I think the reason things are the way they are is likely to be lack of time on the part of our BDFL. It would take time and effort to set up a process for these Elm explorations to be coordinated, managed and evaluated.
Here is a suggestion of how I think we could set up our own Elm explorations that functions better and opens the door to contribution.
Fork the compiler and rename it as requested above. I sort of like the name ‘Elm Pro’ - Elm but with a more professional attitude (not to imply that people here don’t have a profession attitude, I guess I mean an attitude that is better aligned to professional needs and adoption). Perhaps that is too close to the original name.
Clone and modify the package repo to create a brand new empty one. This one will accept kernel code, so long as it is from the ‘elm-experiments’ or ‘elm-pro’ namespace (or some other names) on github.
Modify compiler so it extends the moratorium on kernel code to ‘elm-experiments’ and ‘elm-pro’ namespaces. To use an ‘elm-experiment’ a flag must be passed to the compiler
--experimental. The reason for this, is so that users must opt in and know that they are using experimental code - there is no come-back to complain if an experiment is abandoned or removed. Perhaps the version numbers on experiments could even be kept under 1.0.0.
Modify compiler so it will also install packages from a new primary repo described in 2. If a package is not found in 2, it will fall-back to package.elm-lang.org. In fact, 2 will probably set itself up to mirror package.elm-lang.org, rather than redirect to it.
The new package repo will not accept any non-kernel packages, unless they depend on kernel packages that already exist in it. This is so these pure Elm packages find their proper home in package.elm-lang.org.
Create a written set of rules for a new project to be started in
elm-experiements. Set expectations and a minimum barrier to entry but the aim would be to be quite open to new ideas.
Decide and write down the rules for moving a project from
elm-pro once it has reached sufficient maturity and quality. The quality gate needs to be stronger here obviously than for creating an experiment. The process needs to be transparent and fair.
The forked compiler could find a new home somewhere like apache.org. I don’t really know if that is the right place, its just somewhere grown up that knows how to manage open source communities. You want somewhere that can bring some impartial supervision to a project - so there is somewhere to go if you need to complain, get advice on how to manage things, etc. Somewhere with some standards, like forcing a project to have a written set of rules and guidelines to contributing and so on. Anyway, maybe Apache is not possible because of its licence, does it clash with the existing Elm compiler licence?
The forked eco-system would have a stated aim that all new kernel based API functions must be pure functions. Exposing non-pure functions is grounds for a package to be removed, or rolled-back to its last pure version.
There is an opportunity for a forked compiler to get some patches applied to it to fix long-standing bugs. This is a slightly risky thing in a set up like this, as a package may depend on a compiler bug. I think some odd things around how arithmetic behaves in Elm should be left alone for example. But the recently referenced bug around the debugger overflowing the stack is an example of something that could be safely fixed (would need to fork and patch the
elm/virtual-dom package to fix that one). You want to fix bugs but without changing the intended behaviour - its probably best to be fairly conservative about this, at least to begin with.
The closer the forked compiler remains to the original - the better. Could continue to track all new releases of it that way. The forked version would also build original version code, so no need to keep switching between them. You could even symlink it to
elm on your system.
I don’t know about you, but since the coronavirus started, I’m down to about 2 days a weeks computer time due to home commitments. I also have done the due diligence on my current project and satisfied myself that the existing Elm eco-system can do everything I need it to. So I don’t have the time or energy to do something like this.
Also note, this is not meant as a 2 fingers to anybody or some kind of hostile attempt to undermine things. The idea popped into my head so I just want to put it out there and see what people think - in a grown up way please.
I also think the steps I outlined above are a minimum effort plan to getting a working elm-explorations and as a lazy engineer my brain always likes to throw up the MVP. It really is not going to do any good complaining about not having a working elm-explorations - its seems pretty clear that will not change anything.