[asdf-devel] ASDF 2 frozen

Faré fahree at gmail.com
Sat May 1 19:01:48 UTC 2010

OK, so ASDF 1.711 is officially our release candidate. Consider the
git master frozen for anything but bug fixes and documentation. Please
use branches for any other development.

My next task is to find someone responsible for every implementation to
1- test it on each supported OS
2- actually commit it downstream

Below is the message I want to send to each implementation's
vendor support mailing-list.

[ François-René ÐVB Rideau | Reflection&Cybernethics | http://fare.tunes.org ]
The naturalistic fallacy: "if it's natural, it's good."
The anti-naturalistic fallacy: "if it's natural, it's bad."
The a-naturalistic fallacy: "nature has no relationship to good and bad."


Dear <vendor developers>,

could you test the current release candidate of ASDF 2 (version 1.711)
with your implementation, send us fixes for any glaring bug, and
otherwise include it in any alpha-testing release channel for users
of your implementation? I think it's mostly ready, and I'd like to
have it widely tested before actual release.

ASDF 2 is an evolution of ASDF that tries to be backwards compatible
with previous releases and their many extensions, while at the same time
improving the user experience.

ASDF 2 is in pre-release mode. Hopefully we'll release it in May 2010
without any code change (except maybe for some tweaks to enhance support
for some Lisp implementations on some operating systems), and
with slightly enhanced documentation (notably based on your feedback).

I'm using it ITA; recent versions are already included in ECL and ABCL;
several hackers have tried building plenty of packages with it.
While it's far from perfect and only a relatively small evolution,
I believe it's already notably better enough than the previous generation
of ASDF that I'd like to get it out to the world, and doesn't have any
egregious regression from ASDF 1.

What has changed since ASDF 1 is documented at the following page:

Improvements include:

* portably handle naming of files wrt directory, type, host/device, etc.

* a builtin user-configurable output translation mechanism,
 superseding asdf-binary-locations and previous hacks in
 common-lisp-controller and cl-launch.

* a user-configurable source registry system for finding systems
 (the old *central-registry* is still available)

* improved portability to many implementations.

* improved support for Windows (though configuration is still lacking
 implementation-dependent support except on LispWorks)

* many bug fixes

* the test suite while still largely incomplete covers more cases
 and is more robust across implementations.

* notable performance fixes for large systems with thousands of components

* API improvements: load-system, system-relative-pathname, etc.

* better documentation

* a sensible versioning system for ASDF 2 itself, that can be now be
 upgraded in a running system. This allows in the future to more easily
 decouple the releases of ASDF and those of your implementation.

* better support various extensions as used by ECL and ABCL,

Main pitfalls include:

* Output translations is enabled by default. This may surprise some users,
 most of them in pleasant way (we hope), a few of them in an unpleasant way.
 It is trivial to disable output translations.

* Some systems in the large have been known not to play well with
 asdf output translations. They were easy to fix.
 It is also easy to disable output translations or override its configuration.

* ASDF 2 output translations do not work with ASDF-Binary-Locations. They
 replace A-B-L, and include a compatibility mode to emulate your previous
 A-B-L configuration. But you shouldn't load ABL on top of ASDF 2.

* A notable performance bug on SBCL: (directory "**/*.asd") can make things
 slower than desired when initially searching for asd files (depending on
 your configuration).

* On Windows, when not using cygwin, only LispWorks has proper defaults
 for configuration pathnames. Other implementations make do. Patches welcome.
 Windows support is largely under-tested, too.

As to how to best include ASDF in your implementation,
here is an excerpt from the FAQ section of our manual:

12.3.2 “I'm a Common Lisp implementation vendor.
       When and how should I upgrade ASDF?”

Starting with current candidate releases of ASDF 2, it should always
be a good time to upgrade to a recent version of ASDF. You may consult
with the maintainer for which specific version they recommend, but the
latest RELEASE should be correct. We trust you to thoroughly test it
with your implementation before you release it. If there are any
issues with the current release, it's a bug that you should report
upstream and that we will fix ASAP.

As to how to include ASDF, we recommend the following:

* If ASDF isn't installed yet, then (require :asdf) should load the
version of ASDF that is bundled with your system. You may have it load
some other version configured by the user, if you allow such

* If your system provides a mechanism to hook into CL:REQUIRE, then it
would be nice to add ASDF to this hook the same way that SBCL, CCL and
ABCL do it.

* You may, like SBCL, have ASDF be implicitly used to require systems
that are bundled with your Lisp distribution. If you do have a few
magic systems that come with your implementation in a precompiled way
such that one should only use the binary version that goes with your
distribution, like SBCL does, then you should add them in the
beginning of wrapping-source-registry.

* If you have magic systems as above, like SBCL does, then we
explicitly ask you to NOT distribute asdf.asd as part of those magic
systems. You should still include the file asdf.lisp in your source
distribution and precompile it in your binary distribution, but
asdf.asd if included at all, should be secluded from the magic
systems, in a separate file hierarchy, or you may otherwise rename the
system and its file to e.g. asdf-ecl and asdf-ecl.asd, or sb-asdf and
sb-asdf.asd. Indeed, if you made asdf.asd a magic system, then users
would no longer be able to upgrade ASDF using ASDF itself to some
version of their preference that they maintain independently from your
Lisp distribution.

* If you do not have any such magic systems, or have other non-magic
systems that you want to bundle with your implementation, then you may
add them to the default-source-registry, and you are welcome to
include asdf.asd amongst them.

* Please send us upstream any patches you make to ASDF itself, so we
can merge them back in for the benefit of your users when they upgrade
to the upstream version.

[ François-René ÐVB Rideau | Reflection&Cybernethics | http://fare.tunes.org ]
Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind,
as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.
	— G.K. Chesterton

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