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Re: [XBoard-devel] Hi from a new member of the xboard team

From: Tim Mann
Subject: Re: [XBoard-devel] Hi from a new member of the xboard team
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2011 15:35:00 -0800

Hi, Byrial. Welcome to the team.

You have hit on some of the reasons I got tired of working on xboard/WinBoard years ago.  :-)

I did always try to fix warnings back when I was the main person working on it, and more recently have fixed a few more from time to time when I make some little contribution. Are you enabling more than -Wall, or is it just that more warnings have crept in since the last time I looked?


On Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 2:41 PM, Byrial Jensen <address@hidden> wrote:

I am Byrial Jensen, and I recently joined the xboard team.

I have been a professional programmer. Among other things I have used C to do server programming, but I don't have too much experience with GUI programming - and I find all that X, Xt, and Xaw stuff difficult to grasp.

I am also a member of the Danish language team, and my translation of xboard to Danish and subsequent testing caused a number of bug reports.

I don't know how much I will involve me with xboard, but I suppose that I will mostly concentrate on testing and bug fixing.

I am not very impressed with the maintainability of the code:

 - There is a lot numeric values for variables and function arguments with special undocumented meanings. That makes the code hard to read and understand.

 - There is a lot of generic functions with handle many special cases, with code pieces for each case woven into each other. That makes it hard to understand what the functions really do for which of the cases they handle.

 - Many functions are too long and do too much.

 - The is too few code comments. Specially I would like to see descriptions of function interfaces.

 - The code generates tons of compiler warnings if enabled. That renders warnings useless to find real bugs. That's a pity because many common errors i C which are syntactically correct can often casue compile warnings.

I would like to improve on these things. However if I make non-functional changes to e.g. the master branch, it will make the difference between the branches bigger, and it will be harder to move code between branches. So I would like to hear your opinions on this.

Best regards,
Byrial Jensen

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