Feature Highlight

I suggest to pin a “meta” issue to the GitHub Parse Server issue list to create a:

New Feature Spotlight

There are a lot of great features continuously added to Pare Sever. Due to our long (and currently unspecified) release cycles, we can assume that there are developers who deploy a merge of the master branch, at least for development.

Moving a specific feature into the spotlight could:

  • Make people aware the feature exists before being in the change log
  • Increase feedback to improve / fix bugs before the feature is officially released

What is required to replace the currently highlighted feature can be up for debate without any specific rules for now. There were some obviously major feature additions in the past that are still uncovered for developers who don’t follow the issue list closely.

Requirements for a feature to move into the spotlight:

  • Fully merged into master (no outstanding “corrective” PRs)
  • Has not been in the spotlight within the last 12 months
  • Has sufficient official docs (the issue / PR threads are not considered docs)

Format of pinned issue:

  • Use a pre-defined template with:
    • a short description
    • a quick start example with docs reference
    • link to docs, issue and PR
  • Closed for commenting to prevent issue / bug discussions in that feature highlight issue

Thoughts?

4 Likes

I like it, will these be kept in a doc similar to Changelog? I ask this, because I think it would be nice to see the spotlighted features added over the last month/year to showcase. This can help recap all of the documented features added over time in a list that is essentially a subset of the changelog. e.g. In 2021, the Parse Server added the following key features: …

The changelog is long and extensive and also captures things like bug fixes that won’t show up in the highlight list

Well, I though of the spotlight explicitly as a low-maintenance thing, without an additional list to manage.

I think you are pointing something out that I also thought about in the past: the changelog needs a redesign. There are far better layout examples that make a distinction between “Notable Changes” and other smaller change noise. I introduced a “Notable Changes” section with a PR still in review, but that is still far from the redesign the changelog requires to provide a better overview IMO. I’m thinking of the Node.js changelog, they couldn’t afford our current layout with the hundreds of PRs that go into a single release.

@cbaker6 Your comment finally motivated me to Improve changelog design by mtrezza · Pull Request #7253 · parse-community/parse-server · GitHub.

1 Like

You are on fire this month @Manuel :fire:

Perhaps feature highlight could also be a category on the blog? I think @Tom is always looking for blog content so this could be a good way to keep that moving too.

I added the first Feature Spotlight.

I was undecided whether to lock the issue or allow comments, but decided to not lock it for now and see what reactions we get.

I think a candidate for the next spotlight would be the Security Check due its security relevance and that we want to encourage the community to submit additional security checks as PRs.

1 Like

Nice! This could be part of / a precursor to having a forum post and/or blog post for each minor/major release or specific features.

There’s definitely a lot more we can do around raising awareness for new features.

The layout is really nice and I love the little ‘factsheet’ :heart_eyes:

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As to how long a feature should stay up I am thinking

  • > 1 week for developers who may only log on for their hobby project on weekends
  • < 2 weeks to keep the series fresh and we got many features to cover

So around 10 days +/- a few.

Moved the new feature Security Check into the spotlight, after 11 days. Still unsure whether we should rather post these spotlights here than in GitHub issues or how we would reach a wider audience.

@Tom These spotlights may be a good way to offer people to subscribe to a (mailing ?) list for these new feature updates, since you mentioned Discord offers that functionality, then we can gradually build this out to include more topics, what do you think?

2 Likes

Nice!

I think the main issue with doing it on GH issues is that it’s not naturally a place where people would go for a feature spotlight, it could become one but whether we want that to be the case is another question.

In my opinion the advantage of the forum is it’s a more natural place for such content and perhaps allows us to give the spotlight to new SDK features etc.

In terms of reaching a wider audience, the feature spotlight it very tweet-able content so I can definitely tweet it. On the forum we could also pin the topic globally for a week to give it extra visibility

It could work nicely as a mailing list, if you wanted to, you could make a new category, set it to be visible only to staff and test it out? - I wonder if there is a plugin to give a category a prominent ‘subscribe’ button because currently you have to click the little bell icon (on the category page) and select ‘watching first post’.

Good points, I also think as long as we have not implemented a better release cycle with phased deprecations, it has little value to advertise an unreleased feature that exists only in the master branch that is full of suspicious breaking changes.

I will pause the series until we implemented a fixed release cycle and properly phase in breaking changes. We need to bring more people onto the release train and stay up to date with their Parse Server deployments.

It just demonstrates another limitation we inflict on ourselves with the current release pattern. I will continue to advocate for the necessary changes and expect that we will have addressed this by mid year, see roadmap.