2008-03-14 05:54:00 UTC
With Inkscape 0.46 wrapping up, it's time to look forward to our next
release, 0.47, and our plans for its development.
When we started Inkscape, we began with a codebase with lots of
potential but with some architectural limitations that we've never quite
resolved. Inkscape has grown rapidly, especially thanks to Google's
Summer of Code program. Unfortunately, while we've gained a lot of new
features, it hasn't addressed the underlying issues - and in some cases
has exposed new problems.
Inkscape's also been extremely successful at gaining a lot of
contributors, yet this comes with a price: Stylistic differences,
accidental code duplication, unfinished code, obsoleted code, etc.
What will the codebase cleanup work entail? The work will range from
straightforward "grunt" work like making some simple code changes to all
files in the codebase, to meatier work like abstracting widely used code
into a more concise and powerful algorithm, to advanced work such as
extracting distinct code into independent code packages.
To boil this down into five high level objectives:
0. Complete some of the big architectural refactoring efforts
1. Reduce source code line count
2. Break useful code out into stand-alone libraries
3. Increase code stylistic consistency
4. Make the codebase more convenient to code in
Now, architectural reworkings can often risk incur massive breakages
since fundamental pieces of the code are being changed. In order to
minimize this, I'd like to suggest the following principles:
* Always keep the tree buildable
* Do major refactorings in small steps
* Hold code review parties with 2-3 others to brainstorm
* Drop copied-in codebases in favor of external dependencies
* Make sure every function you touch has some doxygen comments
Further, this kind of work can go on indefinitely without a clear
stopping point, so I think for this release we should use a schedule
with a date-based stopping point. This will help everyone know how they
should time their work.
Mar 10 Release 0.46. 0.47 Refactoring / Cleanup work begins
Jul 1 Completion of refactoring. Focus on Bug Fixing begins.
Open 0.48 development tree early, for GSoC work.
Aug Put out 0.47-pre releases.
Sep Release 0.47.
For reference, here are some key GSoC dates:
May 26 GSoC work begins.
Jul 14 GSoC midterm. First delivery of GSoC code
Aug 18 GSoC work ends.
This schedule permits us to focus exclusively on refactoring for several
months, with a due date of July 1st to complete it. It uses a very
early branch point, where we'll split into a stable branch for doing bug
fix and release work, and a development branch for the GSoC students to
use and for folks to continue right on with refactoring projects if they