Implementing PLIPS

All About PLIPS

What Is A PLIP

A PLIP is a Plone Improvement Proposal.

It is a change to a Plone package that would affect everyone.

PLIPs go through a different process than bug fixes because of their broad reaching effect.

The Plone Framework Team reviews all PLIPs to be sure that it’s in the best interest of the broader community to be implemented and that it is of high quality.

PLIP OR Bugfix?

In general, anything that changes the API of Plone in the backend or UI on the front end should be filed as a PLIP.

When in doubt, submit it as a PLIP.

The Framework Team is eager to reduce its own workload and will re-classify it for you.

If the change you are proposing is not in the scope of a PLIP, a GitHub pull-request or issue is the right format.

The key point here is that each change needs documentation so the change can be tracked and understood.

Who Can Submit PLIPs?

Anyone who has signed a Plone core contributor agreement can work on a PLIP.

Don’t let the wording freak you out: signing the agreement is easy and you will get access almost immediately.

You do not have to be the most amazing coder in the entire world to submit a PLIP.

The Framework Team is happy to help you at any point in the process.

Submitting a PLIP can be a great learning process and we encourage people of all backgrounds to submit. When the PLIP is accepted, a Framework Team member will “champion” your PLIP and be dedicated to seeing it completed.

PLIPs are not just for code monkeys, if you have ideas on new interactions or UI your ideas are more than welcome.

We will help you pair up with implementers if needed.

What Is A PLIP Champion?

When you submit your PLIP and it is approved, 1 Framework Team member who is especially excited about seeing the PLIP completed will be assigned to your PLIP as a champion.

They are there to push you through completion as well as answer any questions and provide guidance.

A champion should:

  • Answer any questions the PLIP implementor has, technically and otherwise
  • Encourage the PLIP author by constantly giving feedback and encouragement
  • Keep the implementer aware of timelines and push to get things done on time
  • Assist with finding additional help when needed to complete the implementation in a timely matter

Keep in mind that champions are in passive mode by default.

If you need help or guidance, please reach out to them as soon as possible to activate help mode.

Can I get Involved In Other Ways?

If you want to feel the process and how it works, help us review PLIPs as the implementations finish up.

Ask one of the Framework Team members what PLIPs are available for review or check the status of PLIPs at the GitHub issues page for Products.CMFPlone for issues tagged with “03 type: feature (plip)”.

Make sure to let us know you intend to review the PLIP by communicate that to the Framework Team.

Then, follow the simple instructions for reviewing a PLIP.

Thank you in advance!

When Can I Submit A PLIP?

Today, tomorrow, any time!

After the PLIP is accepted, the Framework Team will try to judge complexity and time to completion and assign it to a milestone.

You can begin working immediately, and we encourage submitting fast and furious.

When Is The PLIP Due?

Summary: As soon as you get it done.

Technically, we want to see it completed for the release to which it’s assigned. We know that things get busy and new problems make PLIPs more complicated and we will push it to the next release.

In general, we don’t want to track a PLIP for more than a year.

If your PLIP is accepted and we haven’t seen activity in over a year, we will probably ask you to restart the whole process.

When Your PLIP Is Not Accepted

If a PLIP isn’t accepted in core doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.

It is often the case that there are competing implementations and we want to see it vetted as an add on before “blessing” a preferred implementation.

Process Overview

  1. Submit a PLIP (at any time).
  2. PLIP is approved for inclusion into core for a given release.
  3. Developer implements PLIP (code, tests, documentation).
  4. PLIP is submitted for review by developer.
  5. Framework Team reviews the PLIP and gives feedback.
  6. Developer addresses concerns in feedback and re-submits if necessary.
  7. This may go back and forth a few times until both the FWT and developer are happy with the result.
  8. PLIP is approved for merge. In rare circumstances, a PLIP will be rejected. This is usually the result of the developer not responding to feedback or dropping out of the process. Hang in there!
  9. After all other PLIPs are merged, a release is cut. Standby for bugs!

How To Submit A PLIP

Whether you want to update the default theme or rip out a piece of architecture, everyone should go through the PLIP process. If you need help at any point in this process, please contact a member of the framework team personally or ask for help at the Framework Team Space.

A PLIP is a GitHub issue on Products.CMFPlone with a special template and a specific tag.

To get started, open a new issue, the issue will be prefilled with headings and comments for a bug or a PLIP, remove the bug part. Fill in all applicable fields. After submitting, select the tag 03 type: feature (plip) for the issues.

When writing a PLIP, be as specific and to-the-point as you can.

Remember your audience - to get support for your proposal, people will have to be able to read it!

A good PLIP is sufficiently clear for a knowledgeable Plone user to be able to understand the proposed changes, and sufficiently detailed for the release manager and other developers to understand the full impact the proposal would have on the codebase.

