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Why isn't anybody helping Chris with the original branch?


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ezuk
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Hi all,

I interviewed Chris for DownloadSquad about AHK a while back, and as you know, the project isn't dead but will not be moving soon (at least not if we all depend on Chris alone).

I've seen some nice efforts from other coders, but they're all in their own branches.

As a non-coder, I'm curious: Why isn't anybody pitching in on the original branch? Is it badly coded, antiquated, or what?

After all, I am sure you know that a new AHK version ("official" branch) will see a much higher adoption rate than any "alternative" version. Right?

[Moved from Wish List forum. ~jaco0646]

RaptorOne
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Easier said than done!

I as C++ Coder, (now since 3 Years), dont understand his code.
If Chris made an little documentation like what does this file and this and....
It will be easiyer to understand his code and then more People will work
on it.

so far Raptor



Ps:
sry for google Translate english

ezuk
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Easier said than done!

I as C++ Coder, (now since 3 Years), dont understand his code.
If Chris made an little documentation like what does this file and this and....
It will be easiyer to understand his code and then more People will work
on it.


Okay, that's a good answer Raptor, thanks.

Is this the consensus on this? Anybody else? Is the problem undocumented code?

tank
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I think your missing something EZUK
People are helping
Lexikos,polyethene,fincs,Sean,Micha have all added to and or upgraded there own copies and provided the source in hopes that the owner of the origional branch will do as they have done. Collaborate and merge.

The problem stems from Chris not wanting a programing language. He refuses to see It must do both for it to advance. It must remain a simplified scripting language. It must also support more robust programmer uses. He doesnt seem interested in implementing things like arrays, objects, COM, MSAA, debuggers, because he views thes as only usefull to programmers and a handfull of users. He hasnt come to realise that in order to automate a greater range of applications effectively these are necesary. Perhaps with a gajillion nice wrappers but incorperate these non the less
Never lose.
WIN or LEARN.

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Is the problem undocumented code?

...I doubt it, have you seen the amount of comments in there!?!...I think the problem is there is no central place for the code, no one but Chris has write-access. That's why I believe Lexikos branched, he wanted to make his own & not need Chris to approve each change (I'm completely guessing here, but it sounds logical). If I felt like compiling AutoHotkey, that would be my reason to branch: I don't have write-access to the main branch (so even if it's not Lexikos's reason, it would be mine).

However, I think the current AutoHotkey, as it is, is dead. IronAHK will be the next big thing, but I would hope IronAHK could be released as "AutoHotkey"...I don't like the name "Iron" & if Autohotkey, in it's current state, is dead, then it don't need to hold on to the name.

I hope Chris will bless IronAHK as "AutoHotkey 2.0"

ezuk
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I think the problem is there is no central place for the code, no one but Chris has write-access.


Interesting -- that's a tidbit I did not know. Too bad I didn't know this when I interviewed Chris -- I wonder why this is. Has Lexikos or anyone else asked for write access? Or do people just assume Chris doesn't want to grant it, despite not having asked at all?

I hope Chris will bless IronAHK as "AutoHotkey 2.0"


That would be an interesting way out of it, too. Although personally, I hope Chris's involvement with the community is not over.

I think Chris should really monetize AHK in some way. I can understand why he doesn't have the power to keep working at it when he makes no money out of it at all, plus has to pay for all of the hosting. And I think plenty of people would be willing to donate or pay for the project in some way.

tank
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I read somewhere by somone who claims to know him in person that he has adequete donations to cover expences. so i dont think thats it. he just doesnt seem to have the interest to move it in its logical direction
Never lose.
WIN or LEARN.

jaco0646
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There are three reasons Chris remains the sole developer of AHK. All of them have been touched on already, but to summarize.

1.

As a non-coder,

This is the primary reason. AHK is, by design, a community of non-coders; 99% of the community does not assist with development for the same reason you don't: because they can't. You may suppose that you are addressing a large group when asking why more developers don't work on the source. In reality, you are talking to roughly five people. Sinkfaze once expressed this more eloquently.

That's kind of the double-edged sword of AHK; you provide a lite quasi-programming language intended for people who have little or no such experience, you attract said users and then they're unable to contribute in ways beyond their abilities.


2.

The problem stems from Chris not wanting a programing language.

It's not only Chris. For example, I would have deep reservations about such a dramatic shift in focus myself. I generally despise products (not only software, but tangible products as well) that attempt to be one-size-fits-all. In software, the outcome is inevitably bloat. It is inaccurate to assume that since AHK works wonderfully for niche X that it must be equally wonderful for market Y.

3.

no one but Chris has write-access.

It's true that Chris maintains a role as gatekeeper. For that to ever change, a person would have to be found who possesses several characteristics.[*:2i7kew0g]Ability[*:2i7kew0g]Time[*:2i7kew0g]Interest[*:2i7kew0g]PerspectiveOf these, perhaps the last is most important. Relating to the quote from tank in #2, there is no developer who entirely shares Chris's views on the direction of the project. Related: SuperAHK.

jaco0646
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People are helping

On another note, I strongly agree with this. Why do so many insist on marginalizing the amazing contributions that others have made?

