[development] RFC: drupal as a moving target

Earl Miles merlin at logrus.com
Thu May 1 19:50:49 UTC 2008

Ivan Sergio Borgonovo wrote:
> On Mon, 28 Apr 2008 22:17:03 -0700
> "Joshua D. Drake" <jd at commandprompt.com> wrote:
>> I believe the solution to this problem is to look at mature open
>> source projects and how they handle their development model.
> Could it be a starting to have a release cycle where functions
> in spite of disappearing are marked "deprecated" and disappear in a
> later release?

I wish people would quit suggesting this, as though backward 
compatibility in Drupal is eschewed out of whim or, worse, malicious 
intent. API is not about function signatures. If it were just that, this 
whole backward compatibility thing would be easy.

API is about data. Where data is stored; where it can be found; how it 
can be accessed, and how it is utilized. Most of the really big changes 
from one Drupal version to another fundamentally change how some piece 
of data is used. Just keeping old function names and signatures will not 
improve backward compatibility significantly.

This is particularly true in Drupal with its system of hooks. The hooks 
change; in order to have 'backward compatibility' we'd have to call old 
hooks as well as new hooks. That's a performance nightmare. It also 
creates crufty, inefficient code.

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