[Python-Dev] [python-committers] PEP 595: Improving bugs.python.org

Gregory P. Smith greg at krypto.org
Fri May 24 14:23:43 EDT 2019

-cc: committers to avoid crossposting.

I have feedback for roundup as experienced on BPO that should be
represented within PEP 595 if we are going to have a summary of "improving
roundup for BPO" captured in a PEP (presumably already rejected given 581?
But good to have documented regardless so _thank you_ for doing this
writeup even though I realize our plan of record may be demoralizing for

> **Flexible UI.**  While Roundup UI might look dated, it is convenient and

I wholly disagree with this statement.

The BPO roundup UI drives me nuts. every. single. time. I have to use it.
It is not optimized for common workflows users actually need to accomplish
when using a bug tracker.  Two example usability issues (of many): Users
can't read the latest update to a bug of length because it is hidden within
the *middle* of the scrolling region, they must hunt for it.  After
reading, the text box to add to the discussion is oddly located near the
*top* of the scrolling region so that a user cannot see context of a bug
discussion they are responding to as they type.  I file things like this
under "User experience design is needed for the common workflows of all
classes of users".

Roundup needs a modern responsive web interface, not GET/POST request based
interface seen on BPO.  As a result of that, roundup *feels* like is
belongs in the Pre-2004 era interface wise by being web form and full page
reload server for everything. A responsive modern "async javascript
requests happen in the background of the UI" system that we all expect of
any web UI is needed. Not just tweaking the existing thing to have a mobile
friendly version of the web form. This includes persistent connections so
that updates to an issue show up live as they happen instead of getting an
error message "someone/something else has updated this issue since you
started typing, the action you wanted to take such as submitting that
comment or editing that field is now invalid and cannot be completed
without a lot of manual work figuring out what happened, cut and pasting,
and fixing things up on the you the users part".

I'm not going to try proposing a PR to this PEP encapsulating that, I'll
leave that up to anyone willing to wrangle such a PEP.  The list archive
has it regardless now. :)