RaptorOne
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Is the problem undocumented code?

...I doubt it, have you seen the amount of comments in there!?!...

You mean????
If I want perhaps fix one bug in the Gui code than i have to know 9000+ Lines. I would need more than 2-10hours (or more) to find the place.

But in one Point i Agree with you:
I Hope IronAhk will be Autohotkey 2.0

and again sry for my bad english

jaco0646
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I can say with some confidence that no branch/fork/port of AHK will ever become version 2. That ship sailed 2-3 years ago when Chris first started to lose interest. AHK itself was never going to become a new version of AutoIT. Remember that Chris was the one to go his own way, with his own project, rather than conform to the vision of others. I think he sees AHK's versions in the same way: each developer should be free to create what he likes, especially when it differs from previous projects. That's the spirit of open source software.

As hugov pointed out in the SuperAHK thread, each user should choose the tool that best fits the task at hand. You don't build a whole house with only a hammer, any more than you develop all software with only one language.

ezuk
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1.

As a non-coder,

This is the primary reason. AHK is, by design, a community of non-coders; 99% of the community does not assist with development for the same reason you don't: because they can't.


The same can be said about virtually any OSS project, Linux included. The developers are always a tiny minority, while the rest are just plain old users.

Also, the developers do exist, and have already spent countless hours creating deriviatives such as SuperAHK, IronAHK and all the rest.

This is what spurred my question: The manpower is here; the will obviously exists; work is being done. But it's being done in a way which wastes it, to a large degree. Instead of bolstering AHK, this thing is fracturing away.

2.

The problem stems from Chris not wanting a programing language.

It's not only Chris. For example, I would have deep reservations about such a dramatic shift in focus myself. I generally despise products (not only software, but tangible products as well) that attempt to be one-size-fits-all. In software, the outcome is inevitably bloat. It is inaccurate to assume that since AHK works wonderfully for niche X that it must be equally wonderful for market Y.


I think the vision is pretty clear, and I fully agree with you. I am mainly talking about bugfixes and adding the really obvious stuff, like arrays. It's stuff that's been written, but needs to be incorporated into the product itself.

Relating to the quote from tank in #2, there is no developer who entirely shares Chris's views on the direction of the project. Related: SuperAHK.


But when I interviewed Chris, he was completely willing for someone to take part in it.

I have a strong feeling the guys developing the alternative versions did not really _want_ to branch into AHK itself. That's what I'm curious about -- how did that dynamic go?

ezuk
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I can say with some confidence that no branch/fork/port of AHK will ever become version 2. That ship sailed 2-3 years ago when Chris first started to lose interest. AHK itself was never going to become a new version of AutoIT. Remember that Chris was the one to go his own way, with his own project, rather than conform to the vision of others.


I must disagree with you on this one, completely.

Chris did not lose interest -- had this been true, why did he agree to be interviewed, and conducted this whole lengthy interview with me? He really replied, too -- did not brush me off. And he did not promote anything else, but rather genuinely seemed to care.

Also, he said that there's an open invitation for other developers to take part. So this is what I'm trying to figure out -- why has this not been happening? Did the other guys ask, and what did Chris say?

ezuk
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Also, I've noticed someone moved this thread over to "General Chat". Is anyone else moderating the forum, or can I assume Chris saw the thread?

(If so, Hi Chris! And feel free to join in, if so inclined, or reach me over email.)

jaco0646
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The same can be said about virtually any OSS project,

Not to the extent of AHK. Even Linux is intended for a tech-savvy audience, which is why Windows maintains its monopoly. Case in point:

The developers are always a tiny minority,

If there were developers (plural) the forum wouldn't have a new post every month asking where Chris is. The singular developer brings "tiny minority" to another level.

I think the vision is pretty clear,

I agree. It is also pretty boring, which is one reason development has "fractured away." This is not a bad thing. The diversity is much more interesting.

Chris... was completely willing for someone to take part in it.

Yes, in all the ways he mentioned four years ago in AutoHotkey Needs You, which is why he linked you to that post. Note that numerous users are contributing in all of those ways. Most of them don't involve AHK's source, which seems to be the issue of this thread.

I must disagree with you on this one, completely.

I will clarify that my "confidence" does not come from thin air. It stems from several long discussions with Chris over the past six months. Right now, I also oppose another version being deemed version 2, a sentiment that I've shared with him. Related: updates?

Chris did not lose interest

He has lost interest in development (whether he will regain it is a topic for another, hypothetical, thread). That does not mean he has lost interest in AHK. I think it will always be his baby. Additionally, Chris is a genuinely decent human being. I would be shocked if he had given you anything other than a courteous and thoughtful response.

someone moved this thread

Please have at look at the top post.