You don’t have to list every line of code that needs to be changed, but you should also give an indication that you have some idea that how the change can be feasibly implemented.

After your PLIP is written, solicit feedback on your idea on the Plone Community Forum.

In this vetting process, you want to make sure that the change won’t adversely affect other people on accident.

Others may be able to point out risks or even offer up better or existing solutions.

Please note a few things:

  • It is very rare that the “Risks” section will be empty or none.
  • If you find this is the case and your PLIP is anything more than trivial, maybe some more vetting should be done.
  • The seconder field is REQUIRED.

We will send the PLIP back to you if it is not filled in. Currently, this is just someone else who thinks your PLIP is a good idea, a +1.

In the near future, we will start asking that the seconder is either a coding partner, or someone who is willing and able to finish the PLIP should something happen to the implementer.

Evaluating PLIPs

After you submit your PLIP, the Framework Team will meet within a couple weeks and let you know if the PLIP is accepted. If the PLIP is not accepted, please don’t be sad!

We encourage most PLIPs to go through the add on process at first if at all possible to make sure the majority of the community uses it.

All communication with you occurs on the PLIP issue itself so please keep your eyes and inbox open for changes.

These are the criteria by which the framework team will review your work:

  • What is size and status of the work needed to be done? Is it already an add-on and well established?
  • Is this idea well baked and expressed clearly?
  • Does the work proposed belong in Plone now, in the future?
  • Is this PLIP more appropriate as a qualified add-on?
  • Is this PLIP too risky?

See the Reviewing PLIPs page for more information.

Implementing Your PLIP

You can start the development at any time - but if you are going to modify Plone itself, you might want to wait to see if your idea is approved first to save yourself some work if it isn’t.

General Rules

  • Any new packages must be in a branch in the plone namespace in GitHub. You don’t have to develop there, but it must be there when submitted. We recommend using branches off of the github.com/plone repo and will detail that below.

  • Most importantly, the PLIP reviewers must be able run buildout and everything should “just work” (tm).

  • Any new code must:

Creating a New PLIP Branch

Create a buildout configuration file for your PLIP in the plips folder. Give it a descriptive name, starting with the PLIP number; plip-1234-widget-frobbing.cfg for example.

The PLIP number is your PLIPs issue number.

This file will define the branches you’re working with in your PLIP along with other buildout configuration.

It should look something like this:

In file plips/plip-1234-widget-frobbing.cfg:

[buildout]
extends = plipbase.cfg
auto-checkout +=
    plone.somepackage
    plone.app.someotherpackage

[sources]
plone.somepackage = git https://github.com/plone/plone.somepackage.git branch=plip-1234-widget-frobbing
plone.app.someotherpackage = git https://github.com/plone/plone.app.somepackage.git branch=plip-1234-widget-frobbing

[instance]
eggs +=
    plone.somepackage
    plone.app.someotherpackage
zcml +=
    plone.somepackage
    plone.app.someotherpackage

Use the same naming convention when branching existing packages, and you should always be branching packages when working on PLIPs.

Working on a PLIP

To work on a PLIP, you bootstrap buildout and then invoke buildout with your PLIP config:

$ virtualenv .
$ ./bin/pip install -r requirements.txt
$ ./bin/buildout -c plips/plip-1234-widget-frobbing.cfg

If you are using a local.cfg to extend your plip file with some changes that you do not want to commit accidentally. Be aware that you need to override some settings from plipbase.cfg to avoid some files being created in the plips directory or in the directory above the buildout directory. Like this:

[buildout]
extends = plips/plip-1234-widget-frobbing.cfg
develop-eggs-directory = ./develop-eggs
bin-directory = ./bin
parts-directory = ./parts
sources-dir = ./src
installed = .installed.cfg

[instance]
var = ./var

Finishing Up

Before marking your PLIP as ready for review, please add a file to give a set of instructions to the PLIP reviewer.

This file should be called plip_<number>_notes.txt. This should include (but is not limited to):

  • URLs pointing to all documentation created / updated
  • Any concerns, issues still remaining
  • Any weird buildout things

Once you have finished, please update your PLIP issue to indicate that it is ready for review. The Framework Team will assign 2-3 people to review your PLIP. They will follow the guidelines listed at Reviewing PLIPs.

After the PLIP has been accepted by the framework team and the release manager, you will be asked to merge your work into the main development line. Merging the PLIP in is not the hardest part, but you must think about it when you develop.

You’ll have to interact with a large number of people to get it all set up. The merge may cause problems with other PLIPs coming in. During the merge phase you must be prepared to help out with all the features and bugs that arise.

If all went as planned the next Plone release will carry on with your PLIP in it. You’ll be expected to help out with that feature after it’s been released (within reason).