[GHC DevOps Group] The future of Phabricator

Boespflug, Mathieu m at tweag.io
Tue Oct 30 21:50:48 UTC 2018

Hi Ben,

On Tue, 30 Oct 2018 at 18:47, Ben Gamari <ben at well-typed.com> wrote:
> ...
> It occurs to me that I never did sit down to write up my thoughts on
> reviewable. I tried doing a few reviews with it [1] and indeed it is
> quite good; in many ways it is comparable to Differential. [...]
> However, it really feels like a band-aid, introducing another layer of
> indirection and a distinct conversation venue all to make up for what
> are plain deficiencies in GitHub's core product.

Sure. That sounds fine to me though, or indeed no different than say,
using GitHub XOR Gitlab for code hosting, Phabricator for review (and
only for that), and Trac for tickets (not ideal but no worse than
status quo). If Phabricator (the paid for hosted version) or
Reviewable.io really are the superior review tools, and if as review
tools they integrate seamlessy with GitHub (or Gitlab), then that's an
option worth considering.

The important things are: reducing the maintenance burden (by
preferring hosted solutions) while still meeting developer
requirements and supporting a workflow that is familiar to most.

> > So keeping the review UX issues aside for a moment, are there other
> > GitHub limitations that you anticipate would warrant automation bots à
> > la Rust-lang?
> >
> Ultimately Rust's tools all exist for a reason. Bors works around
> GitHub's lacking ability to merge-on-CI-pass, Highfive addresses the
> lack of a flexible code owner notification system, among other things.
> Both of these are features that we either have already or would like to
> have.

... and I assume based on your positive assessment, are both
out-of-the-box features of Gitlab that meet the requirements?

> On the whole, I simply see very few advantages to using GitHub over
> GitLab; the latter simply seems to me to be a generally superior product.

That may well be the case. The main argument for GitHub is taking
advantage of its network effect. But a big part of that is not having
to manage a new set of credentials elsewhere, as well as remembering
different user names for the same collaborators on different
platforms. You're saying I can use my GitHub credentials to
authenticate on Gitlab. So in the end we possibly wouldn't be losing
much of that network effect.

> > I'm not too worried about the CI story. The hard part with CircleCI
> > isn't CircleCI, it's getting to a green CircleCI. But once we're
> > there, moving to a green OtherCI shouldn't be much work.
> >
> Right, and we are largely already there!

That's great to hear.

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