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From: Jeff Garland (jeff_at_[hidden])
Date: 2005-03-20 14:37:04

On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 20:12:55 -0500, David Abrahams wrote
> "Jeff Garland" <jeff_at_[hidden]> writes:
> > Fair enough -- I was almost afraid to ask since I hate to make the release
> > process any harder than it is now.
> Agreed, it's too hard, but that shouldn't stop us from talking about
> what we would be doing in an ideal world. Accordingly:
> - A health report for the latest release should always be available
> on the website.

Yes, it is there -- in the middle of the front page, but even so I missed it.
 So I think the link belongs under 'regression tests' called something like
'current release'.
> - Regressions from the previous release are nice to know but less
> important. I realize we show both in one report, but this may
> help us adjust our emphasis or coloring (maybe it's already
> perfect in the user report; I don't know)

In fact, I think from the user perspective the question really goes something
like: "I'm using Intel 8.1 on Windows and Linux and I want to use Python,
smart_ptr, and serialization -- can I expect these libraries to work with
release xyz?" And several variations on that theme. So in an "ideal world"
scenario I would have a web form where the user could enter her needs and a
script would filter the regression results down to the set of interest for the

> - A health report for the current state of the repository should
> always be available on the website.
> - Regressions from the previous release are crucial to know also
> - When we branch for a release, we absolutely must track the
> release branch, but we also should be continuing to display
> the health of the trunk

Agree -- I think the big blocker here is expanding the set of regression
testers during this period. Another factor is that the regression
compilers/platforms tested between releases is not really stable. It has been
growing, so we have now have 'new results' that can't really 'diff' from the
last release. For example, we now have a regression tester for Solaris which
we didn't have in 1.32. I'm not sure that's obvious from the way we display

> - We ought to have a system for automatically notifying anyone who
> checks in a regression, and displaying information about the
> change responsible for the regression on the status page.

Do we even have a way of tracking the check-ins? That might be a good first
step. I notice that sourceforge seems to be generating some sort of email
when I check-in, but I don't know of a way to subscribe to the changelist.

> - There should be a way for a developer to request testing of a
> particular branch/set of revisions

I'd put this high on my list. Without it there is no practical way for
developers to regression test on a branch. Which means that using branches
for development isn't really that practical.
> - There should be enough computing power to handle all these tests
> in a timely fashion.

Guess it depends on what you consider timely -- 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day? We
are somewhere in the 2 day sort of range now. From the developer perspective,
the ideal world would be 'right now'. I've got these changes I'm working on,
I've tested on my core compilers and I'm ready to see the results for other
compilers. It seems like most testers run one regression test per day, while
others run several. So depending on when you check-in, it takes up to a
couple days to really see the results of all platforms/compilers. The only
way I see us getting closer to the ideal is more machines really dedicated to
just Boost testing...

> We also need to discuss how the main trunk will be treated. Gennadiy
> has suggested in the past that checking in breaking changes to the
> trunk is a perfectly legitimate technique for test-driven
> development. I agree in principle, but that idea seems to generate a
> lot of friction with other developers trying to stabilize their test
> results.

I agree with him about wanting to use the compiler to find breakage, but the
problem is that his particular library is one that many libraries depend on.
As a result, it really needs to stay stable during the release period to
ensure that we don't have 2 days of downtime while something Boost-wide is
broken. So I really think that we need to start thinking about a dependency
analysis of Boost and an added freeze date for 'core libraries' that need to
stay stable during the release process. Developers will have to finish what
they want in the release earlier. This could certainly be relaxed if
branch-testing is available since a developer could be much more sure of
avoiding mainline breakage...

> The ability to request testing of a branch might go a long
> way toward eliminating that sort of problem.

Agree completely.


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