Having been a developer for more years than I care to count and having worked in the game industry for most of those years, I’ve grown used to looking at how development teams work by how they respond to and fix issues. So a few quotes on recent fixes in Inform (based on comments made for the fixes):
Seriously? This is design criteria for Inform?
Again: really? We’d rather continue to live with something that’s less effective simply because we already have been living with it? In reality, what this means is that you keep living with it and keep developing on top of it, making it that much harder to change later. (Of course, you probably won’t change it – you’ll just “live with it.”)
Nice. I take it this means “The fix that I believe may be correct may now be done, but it’s pretty fiddly, assuming it works.”
Ah. So if you work with a mechanic (turn count) that Inform makes manifestly part of the game, you “deserve what you get”? Interesting. Even if this is inherently true, it’s not necessarily helpful from a developer.
Another great statement about the internals of Inform. (There are actually quite a few comments throughout the Resolved tickets that indicate wording similar in intent to the above, although not quite so boldly stated.)
This was in reference to a series of changes made wherein it was necessary to “modify all of the SR’s ‘deciding whether all includes’ rules.” What this says is: “I’m not sure it was wise – but I did it anyway.” Interesting. That’s exactly how you build foundational issues into your codebase. Yet in another ticket we see this comment:
So: what’s the criteria for saying “I believe this is correct so I won’t change it” versus “I believe this is correct but I changed it anyway?”
There is a perfect example of the danger of letting too many bugs pile up. Stuff starts to get “fixed” as a result of other stuff but you’re not quite sure why or when. There are multiple cases of comments like this in the bug database, where it seems something was somehow fixed (maybe) based on some other work that (might) have been done.
I just thought this was interesting mainly because I like development archaeology: learning about a project by digging through what it leaves behind. These insights, if such they can be called, explain so much to me about Inform, from a development perspective – not a user perspective. (I say that just so the apologists can save their posts telling me “Inform is free” and “I should just be grateful.”) Now to be sure, I’m cherry picking and there are many good instances of comments that explain what is being done and why. But, as anyone who is concerned about development knows, you look for the little tidbits that explain why there might be systemic issues or where a system is hanging onto its past, sometimes to the exclusion of its future.