Parameter names - bug 155628

Shane H. W. Travis travis at
Fri Dec 17 22:44:17 UTC 2004

Dave asked that I solicit opinions from developers. I cc:'d a lot of people
when I wrote up my intent to fix this bug, but this is probably a better way
to get comments.

Parameter names consisting of many strung-together words are hard to read,
especially if English is not your first language. The following bug:

was opened to break parameter on word boundaries by adding underscores.
Not surprisingly, it's sat for about two years, because it's a large,
repetitive task.

I'd like to fix it. I'm willing to fix it -- now, in the next 30 days. I
believe that it will make the code more consistent (parameters currently
have either nothing, underscores, or hyphens), meaning that it will look
more professional and be easier to read/understand. It will also be *much*
easier for the end-user to parse these parameters.

The problem is that Dave also has a fix coming (multi-panel editparams, ) that is right on the
top of his to-do list, and he plans to get to it in January. When it lands,
this would remove the visible parameter names completely from the user's
view; instead, they would see a templated name for the parameter that is
more localizable, and need not be computer-readable.

This sort of kicks the legs out from under the 'ease of user use' argument
that was presented as part of the reason for doing 155628. What I'm
wondering is this: is the clean-up of the code enough reason to go ahead
with doing it *anyway*?

Fixing this bug was (originally) supposed to help the end-user, but as it
stands (assuming Dave does actually land his patch sometime in early 2005)
it will only help developers and customizers. As such, I asked Dave to
put a go/no go on this bug... and he said that he wanted to hear feedback
from the people it would affect -- developers and customizers. (In other
words, people reading this list.)

One acknowledged downside is that while I can make sure I change all the
instances in code on the trunk, I can't change param names in code we didn't
write... meaning that it would break (perhaps silently) local customizations
when the upgrade hits. Of course, as Dave said, there's always risks when
you upgrade and have customizations... but it is something to consider.

(jth asked in IRC, "Is there something more useful you could do with the
time?" My answer is, "Sure! I could be learning to play the guitar,
wrestling with my son, reading to my daughter, watching a movie, or making
love to my wife." :) I'm sure that there are also 'more useful' things I
could be doing for Bugzilla too... but let's not consider that part of the
equation. This is what I'd *like* to do right now, for my own reasons.)

So, what say you all? If I want to spend my time doing this, should it still
be done? Or should it be marked as WONTFIX and move on?

Shane H.W. Travis       | Anyone who is capable of getting themselves
travis at    |  made President should on no account be allowed
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan |  to do the job.  -- Douglas Adams, HHGTTG

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