Wow, after what feels like ages PHP 5.3.0alpha3 was just released. Originally we hoped to be able to release now intermediate releases every 2-3 weeks, this one took a good 2 months. Somehow this releases did its very best to stall itself. People that needed to work on things together by chance ended up being busy with other things and vacations in just the right order to make things impossible. Most of this was to be attributed to the namespace discussions, which climaxed in the backslash FUD campaign. I think we have finally a workable solution and its even documented! Greg even added a long promised FAQ. I am also happy to see that Christian got his rounding RFC committed.
We had to move the release date week after week through out November. Even the release for Tuesday had to be moved and when we started packaging yesterday we ran into some last minute issues on *nix. So Pierre finally had a final tag late last evening, when he stumbled over some build issues for the Windows binaries. But the windows dev team worked hard to make sure we would have binaries to go along the source release on the planned date.
As things are looking we can expect a stable release around the end of Q1 2009. I am quite disappointed that its taking this long. Obviously namespaces are to blame, but I think we had to go through this painful experience some day and it would have been cheap to hand it over to the next RM after have promised this feature once again.
Another interesting thing came out for me from this discussion. The namespace discussions became so unproductive at times, that some of the really good posts got lost. This even spawned some discussions about making internals@ readonly for non core developers, which were actually also suggested by the very same people that would get shut out. But I personally would find it very unfortunate if we would have to go this route. That being said, I recently ran a vote on a fair number of topics after the namespace debate had died down. I think this was probably the most efficient way we have ever dealt with so many decisions since the PHP3 days. It seems to me like there is this natural healing process, which brings the list back to a sensible state.
That being said I had a slightly different idea for if we really do need to reduce access to internals@. The idea would essentially make the list moderated. Core developers would get unmoderated access. Also any registered UG could define one ambassador that would also get unmoderated access. UG would be defined quite liberally as any group of people that represented more than lets say 10 developers. Also it could be a physical group or virtual. As a result large projects (say symfony, Drupal etc.) could also form such a UG. Members said UGs would then have to go through their ambassador.
The advantage would be that non core developers would get some more feedback before their thoughts get posted. However their ideas have a way to make it to internals. The ambassadors will probably also be monitoring internals@ more actively. So they will know more about recent discussions on the topic and the key players on the list. Lets face it, its all to easy to misunderstand each other due to cultural barriers. The more people know each other the less likely this is going to get in the way of a decent argument.
A side bonus would be that more people would start organizing themselves. This would actually probably encourage more interaction with internals, but a lot more focused/channeled. Also since the UGs would need to register with php.net, it would be easier to get in contact for things like the next testfest (or what about a docfrenzy to improve the documentation?).
The documentation is well written.
However, the fact that none of the php code is showing the backslash operator makes it really confusing for people.
I see Herman beat me to it. At first, I didn't realize what was going on. I thought maybe the namespaces were set up so that they operate on camelCase, but other examples weren't working that way. Then it hit me. The backslash met a backlash from the PHP manual...
Hope that gets fixed soon.
Yeah sorry about that. The syntax highlighting routine got confused by the new syntax. This should be fixed once the manual has been rebuild sometime today. Until then use the following url: http://docs.php.net/namespaces
Docs seem to be fixed now ..
I don't see why I need to be part of a user group to be able to say something on the list. Your proposal for me means that I would need to be a member of a group I have no interest in. Or are only group members able to say interesting things?
Atm the inertia to make internals@ readonly for non core developers seems to have gone away. But the point of my proposal was, if the alternative is that you cannot post to internals@ at all, this might still be a better approach than nothing. Of course if you really want to be able to post directly without joining a UG, you could still become a core developer (for example by submitting plenty of top notch patches for bug reports).