On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 1:17 PM Ezio Melotti <ezio.melotti at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello,
> Berker and I have been working on a PEP that suggests we keep using
> and improving bugs.python.org and Roundup instead of switching to
> GitHub Issues as proposed by PEP 581.
> The PEP covers:
> * What are the advantages of Roundup over GitHub issues;
> * What features are missing in Roundup and how can we add them;
> * Issues with PEP 581;
> * Issues with the migration plan proposed by PEP 588;
> The rendered version of PEP 595 is available at
> https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0595/
> For reference, you can consult PEP 581 and 588 at
> https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0581/ and
> https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0588/
> The full text of the PEP is include below.  We are planning to update
> the PEP to include the feedback we receive and to update the status of
> features as we implement them (we also have a Google Summer of Code
> students working on it).
> Best Regards,
> Ezio Melotti
> ================
> PEP: 595
> Title: Improving bugs.python.org
> Author: Ezio Melotti <ezio.melotti at gmail.com>, Berker Peksag
> <berker.peksag at gmail.com>
> Status: Draft
> Type: Process
> Content-Type: text/x-rst
> Created: 12-May-2019
> Abstract
> ========
> This PEP proposes a list of improvements to make bugs.python.org
> more usable for contributors and core developers.  This PEP also
> discusses why remaining on Roundup should be preferred over
> switching to GitHub Issues, as proposed by :pep:`581`.
> Motivation
> ==========
> On May 14th, 2019 :pep:`581` has been accepted [#]_ without much
> public discussion and without a clear consensus [#]_.  The PEP
> contains factual errors and doesn't address some of the
> issues that the migration to GitHub Issues might present.
> Given the scope of the migration, the amount of work required,
> and how it will negatively affect the workflow during the
> transition phase, this decision should be re-evaluated.
> Roundup advantages over GitHub Issues
> =====================================
> This section discusses reasons why Roundup should be preferred
> over GitHub Issues and Roundup features that are not available
> on GitHub Issues.
> * **Roundup is the status quo.**  Roundup has been an integral
>   part of the CPython workflow for years.  It is a stable product
>   that has been tested and customized to adapt to our needs as the
>   workflow evolved.
>   It is possible to gradually improve it and avoid the disruption
>   that a switch to a different system would inevitabily bring to
>   the workflow.
> * **Open-source and Python powered.**  Roundup is an open-source
>   project and is written in Python.  By using it and supporting
>   it, we also support the Python ecosystem.  Several features
>   developed for bpo have also been ported to upstream Roundup
>   over the years.
> * **Fully customizable.**  Roundup can be (and has been) fully
>   customized to fit our needs.
> * **Finer-grained access control.**  Roundup allows the creation
>   of different roles with different permissions (e.g. create,
>   view, edit, etc.) for each individual property, and users can
>   have multiple roles.
> * **Flexible UI.**  While Roundup UI might look dated, it is
>   convenient and flexible.
>   For example, on the issue page, each field (e.g. title, type,
>   versions, status, linked files and PRs, etc.) have appropriate
>   UI elements (input boxes, dropdowns, tables, etc.) that are
>   easy to set and also provide a convenient way to get info about
>   the issue at a glance.  The number of fields, their values, and
>   the UI element they use is also fully customizable.
>   GitHub only provides labels.
>   The issue list page presents the issues in a compact and easy
>   to read table with separate columns for different fields.  For
>   comparison, Roundup lists 50 issues in a screen, whereas GitHub
>   takes two screens to shows 25 issues.
> * **Advanced search.**  Roundup provides an accurate way to search
>   and filter by using any combination of issue fields.
>   It is also possible to customize the number of results and the
>   fields displayed in the table, and the sorting and grouping
>   (up to two levels).
>   bpo also provides predefined summaries (e.g. "Created by you",
>   "Assigned to you", etc.) and allows the creation of custom
>   search queries that can be conveniently accessed from the sidebar.
> * **Nosy list autocomplete.**  The nosy list has an autocomplete
>   feature that suggests maintainers and experts.  The suggestions
>   are automatically updated when the experts index [#]_ changes.
> * **Dependencies and Superseders.** Roundup allows to specify
>   dependencies that must be addressed before the current issues
>   can be closed and a superseder issue to easily mark duplicates
>   [#]_.  The list of dependencies can also be used to create
>   meta-issues that references several other sub-issues [#]_.
> Improving Roundup
> =================
> This section lists some of the issues mentioned by :pep:`581`
> and other desired features and discusses how they can be implemented
> by improving Roundup and/or our instance.
> * **REST API support.**  A REST API will make integration with other
>   services and the development of new tools and applications easiers.
>   Upstream Roundup now supports a REST API. Updating the tracker will
>   make the REST API available.
> * **GitHub login support.**  This will allow users to login
>   to bugs.python.org (bpo) without having to create a new account.
>   It will also solve issues with confirmation emails being marked
>   as spam, and provide two-factor authentication.
>   A patch to add this functionality is already available and is
>   being integrated at the time of writing [#]_.
> * **Markdown support and message preview and editing.**  This feature
>   will allow the use of Markdown in messages and the ability to
>   preview the message before the submission and edit it afterward.
