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Make AHK_L "main" version?


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Poll: Should AHK_L be promoted as "the" main version of AutoHotkey? (128 member(s) have cast votes)

Should AHK_L be promoted as "the" main version of AutoHotkey?

  1. Voted YES (I use AHK_L) (201 votes [76.14%])

    Percentage of vote: 76.14%

  2. YES (I use AutoHotkey Basic) (24 votes [9.09%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.09%

  3. NO (I use AHK_L) (8 votes [3.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.03%

  4. NO (I use AutoHotkey Basic) (24 votes [9.09%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.09%

  5. Other... (please comment) (7 votes [2.65%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.65%

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just me
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[*:2d14eyki]

Seeing this, I posted a complaint to the thread in the Announcement forum, but it got rather quickly deleted.

Whatever fincs has written, it cannot legitimate the deletion of his post. That's very bad style, moderators!

[*:2d14eyki]If AHK Basic will stand for "AutoHotkey" again, I'd think it's time to establish an own site for AHK_L.

just me
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Yes!

IsNull
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Poly, I fear you divide the community again by this hard step. People which didn't vote may just accept the current situation, and also will accept a new one.


That people come back which left because of AHK_L, should be considered relatively unrealistic. But that people will leave because they started using AHK_L is the more proper thing which will happen.

I support your opinion about the popularism of AHK, and I can see that AHK_L does some marketing errors. However, you removed something which was more advanced in particular points, but you don't provide a future! This is the worst thing you can do, because something which is not under active development will be ignored very fast.

Give the wolves something to bite.

I support your vision for making AHK simple and noob friendly. AHK will not be more noob friendly if you remove the advanced options from it. We must do that, what Lexikos should have done for AHK v2: Remove everything which is in any part inconsistent and build a very solid base. Then, add features to this new base.

Anyway here are some points:


[*:1lyh8jbd] Provide a solid future plan
[*:1lyh8jbd] Set up a proper plan for the language:
Future vision of AHK, and where it will be going.
A consistent, general purpose expression syntax.
Additionally introducing special keywords, which make the language more natural and better readable.
A proper marketing strategy.
[*:1lyh8jbd] A conses whit Lexikos/AHK_L developer would be greatSee AHK (v2) Development Process Optimization, if you don't plan to do everything alone.

For the very moment: Make AHK_L (Ansi build, 32bit) the default download, the old (= stable) scripts will still work, and the new Syntax too. Call it what ever you want.


Until there is no better future presented, the German Site will promote the AHK_L Version.

polyethene
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Once in a time, ...
... before the name Titan changed to polyethene, I was a big fan of you and you was the AHK hero to me. I understand you with the "stable" part of original AutoHotkey. It is the same thought of me, since AHK_L is out. I like your visions.

But...
... not in cost of the community. The community is already chipped ("angeschlagen" in German). I am not using AHK anymore, because of other reasons but I care what happens to this community. I think, you made a mistake.


Thank you for being one of the few to bring your concerns so respectfully and maturely. I decided not to respond to the abusive trolls like tank or nimda, who both resorted to insults and scathing personal remarks in a pathetic attempt to express their disagreement. It is for persons like them that I have less regard in the community at its current form.

I will try to use this post to explain the full justification for using AutoHotkey as the only download.

Project mismanagement

Ever since Chris has stepped down in his role of actively developing AutoHotkey and AHK_L came along the site has not experienced any growth. The community split into two factions and there was evidentially deep-rooted tensions between the parties. This became increasingly counter-productive as new members wrote their scripts, with the opposing party often flaming them for not using the 'correct' version.

The website was essentially cloned for AHK_L which led to duplicate content that had its own variations. This had the effect of confusing new members and broke the cohesion between them and the experienced users who would have otherwise helped if they were confident in which version of the documentation to instruct them with.

From the outset it was clearly apparent that the project was suffering a lack of leadership. Lexikos continued to work hard on what he does best while Chris maintained his presence behind the scenes, leaving other community members to haphazardly impose their wide range of conflicting views on new (and old) members. This was to the detriment of AutoHotkey and everything it stood for when it was conceived.

