[development] Why Drupal 4.7 is late? (long)

Robert Garrigós Castro robert at garrigos.org
Sun Jan 15 08:37:48 UTC 2006

I found this module very, very useful to begin to port 4.6 code to the 
new form api: http://drupal.org/node/37457

It is a form updater module that would really help newcomers to the new 
form api as myself. Give it a try and you won't regret.

Robert Garrigos

Karoly Negyesi wrote:
> First of all, it is not late. It'll be out when it's done and noone 
> said it otherwise.
> However, it was announced quite some ago that "In preparation of the 
> Drupal 4.7.0 release, development of Drupal core will be frozen on 
> September 1st." http://drupal.org/node/28466
> On September 1st, Dries announced http://drupal.org/node/30176 that 
> September 15 is the new code freeze date mainly due to form API and 
> upgrade system improvements. He hoped to have a release candidate on 
> October 7. Form API thread http://drupal.org/node/29465 started on 
> August 23.
> The Form API was committed to core in October 7. In a mere three 
> months it saw 48 revisions. Bootstrap, for example saw 80 in two 
> years. Even node.module needed four months to reach v1.48 but that was 
> almost five years ago and much, much less code and users were affected.
> Form API is a big change. Not just the way the forms are defined but 
> the whole workflow is changed. You no longer have access to the POSTed 
> information on form build time, you can interact with that later on 
> via various callbacks. This immense change is percieved as hard but it 
> is not. Aaron Welch (also known as crunchywelch) have converted 
> nothing less than flexinode single handedly in three days time and 
> this included several form API fixes -- this was back when form API 
> itself was pretty bogus. His estimate (and mine) is that it can be 
> done in a day now that form API is fixed up. Other modules have also 
> been converted. Ecommerce is under way. Module developers, brace 
> yourselves and try it. It's not hard if you first forget the old ways.
> But alas the form API conversion of core were not made by form API 
> experts. You know why? It's so simple. Think a bit on it. I think you 
> guessed it: because there were none (with Adrian being the exception, 
> of course). But how could there be? It's a whole new API. We 
> struggled, learned it, added stuff to the API itself when there was a 
> need. So, there are quite a lot of bugs in core resulting from this 
> conversion and the quality is not even. Currently, there are only a 
> handful people who can -- or want? -- to hammer these bugs out. 
> Everyone, it's impossible for a small handful of developers to fix 
> them all. Often patch fixing efforts abandoned and I need to take 
> over. I took the form API mantle but it's impossible to cope with the 
> load! Currently, being a form API maintainer means that I need to 
> understand _all_ core (there are approx. a thousand functions and some 
> 32K LoC) on an astonishing level because various bugs that were 
> introduced by form API fall somehow on me. If I'd be a millionarie 
> with nothing else to do but fixing core bugs, it'd be a different 
> situation but alas I need to earn money. Do you except the menu 
> maintainer to fix all those menu permission issues just because menu 
> system is used?
> So, I ask for the help of seasoned developers. Form API is not voodoo 
> magic. It is not written in Brainfuck. It's PHP code which you guys 
> can understand pretty well. It's even documented even if the 
> documentation is a bit spotty.
> But there are good things also -- because fixing all this stuff took 
> this long, the upgrade system could run its course and got commited on 
> December 6. It's also a very good thing, now modules can use the 
> upgrade system. This sounds a bit deceiving but if you think that 
> there is no difference on a database level between create and alter 
> then you'll quickly realize that this is a pillar for install system. 
> And we can also say that when you have added a feature to your site by 
> installing a new module, it's a new version of that particular site, 
> it's indeed an upgrade.
> Thanks for bearing with me
> Karoly Negyesi
> Ps. If anyone wants to start bitching around "you should have released 
> without form API", then first please show your comment with a 
> September date asking for that on Drupal.org -- I met none in the 
> roadmap posts or the form API thread.

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