>   This can be done, but it will take some work.  Possible solutions
>   have been proposed on the roundup-devel mailing list [#]_.
> * **"Remove me from nosy list" button.**  Add a button on issue pages
>   to remove self from the nosy list.
>   This feature will be added during GSoC 2019.
> * **Mobile friendly theme.**  Current theme of bugs.python.org looks
>   dated and it doesn't work well with mobile browsers.
>   A mobile-friendly theme that is more modern but still familiar
>   will be added.
> * **Add PR link to BPO emails.**  Currently bpo emails don't include
>   links to the corresponding PRs.
>   A patch [#]_ is available to change the content of the bpo emails
>   from::
>      components: +Tkinter
>      versions: +Python 3.4
>      pull_requests: +42
>   to::
>      components: +Tkinter
>      versions: +Python 3.4
>      pull_request: https://github.com/python/cpython/pull/341
> * **Python 3 support.**  Using Python 3 will make maintenance easier.
>   Upstream Roundup now supports Python 3. Updating the tracker will
>   allow us to switch to Python 3.  The instances will need to be
>   updated as well.
> * **Use upstream Roundup.**  We currently use a fork of Roundup with
>   a few modifications, most notably the GitHub integration.  If this
>   is ported upstream, we can start using upstream Roundup without
>   having to maintain our fork.
> PEP 581 issues
> ==============
> This section addresses some errors and inaccuracies found in :pep:`581`.
> The "Why GitHub?" section of PEP 581 lists features currently
> available on GitHub Issues but not on Roundup.  Some of this features
> are currently supported:
> * "Ability to reply to issue and pull request conversations via email."
>   * Being able to reply by email has been one of the core features of
>     Roundup since the beginning.  It is also possible to create new
>     issues or close existing ones, set or modify fields, and add
>     attachments.
> * "Email notifications containing metadata, integrated with Gmail,
>   allowing systematic filtering of emails."
>   * Emails sent by Roundup contains metadata that can be used for
>     filtering.
> * "Additional privacy, such as offering the user a choice to hide an
>   email address, while still allowing communication with the user
>   through @-mentions."
>   * Email addresses are hidden by default to users that are not
>     registered.  Registered users can see other users' addresses
>     because we configured the tracker to show them.  It can easily
>     be changed if desired.  Users can still be added to the nosy
>     list by using their username even if their address is hidden.
> * "Ability to automatically close issues when a PR has been merged."
>   * The GitHub integration of Roundup automatically closes issues
>     when a commit that contains "fixes issue <id>" is merged.
>     (Alternative spellings such as "closes" or "bug" are also supported.)
>     See [#]_ for a recent example of this feature.
> * "Support for permalinks, allowing easy quoting and copying &
>   pasting of source code."
>   * Roundup has permalinks for issues, messages, attachments, etc.
>     In addition, Roundup allows to easily rewrite broken URLs in
>     messages (e.g. if the code hosting changes).
> * "Core developers, volunteers, and the PSF don't have to maintain the
>   issue infrastructure/site, giving us more time and resources to focus
>   on the development of Python."
>   * While this is partially true, additional resources are required to
>     write and maintain bots.
>     In some cases, bots are required to workaround GitHub's lack of
>     features rather than expanding. [#]_ was written
>     specifically to workaround GitHub's email integration.
>     Updating our bots to stay up-to-date with changes in the GitHub API
>     has also maintenance cost. [#]_ took two days to be fixed.
>     In addition, we will still need to maintain Roundup for bpo (even
>     if it becomes read-only) and for the other trackers
>     we currently host/maintain (Jython [#]_ and Roundup [#]_).
> The "Issues with Roundup / bpo" section of :pep:`581` lists some issues
> that have already been fixed:
> * "The upstream Roundup code is in Mercurial. Without any CI available,
>   it puts heavy burden on the few existing maintainers in terms of
>   reviewing, testing, and applying patches."
>   * While Roundup uses Mercurial by default, there is a git clone
>     available on GitHub [#]_.  Roundup also has CI available [#]_ [#]_.
> * "There is no REST API available. There is an open issue in Roundup for
>   adding REST API. Last activity was in 2016."
>   * The REST API has been integrated and it's now available in Roundup.
> * "Users email addresses are exposed. There is no option to mask it."
>   * Exposing addresses to registered and logged in users was a decision
>     taken when our instance was set up.
>     This has now been changed to make the email addresses hidden for
>     regular users too (Developers and Coordinators can still see them).
>     The "Email address"" column from the user listing page [#]_ has been
>     removed too.
> * "It sends a number of unnecessary emails and notifications, and it is
>   difficult, if not impossible, to configure."
>   * This can be configured.
> * "Creating an account has been a hassle. There have been reports of people
>   having trouble creating accounts or logging in."
>   * The main issue is confirmation emails being marked as spam.  Work has
>     been done to resolve the issue.
> Migration considerations
> ========================
> This section describes issues with the migrations that might not
> have been addressed by :pep:`581` and :pep:`588`.
> :pep:`588` suggests to add a button to migrate issues to GitHub
> only when someone wants to keep working on them.  This approach
> has several issues:
> * bpo will need to be updated in order to add a button that,
>   once pressed, creates a new issue on GitHub, copies over all
>   the messages, attachments, and creates/adds label for the
>   existing fields.  Permissions will also need to be tweaked
