what subset of C++ features
> are acceptable for use within the numpy codebase.

I would *love* to see us adopt the NEP/PEP process for decisions as
complex as this one.  The PEP process serves the Python community very
well, and I think it's an excellent balance of minimal overhead and
maximum benefit for organizing the process of making
complex/controversial decisions.  PEP/NEPs serve a number of important

- they encourage the proponent of the idea to organize the initial
presentation in a concrete, easy to follow way that can be used for
decision making.

- they serve as a stable reference of the key points in a discussion,
in contrast to the meandering that is normal of a mailing list thread.

- they can be updated and evolve as the discussion happens,
incorporating the distilled ideas that result.

- if important new points are brought up in the discussion, the
community can ensure that they are added to the NEP.

- once a decision is reached, the NEP is updated with the rationale
for the decision.  Whether it's acceptance or rejection, this ensures
that in the future, others can come back to this document to see the
reasons, avoiding repetitive discussions.

- the NEP can serve as documentation for a specific feature; we see
this often in Python, where the standard docs refer to PEPs for

- over time, these documents build a history of the key decisions in
the design of a project, in a way that is much easier to read and
reason about than a random splatter of long mailing list threads.

I was offline when the long discussions on process happened a few
weeks ago, and it's not my intent to dig into every point brought up
there.  I'm only proposing that we adopt the NEP process for complex
decisions, of which the C++ shift is certainly one.

In the end, I think the NEP process will actually *help* the
discussion process.  It helps keep the key points on focus even as the
discussion may drift in the mailing list, which means ultimately
everyone wastes less energy.

I obviously can't force anyone to do this, but for what it's worth, I
know that at least for IPython, I've had this in mind for a while.  We
haven't had any majorly contentious decisions that really need it yet,
but for example I have in mind a redesign and extension of the magic
system that I intend to write-up pep-style.  While I suspect nobody
would yell if I just went ahead and implemented it on a pull request,
there are enough moving parts and new ideas that I want to gather
feedback in an organized manner before proceeding with implementation.
 And I don't find that idea to be a burden, I actually do think it
will make the whole thing go more smoothly even for me.

Just a thought...


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