Becoming a team member#
Team members are selected based on their contributions to the GitHub project and their domain expertise for a given subsystem.
The subsystems eligible for maintainence in Node.js are the following:
- A subsystem for every core module exported
lib/of the repository, and if applicable its corresponding
- The build system
- The test harness
- Our interface to V8
A team member may be responsible for multiple of these subsystems, and subsystems may be maintained by multiple team members.
Team members are added by the existing team after identifying an interested candidate. Candidates are active members of the community, with consistent high quality contributions. They have excellent communication skills, they are excited to work on Node.js, and interested in the quality and future of Node.js.
All changes should follow the contribution guidelines for pull requests. Simple and straight forward bug fixes that are obvious to the subsystem maintainer or other core team members may be committed without review. All other changes require review by at least one team member before being pushed to the public repository, ideally by the subsystem maintainer.
Non-controversial changes only need one team member to review before pushing to the public repository. Complicated changes need review by at least one of the subsystems maintainers. Controversial changes or breaking API changes should first be discussed with the wider team and other stake holders.
Exercise common sense when integrating changes. It's expected that integrated changes will have broad consensus. Presuming the change was properly scoped it is rare that a change itself would be controversial. Work to receive feedback from other subsystem maintainers, and stake holders in the community before integrating your change.
All core team members should be subscribed to the GitHub issues and actively monitoring the discussions happening in them. We should be aiming to solve issues and integrate as many useful pull requests as possible in as timely as a fashion as possible.
Issues are meant to track what is still left to be done, so while there may not be a team member currently assigned to the task, leaving it open is ok as someone in the community may come along and decide to help us.
Discussions on issues should be civil and empathetic towards the reporter and community participating in them. The reporter has taken the time to inform us of what they believe to be a deficiency in Node.js and even if we may not always agree, we should still treat each other with respect.
The team collaborates in IRC, members should be hanging out and answering questions from other team members where possible. There are also scheduled calls where the team collaborates with each other to discuss more complex issues as well as making sure no one is blocked on anyone else. These calls are mostly helpful to discuss architecture and the roadmap.
The roadmap is scoped by the core team, as informed by you, our users. Releases happen as often as is necessary and practical, but never before work is complete. The team has a strong desire to release high quality code for every release. We know that bugs are unavoidable, but the pressure to release a new version is always outweighed by releasing software that is as correct as we can make it. That commitment to quality software is one of our core tenets of the project.
Patch releases are defined as bug, performance, and security fixes. They do not change or add any public interfaces. They do not change the expected behavior of a given interface. They are meant to correct behavior when it doesn't match the documentation, without also introducing a change that makes seamless upgrades impossible.
Minors are the addition and refinements of APIs or subsystems. They do not generally change APIs or introduce backwards compatible breaking changes, except where unavoidable. These are mostly completely additive releases.
Majors are where we can introduce breaking changes. They are also where we identify what the API is we will be supporting for the foreseeable future. Making a move to a new major is a difficult conversation, and requires care and appropriate scoping.
Features and APIs can be added into Node.js when their need is clear, there are clean, useful, agreeable APIs, and there are known consumers. For instance, it may be the case that when implementing core functionality for Node.js another lower level API may be identified that could have utility beyond Node.js itself. When those APIs are identified, we can chose to expose them.
Take for instance the
EventEmitter, the need to have an event subscription
model for core modules to consume was clear, and that abstraction clearly had
utility beyond core itself. Not that this interface couldn't be implemented as
external to Node.js, it's just that Node needed the abstraction for itself and
in turn exposed it for others.
Alternatively it may be that many people in the community are all adopting a pattern to handle common needs that are not currently satisfied by Node, or they are implementing a feature that should clearly be delivered by default for all Node.js consumers. It's also possible that many in the community are adopting a change that requires a compiled asset that can be difficult to deliver in all environments. At that point, Node.js may decide to incorporate those changes directly.
Adopting a new API however, is not taken lightly. Node.js has a strong commitment to backwards compatibility. As such it is necessary to have lots of input and conversation around the addition of a new API before it's added into Node. Even when we've identified a suitable API it's also important to have clearly identified the consumers of the API.
It may be that we need to deprecate a feature or API of Node. Doing so takes a lot of time and consideration before marking something as deprecated. We need to make sure we understand to the best of our ability who is using an API, and how that API is being used. In the case where an API is overwhelmingly in use by the community, what is the need for marking the API deprecated? Do we have a replacement API, is there a transitionary path that we can socialize? How many iterations of versions do there need to before the API can be completely removed? Is there a polyfill module that can be consumed from the community in order to avoid as much pain as possible?
In short its not impossible for APIs to be deprecated, but just like the adding of APIs, deprecating of an API is not something to be taken lightly.