[Bf-funboard] UI talk + session at bconf

david j davidj at gmail.com
Thu Sep 26 19:20:40 CEST 2013

On Sep 26, 2013 6:44 AM, "Brecht Van Lommel" <brechtvanlommel at pandora.be>
> Regarding that spline handle change, it seems like a big change that
> would have an impact on animation workflow, and the one reply you got
> from an experienced animator is that they don't consider it a bug.

I made two different patches, one with the behavior change and one without.
You are talking about the one with a behavior change. Below is the one I
was referring to which does *not* change behavior...


I don't want to derail this into a discussion about my tiny patches, but I
do think it's an interesting micro-view into the process proposals I'm
talking about.

Even that tiny patch above, which changes no behavior, has a "UI Change".
While talking with artists about my proposed behavior change, they asked if
I could add visual feedback for rotation constrained handles. I was already
knee deep in that code, so it was trivial to add *something* (I draw the
handle as a "T" if it is rotation constrained) A committer accepting the
patch is put in the odd position of also approving that UI change.

If there was a separate UI-approval process, I would have created that
ticket, with screenshots, had the artists weigh in on it, possibly with
better visual ideas, someone would have approved it, and my patch would
contain a link to the UI approval.

Returning to the contentious proposed behavior change, it's true I received
conflicting feedback about it. However, what I did not receive is any well
considered choice about which was is better. Saying it is "not a bug", is
not the same thing as "this is the right path for the future of bender".
For example, in this case, there are reasons to reconsider how this works.
When discussing on IRC, one person who "likes it the way it is", also said
they would like the full vocabulary of spline handle manipulations from
other tools, including mirroring --- which do handle-sets like my proposed
behavior change.

Let's try to avoid starting a discussion here about the handle-set change,
which isn't my aim. We can do that elsewhere. My point is, UI design
decisions are not made by committee. A bunch of voices saying "don't change
it" and other voices saying "do change it" does not lead to a well informed

This is what I'd like to see out of a structured UI approval process. Even
if the person with authority over that decision disagrees is not convinced,
which is very possible, at least decisions would be getting made allowing
possible progress. From my limited view, I'm not the only one who feels
progress can get stalled merely for lack of any way to get a decision made.

> Well, the whole point of the review is that it's not possible to trust

> a developer not experienced in some area to get it right.

I understand that is the BF reason for code reviews, but this is not how
all projects view code reviews.

IMO, code reviews should not be about paranoia and distrust, but about
raising the quality bar because two eyes are better than one. Having code
"seen" by someone else helps enforce coding standards and generate better
ideas. This doesn't require them to deeply understand the code or issues,
it just requires them to take a look, and ask a question or two.

As long as they can trust a UI approval process took care of making sure
the UI changes are approved, they understand enough to trivially
QA/validate the behavior of the code, and the alpha/beta/RC release process
will catch bugs which slip through, this level of distrust in code-reviews
is not necessary.

The irony, viewed through my micro-patch above, is that the function my
patch rewrites would never pass any code-review I've ever been a part of.

Cleanly separating the UI-approval process from code-review would have
helped clarify the path forward for both patches.

Changing the mentality about code-reviews in blender, now that the release
process is improved, will help more efficiently leverage this work from
external developers, and also encourage them to make more contributions by
helping them feel their work is appreciated instead of needless sitting on
the vine.

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