Workflow for Contributors

Workflow for the Fortran stdlib contributors

This document describes our current workflow.

We welcome everyone and anyone to participate and propose additions to stdlib. It is okay if you do not have experience for specification or implementation, but have an idea for stdlib. If the idea is popular among the community, more experienced contributors will help it through all 5 steps.

  1. Idea: You have an idea or a proposal. Open an issue to discuss it. This is on the level of "is there interest in having image reader/writer functions in stdlib?" The goal of this step is to find out if the community is interested in having this functionality as part of stdlib.

  2. API: When there seems to be significant interest in the proposal (vast majority of participants think it is a good idea), move on to discuss the specific API. It's OK to propose the API off the bat if you already have an idea for it. This step is exploratory and its goal is to find out what the API should look and feel like.

  3. Specification: Discuss the API and iterate. When there is vast majority approval for the API, move on to implement it and submit a PR. Small PRs are always better than large. It is OK to implement only a few functions of a new module, and continue work on the others in a later PR. All new functionality goes into an "experimental" namespace (version: experimental). As part of the PR, when submitting a new public facing API, please provide the initial draft of the specification document as well as the initial reference implementation of this specification. The specification is a document that describes the API and the functionality, so that anyone can use it to create an implementation from scratch without looking at stdlib. The stdlib library then provides the reference implementation.

  4. Implementation in experimental: When opening a PR, request reviews from one or more people that are most relevant to it. These are likely to be people involved in prior steps of the workflow. Other contributors (not explicitly invited) are encouraged to provide reviews and suggestions as well. Iterate until all (or most) participants are on the same page. A merge is permitted if there are unit tests for a majority of the possible calling scenarios (with or without optional arguments, with arguments that trigger an error) and if there is vast majority approval of the PR.

  5. Release: Moving from experimental to release. The experimental "namespace" contains new functionality together with its specification. In order to move from experimental to release, the specification document must be approved by the wide community and the standards committee (informally). If that happens, it has now been blessed for broad use and we can move the code into the main section of stdlib, and the particular specification document becomes part of the Fortran Standard Library.

Note: the general term "vast majority" above means at least 80%, but ultimately it is left to our best judgement to ensure that the community agrees that each PR and proposal was approved by "vast majority".

You are welcome to propose changes to this workflow by opening an issue.