Re: [Vala] The future of Vala
- From: Dmitry Golovin <dima golovin in>
- To: "vala-list gnome org" <vala-list gnome org>
- Subject: Re: [Vala] The future of Vala
- Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 18:10:06 +0300
08.09.2016, 20:33, "Timm Bäder" <mail baedert org>:
this is probably just a mail for Jürg and maybe Luca, but if you have a
relevant opinion on the matter, that might be a fine reply as well.
So, for quite a while the Vala project has seen very little activity.
The three people most involved (Jürg, Luca and Flo) are barely on IRC
and/or otherwise reachable which makes it hard to get an opinion or info
from them. On the other hand, some people are still doing a great job,
namely Rico with all the binding work, as well as Evan (I haven't kept
up with what Al is doing other than replying to bugzilla issues that
won't be fixed unless it's a binding issue).
Lots of people are worried about how the project will stay alive (or
if), and quite a lot of projects are written in Vala (including one I
maintain) -- and people keep porting projects from C to Vala, mostly
hoping for more contributions, hoping the Vala's C#-like syntax scares
off less people.
Now, we all know that Vala has enough bugs that need to get fixed, as
well as lots of potential for improvements (I'll just disregard all the
wishes for special syntax for fringe features on IRC, that's not what
I'm talking about). Some of them are easy to fix but even if the patches
are present in bugzilla and their author is willing to fix them after
a review, the review just never happens. This doesn't just cause those
bugs to stay unfixed, but those people will also never get accustomed
to the internals of valac and so they will never work on anything more
important than this simple fix.
I have tried in the past to do exactly that and post some patches for
simple fixes to get an understanding of valac internals but it's quite
frankly huge and there's not a real high-level documentation one could
work with (apart from a few very old blog posts form Luca) and neither
working tools do debug it (I've once spent a few hours on fixing valag
but then gave up...).
So... what's the deal here? Is there any way forward one could look
into? Is it wip/transform? IIRC there was some dbus stuff broken here?
Are there any TODO items for cleaning up the compiler? Should we just
tell people to not use Vala in the first place (which would be better
for the in the long run)? All of these are fine, but the current
situation not so much.
At first I didn't want to enter this discussion, because it targeted certain people, the Vala programmers,
and I am not a programmer.
I use Vala in my own projects as well as in company's projects just because I have free choice of programming
language and I like Vala, so why not?
It would be very sad if Vala stopped being supported, but I don't think it would ever happen because a lot of
GNOME applications are written in Vala, and now we also have elementaryOS and Budgie Desktop.
I really like Vala because it is designed to be cross-platform, but unlike Java or C# it is "write once,
compile anywhere". I really like the simplicity of Vala and the fact that it did replace Mono at least for
Vala is good for writing desktop apps with the best GTK+ bindings so far, Vala compete for server-side web
with Valum, Vala can also handle client-side web with caja, Vala is suitable for embedded programming with
posixvala, Vala is even okay for microcontrollers with avr-vala. I don't really know how abandoned the listed
projects are, but the idea is very good.
What I'd like to see is more platforms support: Android, iOS, web-browser. I know that there is GLib port for
Android, so it should not be a problem to support this platform, I remember there was a cross-compilation
success story from 2013. There should also be a iOS port, I even remember seeing valac 0.15 compiled for iOS.
The browser should be a problem because GLib does not work with Emscripten, don't really know about
The other thing that is missing is a place with good code examples. There are few examples on GNOME Wiki
(some of them are pretty outdated), there are very nice Cairo drawing examples in related documentation, but
if you want something else, you just search for code in real projects (usually GNOME apps). There should be a
website with collection of all possible Vala examples that encourages more people to use Vala and has a
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