[isabelle-dev] Isabelle NEWS as a blog ?

Makarius makarius at sketis.net
Tue Jul 14 11:19:39 CEST 2009

On Sat, 11 Jul 2009, Lucas Dixon wrote:

> What do people think of having the Isabelle NEWS file as a blog?
> I suspect people might be better at using it (both reading and contributing) 
> than the current NEWS file...

What is so difficult about reading/writing a plain text file? While I am 
occasionally reading other people's blogs, I do not even know how to write 
one myself, let alone administrating one in correspondence with a 
fast-moving repository.

There might be a misunderstanding what the NEWS file actually is.  The 
main purpose of the Isabelle repository content is to become an official 
release at some point.  Here the NEWS will inform users about "relevant 
changes".  A copy of it will also show up on the official website.

Just before a release, the NEWS file is refined and updated to ensure that 
it is consistent with the delivered version of the sources.  In contrast, 
NEWS can be incomplete and incorrect in any intermediate stage of Isabelle 
development, but contributors are urged to document user relevant changes 
as soon as possible, in order that things are not forgotten for the 
release.  (I reckon that half of the changes after Isabelle2009 have not 
shown up in NEWS yet.)

If you want to stay informed about ongoing changes of the repository, you 
need to look at the logs produced by Mercurial, say via hgtk, the web 
interface, or RSS/Atom feed.  But that log is not really for "announcing" 
things, because proper log entries are mainly meant to describe changes 
semantically to enable understanding of the history of sources many months 
or years later.  Log entries of the form "now we have finished this" or 
"now we have fixed that" would be usually wrong anyway.


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