On Saturday 29 April 2006 01:41, Timwi wrote:
I have to
admit that this is a very good point, I think an API is
something that can be difficult to change once it's written because
by definition once it's out there other programs will rely on it
staying the same. Getting it right the first time is better than
trying to retain backwards compatibility with a badly designed sytem.
Writing an API is a big responsibility, especially if it ever gets
used with something as hugely significant as Wikipedia.
Well, I've been kind of thinking on the following lines: Each MediaWiki
wiki administrator - in the case of Wikipedia that would be Wikimedia -
can monitor what API calls are still regularly used. It's not really
something like HTML where you want backwards compatibility because you
don't know how many millions of unmaintained old documents still exist
and still want to be read. We do. We can tell if the usage level of an
old API function has dropped below a certain threshold, at which case
we can decide to stop supporting it. Although we will end up requiring
some tool developers to use the new API and some users of unmaintained
tools to use other tools, we can be sure that it won't be many. Hence I
don't think backwards compatibility is going to be a huge long-term
requirement for us.
Other wikis will use the same code, thus the same API, and there will be
tools around that will work on these wikis on v1.x.y and break on v1.x.z.
So, IMHO backwards compatibility is of the uttermost importance, hence its
important to "get it right" the first time.
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