A new volunteer

When Chris had realised that the project could be revived with new leadership he turned to the community and asked volunteers to step forward. Few people replied. Nobody from this thread with strong opinions on AHK_L came forward to give their time, or even offer to assist as part of a team. I was therefore chosen to direct AutoHotkey with the help of sumon. For me it seems quite hypocritical to see the onslaught of criticisms now when the same people never offered to lend their help in the first place. After all, Chris has made the software freely available at no charge and is bearing the cost of running the server for the forums which many people take for granted.

I explained to Chris my passion for AutoHotkey and offered my time to help where it matters. I have offered to host the site on a new $2000/month server, spend $5000 more on advertising and promotions over the next year and most importantly give much of my severely limited time to the project. My intentions are sincerely in the best interests of the community, so nobody should be under the impression that I have a hidden agenda.

Of course my experience goes beyond systems administration, recording backups of the database and responding to emails. I have developed my own open source software which saw over 10 million downloads and brought in an excess of a quarter of a million pounds through advertisements alone. This would not have happened if I was unable to effectively market a software product and direct the management correctly. Using my experience I am confident that I could lead AutoHotkey to similar if not better levels of success.

Understanding the audience

As mentioned in previous posts my primary objective is to go back to the grass roots of AutoHotkey and target a non-programmer audience. Aligning AutoHotkey this way gives us the best path to penetrating what is already a saturated market of desktop programming tools.

Knowing that our audience does not have much of a technical background the website was specifically designed to look pleasant and inviting. I have followed the industry standard practices of offering a single download which is familiar to anyone who has used other popular software such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Pidgin, FileZilla and others. I will be inspecting the download counts and aggressively optimising the design and layout to yield the maximum download rate.

Why a bigger audience matters

An open source project thrives on an active user base, not customers. Anyone with a history in the Linux world will know of countless excellent projects which have been abandoned purely because the developers were unsatisfied with working for a small number of users. This is probably what led Chris to stepping down. Of course the opposite holds true as well, Nginx is a story of how a previously unknown Russian developer became a celebrity in the software engineering world by virtue of having an explosion in growth of his open source products, then subsequently landed millions of dollars in investment with his own studio in the US. While this is unlikely to happen for AutoHotkey, my vision aims to put us on a similar path.

A larger audience also brings in many practical benefits which are not limited to more scripts being published and more questions being answered. Finally, it also leads to past developers returning and picking up from where they left off.

A coordinated effort

AHK_L is not dead and contrary to popular belief is still clearly available to download on the website. When my plans to upgrade the forums and revamp the documentation are complete I would like to take an active role in coordinating the effort with AHK_L. This includes unifying the websites and gradually merging the two versions for a single product that everyone can be happy using. All this of course depends on Lexikos and I will need to make the time to carefully assess the best way to make progress, because so far nobody else has.

Time constraints

In conclusion, my planned changes are happening to benefit everyone involved and welcome new audiences to the project. I realise that criticisms and disagreements are to be expected from a management point of view, but I am not afraid to make the controversial decisions necessary to give AutoHotkey a new lease of life which can experience long-term success.

Like perhaps everybody I am extremely busy and have little time to spare outside my other priorities. I had agreed to manage the site for Chris many weeks ago but only had last night and this morning to start any substantial work. In the time I spent responding to the torrent of concerns I could have easily upgraded the forums, but the opportunity has been missed.

Anyone is welcome to give their input, but in the interests of making progress I would kindly ask that they are constructive. Complaining about which links appear on a webpage is not productive, and only shows a degree of ignorance.

autohotkey.com/net Site Manager

 

Contact me by email (polyethene at autohotkey.net) or message tidbit


fincs
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I'd like to thank you polyethene for clearly showing us your vision. However, I disagree on several points, and as requested I'll present here constructive criticism.

Ever since Chris has stepped down in his role of actively developing AutoHotkey and AHK_L came along the site has not experienced any growth. The community split into two factions and there was evidentially deep-rooted tensions between the parties. This became increasingly counter-productive as new members wrote their scripts, with the opposing party often flaming them for not using the 'correct' version.

The website was essentially cloned for AHK_L which led to duplicate content that had its own variations. This had the effect of confusing new members and broke the cohesion between them and the experienced users who would have otherwise helped if they were confident in which version of the documentation to instruct them with.

