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RE: Paying off tech debt and correctly naming things


I agree with Jason Brown: good topic to address, effect not trivial.  Going whole hog too risky.  Careful meticulous small areas at a time with warning to everyone so they can chime in if they are working on that area and would prefer it left alone for now.  

I wouldn't want it to delay others things.  For example, not sure where everyone is on this but, if Reaper was integrated in Cassandra so it just worked away in Cassandra without needing any installation or attention of any kind - in time for version 4.0 - would be really cool.

Kenneth Brotman

-----Original Message-----
From: Jason Brown [mailto:jasedbrown@xxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2018 7:14 AM
To: dev@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Paying off tech debt and correctly naming things

Jon,

Thanks for bringing up this topic. I'll admit that I've been around this code base for long enough, and have enough accumulated history, that I probably can't fully appreciate the impact for a newcomer wrt naming.
However, as Josh points out, this situation probably happens to "every non-trivially aged code-base ever".

One thing I'd like to add is that with these types of large refactoring changes, the review effort is non-trivial. This is because the review still has to ensure that correctness is preserved and it's easy to overlook a seemingly innocuous change.

That being said, I am supportive of this effort. However, I believe it's going to be best, for contributor and reviewer, to break it up into smaller, more digestible pieces. I'd also like to request that we not go whole hog and try to do everything in a compressed time frame; reviewer availability is already stretched thin and I'm afraid of deepening the review queue, especially mine :)

Thanks,

-Jason




On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 6:41 AM, Josh McKenzie <jmckenzie@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> > Some of us have big patches in flight, things that actually pay off 
> > some technical debt, and dealing with such renames is rebase
> hell :\
> For sure, but with a code-base this old / organically grown, I expect 
> this will always be the case. If we're talking something as simple as 
> an intellij rename refactor, while menial, couldn't someone with a 
> giant patch just do the same thing on their side and spend half an 
> hour of their life clicking next? ;)
>
> > That said, there is good time for such renames - it’s during those 
> > major refactors and rewrites. When you are changing a subsystem, 
> > might as well do the appropriate renames.
> Does that hold true for a code-base with as much static state and 
> abstraction leaking / bad factoring as we have? (i.e. every 
> non-trivially aged code-base ever) The combined approach takes a 
> change that's already non-trivially dealing with complex subsystem 
> changes and injects a bunch of trivial renaming noise across unrelated 
> subsystems into the signal of an actual logic refactor.
>
> On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 9:31 AM, Aleksey Yeshchenko 
> <aleksey@xxxxxxxxx>
> wrote:
> > Poor and out-of-date naming of things is probably the least serious 
> > part
> of our technical debt. Bad factoring, and straight-up
> > poorly written components is where it’s really at.
> >
> > Doing a big rename for rename sake alone does more harm than it is 
> > good,
> sometimes. Some of us have big patches
> > in flight, things that actually pay off some technical debt, and 
> > dealing
> with such renames is rebase hell :\
> >
> > That said, there is good time for such renames - it’s during those 
> > major
> refactors and rewrites. When you are
> > changing a subsystem, might as well do the appropriate renames.
> >
> > —
> > AY
> >
> > On 20 March 2018 at 22:04:48, Jon Haddad (jon@xxxxxxxxxxxxx) wrote:
> >
> > Whenever I hop around in the codebase, one thing that always manages 
> > to
> slow me down is needing to understand the context of the variable 
> names that I’m looking at. We’ve now removed thrift the transport, but 
> the variables, classes and comments still remain. Personally, I’d like 
> to go in and pay off as much technical debt as possible by refactoring 
> the code to be as close to CQL as possible. Rows should be rows, not 
> partitions, I’d love to see the term column family removed forever in 
> favor of always using tables. That said, it’s a big task. I did a 
> quick refactor in a branch, simply changing the ColumnFamilyStore 
> class to TableStore, and pushed it up to GitHub. [1]
> >
> > Didn’t click on the link? That’s ok. The TL;DR is that it’s almost 
> > 2K
> LOC changed across 275 files. I’ll note that my branch doesn’t change 
> any of the almost 1000 search results of “columnfamilystore” found in 
> the codebase and hundreds of tests failed on my branch in CircleCI, so 
> that 2K LOC change would probably be quite a bit bigger. There is, of 
> course, a lot more than just renaming this one class, there’s 
> thousands of variable names using any manner of “cf”, “cfs”, 
> “columnfamily”, names plus comments and who knows what else. There’s 
> lots of references in probably every file that would have to get updated.
> >
> > What are people’s thoughts on this? We should be honest with 
> > ourselves
> and know this isn’t going to get any easier over time. It’s only going 
> to get more confusing for new people to the project, and having to 
> figure out “what kind of row am i even looking at” is a waste of time. 
> There’s obviously a much bigger impact than just renaming a bunch of 
> files, there’s any number of patches and branches that would become 
> outdated, plus anyone pulling in Cassandra as a dependency would be 
> affected. I don’t really have a solution for the disruption other than 
> “leave it in place”, but in my mind that’s not a great (or even good) solution.
> >
> > Anyways, enough out of me. My concern for ergonomics and naming 
> > might be
> significantly higher than the rest of the folks working in the code, 
> and I wanted to put a feeler out there before I decided to dig into 
> this in a more serious manner.
> >
> > Jon
> >
> > [1] https://github.com/apache/cassandra/compare/trunk...
> rustyrazorblade:refactor_column_family_store?expand=1 < 
> https://github.com/apache/cassandra/compare/trunk...
> rustyrazorblade:refactor_column_family_store?expand=1>
>
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