On 4 April 2018 at 19:39, Sriram Ramkrishna <s...@ramkrishna.me> wrote:

> Some of you may be aware that we have started a documentation effort in
> order to give application developers a proper set of documentation for them
> to write applications.
> We need to optimize for one language rather than promoting all the
> languages.

This was the conclusion of the 2013 DX hackfest:


and we all know how that turned out:

 - people (correctly or not) equated the "we chose to concentrate on
JavaScript" as "everyone should use JavaScript for GNOME"
 - the messaging of "we chose to concentrate on JavaScript" pissed off
every other language community that had a sizeable presence in GNOME
(Python, most of all)
 - the announcement was made without resourcing, in the *hope* somebody
would turn up
 - we had to publicly backtrack on the messaging for the following 5 years

But, hey: we got a good JavaScript experience, right?

Well, not really.

  In the past, we have promoted javascript above all else.  We haven't seen
> as much movement in  javascript allegedly because the toolchain has not
> been as robust as the other languages.

Mostly because "promoting JavaScript" from a documentation point of view
isn't related to toolchain improvements.

The people that can write documentation are not the ones that are going to
hack on

 - the documentation platform
 - the JS engine
 - the plethora of tooling necessary to work and debug applications

Even with the first item we've failed. We've had, what? 4 or 5
documentation hackfests in the past 5 years, and all of them have a line
item about having better documentation platforms for our *C* API reference.

I really don't want to take a dig at anybody at the DX and documentation
hackfests — they are all volunteers and they work *really* hard. The job is
daunting in the best case scenario of somebody actually paying for this
stuff; that we have documentation already is kind of a miracle.

Since this conversation could easily get derailed,

That's probably the understatement of the year — *but* I think we'd be
better served by actually going a bit deeper than just "let's evaluate a
single language for our platform".

> what I would like to focus on is using javascript as the default computer
> language for developing 3rd party apps on the GNOME platform.  We would
> like to validate what the current state of javascript is for writing
> applications and whether we now have good support in flatpak, debugging
> toolchains (eg gjs and builder) and other factors we might have not
> considered but should be identified.
What does "validate" mean? You want to write an application? What kind of
an application?

What does "good support in Flatpak" mean?

What does "debugging toolchain" mean?

More importantly: what are you planning to do if you find issues?

Let's say that JavaScript fails to clear some arbitrary bar you defined —
and I'd really like to see how you define these bars to be cleared first —
what are the contingencies? Launch a D20 and choose another language?

> Any input in this regard would be well appreciated to drive good
> documentation to write applications for the GNOME platform.
While good documentation is a necessary stepping stone towards a decent SDK
and application development experience, it's nowhere near sufficient.

You can have the best documentation in the world — but if you don't have
people working on the tooling and the actual integration between the
language and the platform, then you don't have anything that other people
can use.


[@] ebassi [@gmail.com]
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