I fully agree that the (rather bitter) split into two factions was a bad thing for AutoHotkey. It's obvious that a redesign/revamp of the AutoHotkey site and brand would require to finally unificate the content. However, the way it was done is in my opinion incorrect. Honestly, I see no reason why to choose an old version over a new version in development. You have earlier argued that it's "stable and rock-solid", but that does not necessarily mean that it's the best option for the immediate future of AutoHotkey. If we only had that into consideration, we'd still be using Windows XP and IE6, like (too) many businesses do today.

As mentioned in previous posts my primary objective is to go back to the grass roots of AutoHotkey and target a non-programmer audience. Aligning AutoHotkey this way gives us the best path to penetrating what is already a saturated market of desktop programming tools.

I agree with this as well. But the current AutoHotkey_L is still great for non-programmers, since the new features are and have always been optional. Hotkeys, hotstrings and basic automation is still the same, and their simplicity is still a "selling point".

AHK_L is not dead and contrary to popular belief is still clearly available to download on the website. When my plans to upgrade the forums and revamp the documentation are complete I would like to take an active role in coordinating the effort with AHK_L. This includes unifying the websites and gradually merging the two versions for a single product that everyone can be happy using.

l.autohotkey.net is not the main website, autohotkey.com clearly is; and it is not available on the latter. On the issue of merging AutoHotkey Basic with AutoHotkey_L, I find no need to do a merge. AutoHotkey_L already contains all of AutoHotkey Basic's functionality, and doing a sieve of AHK_L functionality to be "merged back" would only divide this community further more, and cause more bitterness between community members. Not to mention that AHK_L is already here, and a future 'merged' version would take a considerable amount of time to design and develop, and in the mean time more people would be getting an old version of AutoHotkey; which would de-facto destroy the 3 years of progress. This is why I earlier stated my intention to leave if a consensus is not reached: I do not want to belong to a community where 99% of the users cannot use my scripts and I am not able to post any code because "it gives them syntax errors"; nor I want to go back to an old version and lose all the benefits that we have longed so much to get. And there's AutoHotkey v2, which in the future will succeed both AHK Basic and AHK_L.

In my opinion what should be done is very simple: get away with the _L suffix and rename it to just 'AutoHotkey', and this would be promoted as the only official version. (The old version would still be available on the archives). As for the rest, give Lexikos write access to autohotkey.com and hand over the AHK Basic repository and organization to him. This would allow him to replace the documentation in autohotkey.com/docs with the new one and have an official-looking Git repository. With this, the 'merge' would finally be complete and we would again have one single version that everybody can accept. And we sincerely appreciate your efforts at bringing new winds into this site and making it popular. Therefore, it would be best if you used your skills to improve the image of this potential new unified AutoHotkey, which would have a bright future.

And one last thing: we were not told beforehand that this was going to happen, let alone discussion was held. The result is that a vision was dictatorially imposed on the community without any consensus of any kind, and this is proven by the high amount of dissent posted on the forums since the change.

IsNull
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Thanks for this very informative post.

I would like to take an active role in coordinating the effort with AHK_L.

This is future. This is what you should have communicated in the first place, avoiding such a rumor ;)
I completely agree that sometimes a emergency stop is required. But if you cut off the current future, you have to provide your future plans in detail in the same turn.


Complaining about which links appear on a webpage is not productive, and only shows a degree of ignorance.

No poly. This is fear. You shocked people.
Because there is lack of trust in you as a person. Not because you are bad or anything like that. You act under an avatar like we all do. Its not that easy to trust someone those days behind a mask. Still after all, what you did for us.

What we really need is leadership, and as far as I can tell, you can provide it.

tank
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Call me what you will but

A coordinated effort

AHK_L is not dead and contrary to popular belief is still clearly available to download on the website. When my plans to upgrade the forums and revamp the documentation are complete I would like to take an active role in coordinating the effort with AHK_L. This includes unifying the websites and gradually merging the two versions for a single product that everyone can be happy using. All this of course depends on Lexikos and I will need to make the time to carefully assess the best way to make progress, because so far nobody else has.

