Idris2/CONTRIBUTING.md -rw-r--r-- 7.8 KiB
6aa808e5 — Johann Rudloff [ci] Install incremental compilation files for idris-api a month ago

#Contributing to Idris 2

We welcome contributions! This document describes how you can contribute to Idris 2, and the kind of contributions which will most benefit the project.

Please remember when making contributions via pull requests, though, that Idris is primarily a research project, and we are a small team, which limits the time we have available for reviewing and maintaining PRs. Nobody works full time on Idris - we're a team of academics and students at a university with other demands on our time such as teaching, and writing and presenting research papers, which will always take priority. This also means we have to be careful to make sure that we can commit to maintaining any new features which are contributed.

This document outlines: the kinds of contributions we will almost certainly accept; those we might accept; those we might accept after a proposal and discussion; and, those we almost certainly won't. The guidelines here are based on decisions we've previously made, and the way we have managed PRs in practice up to now.

#General comments

Overall, when making a contribution, please try to make sure they follow the general philosophy of the Idris project, which can be summarised as follows:

  • Idris aims to make advanced type-related programming techniques accessible to software practitioners
  • Idris allows software developers to express invariants of their data and prove properties of programs, but will not require them to do so

Many contributions will require acccompanying tests and documentation updates. Bug fixes in particular should be accompanied by tests, to avoid future regressions.

Library functions should be total as far as possible, and at least covering where total is not possible.

Different people have different preferences about coding style. In general, we haven't been too prescriptive about this. If you're editing a source file, try to be consistent with the existing style choices made by previous authors. We may need to be more formal about this in future!

Please remember to update CHANGELOG.md, and if it's your first contribution you can add yourself to CONTRIBUTORS.

In all cases, a pull request must have a short description (one sentence is usually enough) that explains its purpose. However obvious you think it might be, it really helps when reviewing the changes.

#Things we will almost certainly accept

  • Anything which fixes an issue on the issue tracker
    • In this case, please make sure you include a new test
  • More tests, which test new features or, more importantly, existing features which are not exercised enough in the existing tests
    • Note that the 'test' subdirectory is intended for testing the type checker and compiler, not specifically for testing libraries. However, we do need a better way of testing libraries! (More on this below)
  • Rewrites of existing features which demonstrably improve performance
  • Documentation, and improvements to documentation generation tools
  • Improvements to existing tool support, including:
    • Type-driven program synthesis
    • :search and related REPL commands
    • Interactive editing
  • Contributions of missing library functions, including proofs, which were available in Idris 1 - at least on the assumption that we still think the function is important enough, which gets increasingly unlikely over time!

#Things we might accept

  • Additions to the contrib libraries
    • However, please consider whether it would be better as a separate library. If something is in the Idris2 repository, we need to commit to maintaining it to some extent, so we have to be sure that we can do so. You can find (and contribute to) a list of libraries on the wiki <https://github.com/idris-lang/Idris2/wiki/Libraries>_.
    • For any library additions, please try to include as many documentation strings as you can.

#Things that should be discussed via the issue tracker first

  • New language features
    • Syntactic sugar, for example, is nice but any new feature needs to be worth the additional burden it places on programmers learning the language
  • Changes to any of the core representations (TT and CExp in particular)
    • These have been fairly stable for a while, and external tools using the Idris 2 API may be depending on them
  • Changes to prelude and base libraries
    • 'prelude' and 'base' are, in some sense, part of the language. There are a lot of trade offs to be made in the design of the prelude especially - such as interface hierarchies - and while you may not agree with the way it looks, by and large these decisions have already been made so there must be a compelling reason for them to be changed.
  • Any fundamental changes to build system, library structure, or CI workflow
  • Major refactorings (e.g. reorganisation of imports, mass renamings). These may be a good idea, but they are often merely a matter of taste, so please check whether they will be considered valuable first.
  • A new approach to testing libraries: we don't have a unit testing or property testing framework as part of the Idris system, itself, though it would be valuable for testing the prelude and base libraries. This would be nice to have, so proposals are welcome.

#Things we probably won't accept

  • Minor refactorings. You may be making the code more beautiful, or more to your taste, but please remember that every PR has to be reviewed, and if it takes more time to run the tests and review it than it took to make the change, it's costing us time rather than saving it.
    • On the other hand, tidying up code as part of a larger PR is very welcome. We encourage following the camp site rule: leave the code tidier than you found it!
  • Primitive updates without a strong justification
    • Primitives increase the burden on back end authors, for example. They may be necessary to support a new library, if a foreign function call is not appropriate, but we won't accept a primitive on the basis that it could be useful in future.
  • Requests to migrate libraries from contrib to base. We do need to organise libraries better, but this will be better achieved with a good package manager.
  • Fancy REPL features (e.g. readline, history, tab completion). We definitely want this, but it would be better implemented as a separate tool using the Idris 2 API, to minimise the maintenance burden on the compiler.
  • Similarly, anything which adds an external dependency. We aim to keep dependencies minimal for ease of initial installation.
  • New back ends. You can implement new back ends via the Idris 2 API - and indeed several people have. The back ends in this repository are limited to those we are able to commit to maintaining.

#Other possible contributions

There's plenty of other things that might be good ideas. If it isn't covered above, and you're in doubt as to whether it might be a good idea, please let us know that you're considering it and we can discuss how well it will fit. Please just remember that whatever you contribute, we have to maintain!

Good places to discuss possible contributions are:

  • The mailing list <https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/idris-lang>_.
  • The Idris community on Discord (Invite link) <https://discord.gg/YXmWC5yKYM>_
  • The issue tracker (in this case, please make your proposal as concrete as possible).

#On performance

If you're editing the core system, or adding any features, please keep an eye on performance. In particular, check that the libraries build and tests run in approximately the same amount of time before and after the change. (Although running faster is fine as long as everything still works :))