>   to make individual issues read-only once they are migrated,
>   and to prevent users to create new accounts.
> * The issues will be split between two trackers; searching issues
>   will take significant more effort.
> * The conversion from Roundup to GitHub is lossy, unless all
>   the bpo fields are converted into labels or preserved somewhere
>   else.
> * bpo converts a number of references into links, including
>   issue, message, and PR IDs, changeset numbers, legacy SVN
>   revision numbers, paths to files in the repo, files in
>   tracebacks (detecting the correct branch), links to devguide
>   pages and sections [#]_.  This happens when messages are
>   requested so it is possible to create the correct link (e.g.
>   all the file links used to point to hg.python.org and now
>   point to GitHub).
>   If the links are hardcoded during the migration, it will be
>   difficult (if not impossible) to change them later.  If they
>   aren't, they will either be lost, or a tool to generate the
>   links and updating them will need to be written.
> * GitHub doesn't provide a way to set and preserve issue IDs
>   if they are migrated automatically with the use of a button.
>   (Some projects managed to preserve the IDs by contaacting
>   the GitHub staff and migrating the issues *en masse*.)
> * On top of the work and changes required to migrate to GitHub
>   issues, we will still need to keep running and maintaining
>   Roundup, for both our instance (read-only) and for the Jython
>   and Roundup trackers (read-write).
> In addition to the issues listed in the "Open issues" section of
> :pep:`588`, this issues will need to be addressed:
> * GitHub is properietary and there is risk of vendor lock-in.
>   Their business model might change and they could shut down
>   altogether.
> * Switching to GitHub Issues will likely increase the number of
>   invalid reports and increase the triaging effort.  This concern
>   has been raised in the past in a Zulip topic [#]_.
>   There have been already cases where people posted comments on
>   PRs that required moderators to mark them as off-topic or
>   disruptive, delete them altogether, and even lock the
>   conversation [#]_.
> * Roundup sends weekly reports to python-dev with a summary that
>   includes new issues, recent issues with no replies, recent
>   issues waiting for review, most discussed issues, closed issues,
>   and deltas for open/closed/total issue counts [#]_.  The report
>   provides an easy way to keep track of the tracker activity and
>   to make sure that issues that require attention are noticed.
>   The data collect by the weekly report is also use to generate
>   statistics and graphs that can be used to gain new insights [#]_.
> * There are currently two mailing lists where Roundup posts new
>   tracker issues and all messages respectively: new-bugs-announce
>   [#]_ and python-bugs-list [#]_.  A new system will need to be
>   developed to preserve this functionality.  These MLs offer
>   additional ways to keep track of the tracker activity.
> References
> ==========
> .. [#] [Python-Dev] PEP 581 (Using GitHub issues for CPython) is accepted
>    https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2019-May/157399.html
> .. [#] [python-committers] [Python-Dev] PEP 581 (Using GitHub issues
>    for CPython) is accepted
> https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-committers/2019-May/006755.html
> .. [#] Experts Index -- Python Devguide
>    https://devguide.python.org/experts/
> .. [#] An example of superseded issues:
>    "re.sub() replaces only several matches"
>    https://bugs.python.org/issue12078
> .. [#] An example of meta issue using dependencies to track sub-issues:
>    "Meta-issue: support of the android platform""
>    https://bugs.python.org/issue26865
> .. [#] Support logging in with GitHub
>    https://github.com/python/bugs.python.org/issues/7
> .. [#] Re: [Roundup-devel] PEP 581 and Google Summer of Code
>    https://sourceforge.net/p/roundup/mailman/message/36667828/
> .. [#] [Tracker-discuss] [issue624] bpo emails contain useless non-github
>        pull_request number - users want a link to actual github PR
>    https://mail.python.org/pipermail/tracker-discuss/2018-June/004547.html
> .. [#] The commit reported in msg342882 closes the issue (see the history
> below)
>    https://bugs.python.org/issue36951#msg342882
> .. [#] The cpython-emailer-webhook project
>    https://github.com/berkerpeksag/cpython-emailer-webhook
> .. [#] A recent incident caused by GitHub
>    https://github.com/python/bedevere/pull/163
> .. [#] Jython issue tracker
>    https://bugs.jython.org/
> .. [#] Roundup issue tracker
>    https://issues.roundup-tracker.org/
> .. [#] GitHub clone of Roundup
>    https://github.com/roundup-tracker/roundup
> .. [#] Travis-CI for Roundup
>    https://travis-ci.org/roundup-tracker/roundup) and codecov
> .. [#] Codecov for Roundup
>    https://codecov.io/gh/roundup-tracker/roundup/commits
> .. [#] User listing -- Python tracker
>    https://bugs.python.org/user?@sort=username
> .. [#] Generating Special Links in a Comment -- Python Devguide
> https://devguide.python.org/triaging/#generating-special-links-in-a-comment
> .. [#] The New-bugs-announce mailing list
>    https://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/new-bugs-announce
> .. [#] The Python-bugs-list mailing list
>    https://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-bugs-list
> .. [#] An example of [Python-Dev] Summary of Python tracker Issues
>    https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2019-May/157483.html
> .. [#] Issues stats -- Python tracker
>    https://bugs.python.org/issue?@template=stats
> .. [#] s/n ratio -- Python -- Zulip
> https://python.zulipchat.com/#narrow/stream/130206-pep581/topic/s.2Fn.20ratio
> .. [#] For example this and other related PRs:
>    https://github.com/python/cpython/pull/9099
> Copyright
> =========
> This document has been placed in the public domain.
> ..
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