I think this statement right here would have avoided much backlash. Or maybe that was the intent? Anyhow, forceful unification is in fact what is needed. and I think the above is an end goal that everyone can agree with. As far as the italicized. I take exception. I have made repeated overtures to help when macroman was involved and after spending hours writing the module to accept and display user comments in documentation he up and left. I offered my extensive MySQL skills for the migration of forum data to the phpBB v3. And even though there is no love between us i would offer the same to you. I have never claimed to be more in this community than the village idiot, but in this with a clearly stated forward plan. I agree and support the move no matter how shocking it may be. Further I would agree to help. My time is limited as well but anything i can lend to this product that has so become part of my livelihood will be given freely and without animosity

In my opinion what should be done is very simple: get away with the _L suffix and rename it to just 'AutoHotkey', and this would be promoted as the only official version.

I think that's quite alot of other peoples opinion also. Perhaps Poly would be willing to tell us what he thinks breaks and or what doesn't belong? Share his mind.

Again I think heavy handed moves are necessary. debate drives slow progress. Giving Lexikos development access and ability to update documentation if he in fact desires it seems the most logical move. One thing about Chris. while there was obvious rift between his vision of the future and some other members. He seemed to recognize that Laying out intentions clearly was necessary to the fine leadership he provided.
Never lose.
WIN or LEARN.

Elesar
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Thank you poly for the explanation.

The only thing I could ask that you had done was talk to the community before making massive sweeping changes such as this! I may not post on the forums much anymore, but I actively read nearly every thread, including those in the developers forum, and these changes were not mentioned once beforehand! That is what caused the rush of panic and fear that you brought on the community. In a community where communication nearly the only form of interaction, it is key. Please remember this in the future.

I will also voice the question again:
Why change back to Basic and "merge" AHK_L's changes when _L already contains all of Basic's functionality plus three years worth of bug fixes and new features? It is just as easy to use, easier in-fact because of several of the new features. Why the step back in functionality? Please communicate with the community that you claim to want to grow (not cull)!

tank
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i think one reason to revert for the time being is because the official documentation set does not match the current ahk_l
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comvox
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I am again heavy-handedness against ahk basic, and also against heavy-handedness against ahk_l. There are several versions of ahk; Pandora's box has been opened, and it's several years too late to mourn that fact. I think the difficulties involved with having this situation of several versions have been vastly exaggerated. "Unification" may or may not come in the future (there seems to be little of "unification" in the programming and scripting world in general), but trying to force it artificially is harmful. In my opinion, it is an outbreak of heavy-handedness, exaggerated self-assurance, refusal to consider other's experiences, and intolerance that poses the danger to ahk and the ahk forum.

There are arguments being given on favor of heavy-handedness, whether for this or that version. I would note that in this argument, one sometimes find people asserting that anyone else's experience is irrelevant. They have the killer argument that supposedly demolishes everyone else and renders everyone else's actual experience with scripting irrelevant, and so anyone who doesn't accept these killer arguments is supposedly just willfully stubborn. This attitude goes along with the problem of disregarding the problems that some of us actually have with objects or other programming techniques. That attitude would be harmful even if there were only one version of ahk.

tank
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sometimes its just the need to make a change and both being painfull the descision maker just goes with what he feels is best

given the plan to ultimately unify documentation and ahk_l code changes i think its a good choice
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DetroitAutoHotkey
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[*:3pge86gw]

Seeing this, I posted a complaint to the thread in the Announcement forum, but it got rather quickly deleted.

Whatever fincs has written, it cannot legitimate the deletion of his post. That's very bad style, moderators!

[*:3pge86gw]If AHK Basic will stand for "AutoHotkey" again, I'd think it's time to establish an own site for AHK_L.


How about Autohotkey Pro? lol. Actually I'm usually one to jump on things like this but since I would hope someone who actually knows this stuff ;) would jump on it.

autohotkeyl.com
autohotkey-l.com

are both available.

nimda
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@Benny_D I cannot debate the matter against an omnipotent censoring moderator; see here <!-- m -->http://www.autohotke... ... 466#526466<!-- m -->
@just me see my note here about a split <!-- m -->http://www.autohotke... ... 466#526466<!-- m -->

corrupt
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Understanding the audience

Respectfully, I don't think you have a clue. Well... good luck... cya. I have better things to do than to rewrite scripts 50 times to work with 50 different versions and I don't want to go back to an outdated version with limited functionality

fincs
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The only valid argument you've mentioned is for Unicode, but this is not a high priority since AutoHotkey is almost exclusively used by a Western audience.

I forgot to mention: Google Trends for 'autohotkey'. Note how many searches come from Asian countries. Not to mention there's a thriving Chinese community.