[darcs-users] should 'changes' be renamed 'log'? (was: Re: SchwernLikesDarcs SchwernHatesDarcs)

Ivan Stankovic pokemon at fly.srk.fer.hr
Sun Mar 20 22:02:13 UTC 2005

On Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 12:25:59PM -0800, Michael G Schwern wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 12:41:03PM +0100, Thomas Zander wrote:
> > On Sunday 20 March 2005 10:45, Michael G Schwern wrote:
> > > Looking through the list for the command I want, that's only useful if
> > > I'm thinking the same way you are.  As mentioned with "change" vs "log"
> > > I've been trained to look for "log" from CVS/SVN usage thus it took me a
> > > while to notice the "changes" command is what I want.
> > 
> > The overview of commands needs some love, thats true; also every new tool 
> > takes some time to learn.  Fooling our users into believing its a drop in 
> > replacement for cvs/svn is certainly going against everything a usability 
> > person should be aware about..  Imagine: "The commands are the same, but it 
> > does different things!"
> There is the opposite extreme.  "It does the same thing, but the commands
> are different!"

And what do you think, which one will be less surprising?

> With any system the faster you can get a user up and usefully working the
> more likely it is they'll adopt that system.  darcs can take a leg up in
> those crucial first few minutes by using command aliases to let CVS users
> feel comfortable with the basic operations which are in common.  I can
> teach someone darcs faster than I can teach them Subversion because the
> initial setup is so fast and unmagical.  I can use darcs without having
> to know about the distributed aspects.  For those crucial first 5 minutes
> when the user is being bombarded with new concepts its nice for them to have
> something familiar to grab onto.

FWIW, I didn't notice my knowledge of cvs commands/workflow helped me grasp
darcs faster.  Sure, some experience with other SCM tools is helpful, but I
wouldn't give it such high importance.  Most of darcs users (including you, 
IIRC) say they could learn the basics within five minutes, so why bother
adding aliases (which is generally perceived as The Bad Thing) and changing
the interface to look more like cvs or svn?  And if the newbies just take
some time to read the _really_ fine darcs manual they'll help themselves
immensely; the terminology and overall darcs working isn't so hard to learn
and it really makes you more productive.  Do we really want to disguise
darcs as Yet Another CVS Replacement and hide darcs' power away from the
new users?  If you make all the commands cvs-compatible, I'm afraid most new
users will just think "it's a better cvs" and won't bother to learn more.

By the way, I spent countless hours figuring out how to use tla effectively
and eventually gave up.  Darcs turned out to be a blessing.  Really, if 
spending 5 minutes to get up and running with a tool sounds too much for a 
new user, I think the problem is not the tool, it's the user.

Ivan Stankovic, pokemon at fly.srk.fer.hr

More information about the darcs-users mailing list