[RFC] Several levels of expertise for bzr

Michael Ellerman michael at ellerman.id.au
Fri Aug 11 02:20:37 BST 2006

On 8/11/06, Matthieu Moy <Matthieu.Moy at imag.fr> wrote:
> Hi,
> An idea that I've had for quite some time, and that it may be time to
> think about for bzr.
> Basically, the idea is to have a configuration option to say wether
> the user is novice, regular user or expert.
> The general ergonomy of bzr is designed to make it easy to start with.
> That is, the learning curve of the first tens of minutes is excellent.
> But after that, there are tradeouts that are not easy to make, like
> whether a given command should be in bzrtools or in the core, whether
> an option is worth adding to a command.
> I think a way to solve that is to have a configuration option,
> typically, in ~/.bazaar/bazaar.conf,
> # turn this to "regular" or "expert" when you think you are so.
> user_expertise = novice
> by default. As long as this is "novice", lots of commands would be
> hidden from "bzr help commands", some informative messages could be
> added here and there. For example, one could imagine this :
> $ bzr init
> Standalone branch created.
> Use "bzr add" to add files, and then "bzr commit"
> to create the first revision.
> $ bzr add
> $ bzr commit -m foo
> Revision commited locally. You may want to use "bzr push" to publish
> it.
> $ _
> (the kind of thing that I love to see the first time, but that would
> be too boring if it was allways on).
> This is how Gnus (Emacs newsreader) works, and I appreciated it.
> In particular, I think this would solve elegantly the problem of
> moving commands from bzrtools to bzr core. Dummy users will never
> change the configuration option, and won't be disturbed by advanced
> commands, while experts can activate all of them changing one line in
> a configuration file (nothing to install). Indeed, commands would
> already be usable but just hidden from help messages.
> Well, just my 2cents ;-).
> Any opinion?

In short, no. Having options or commands that appear or disappear
based on a magic[1] setting is only going to lead to more confusion.
Think of a user who happens to learn bzr on an "expert" install, on a
shared machine, and then installs bzr on their own machine, only to
find lots of commands missing.

I think having levels of help is ok, but it should just be "bzr help",
"bzr help commands" and (perhaps) "bzr help -v commands" etc.


[1] It's not magic to you and me, but it would be to a new user.

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