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Author Topic: SFML Roadmap  (Read 6113 times)

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eXpl0it3r

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SFML Roadmap
« on: August 22, 2018, 04:52:22 pm »
I'd like to discuss the next few steps for SFML's development. I've worded it as if things are already decided, but in fact it's all up for discussion.

Let's start with the big elephant in the room: SFML 3


The bad news: It's impossible to integrate all the changes we have promised, discussed or wished for over the past years.
The amount of potential API changes and redesigns is too great to fit into one version of SFML.

The good news: It has become clearer over the past few years, that a lot of people have adapted the "new" C++ standards and are looking for APIs that do support modern C++ (e.g. move-semantics), but also don't feel particual motivated to contribute to "old" C++ code bases like SFML.


SFML 3 will first and foremost focus on introducing the C++17 standard to the SFML code base and to get rid of some baggage.
Additional API changes or redesigns have second priority on the list.

The overall goal is to accept that major version updates don't require massive library evolutions on the scale of barely achievable, but that breaking changes should be able to happen more frequently and within a manageable scope.
This also implies that we'll actively try to avoid dragging a major version on for many years, which has the the effect, that SFML 3 will end up rather short-lived compared to SFML 2.

Here's a rough roadmap what the goal is in the near future:

SFML 2.6 (see GitHub Project for details)
  • Scan codes
  • Required bug fixes
  • Small championed contributions

SFML 3

Priority 1

Priority 2
  • Hot API discussion points (TBD)
  • (Setup for multiple rendering backends)

Backports

We're generally open to backporting critical bug fixes to SFML 2, but it will be decided on a case-by-case basis and the focus should really be in moving forward.

Summary

The current roadmap moves SFML 3 from an infinitely far away horizon to the next version after SFML 2.6. Major versions don't require massive API evolutions, but it simply indicates a breaking change.

I'm interested in hearing what people think of this proposal, so let the discussion begin!
Keep in mind though, that the point of the discussion here, isn't necessarily about a single item on the list, but it should be more on the whole perspective change.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 11:32:42 pm by eXpl0it3r »
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Rosme

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Re: SFML Roadmap
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2018, 05:12:39 pm »
Good idea this thread, thanks eXpl0it3r.

My first question is why C++14 for SFML 3.0? C++17 is already standard and is relatively well supported at this moment by every major compiler (according to this page). By the time SFML 3.0 will come out, it will definitely be supported.

Considering how many people seems to ask for filesystem support(and possibily other features), supporting C++17 directly solves that kind of problem, instead of having SFML implementing, only to deprecate it not long after (std::thread vs sf::thread comes to my mind about this). I would expect sf::Thread to be altogether removed anyway from SFML 3.0.

As for the setup for backends, I think it could be very interesting to discuss the possibility of doing such thing. Could also help to port it to more esoteric platform (Xone, PS4, Switch, etc.). I'm all for that, although I understand the work to do something like this can be quite huge.

Finally, while it's nice to add all the things mentions in the list to SFML 2.6, why not start focusing on SFML 3.0 directly for some of those? Scan codes are well advanced that it makes sense, but the rest could probably be more part of SFML 3.0 development directly, making the release of that version earlier than expected, which can only be appreciated.
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eXpl0it3r

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Re: SFML Roadmap
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2018, 05:26:56 pm »
My first question is why C++14 for SFML 3.0? C++17 is already standard and is relatively well supported at this moment by every major compiler (according to this page). By the time SFML 3.0 will come out, it will definitely be supported.
Support and adoption are two separate things, but I generally agree that C++17 would provide some additional possibilities. I'd like to see the original C++ Standard discussion to be picked up and continued in its dedicated thread.

As for the setup for backends, I think it could be very interesting to discuss the possibility of doing such thing. Could also help to port it to more esoteric platform (Xone, PS4, Switch, etc.). I'm all for that, although I understand the work to do something like this can be quite huge.
It's certainly a discussion to be had and also check on a technical level what could be done.

Finally, while it's nice to add all the things mentions in the list to SFML 2.6, why not start focusing on SFML 3.0 directly for some of those? Scan codes are well advanced that it makes sense, but the rest could probably be more part of SFML 3.0 development directly, making the release of that version earlier than expected, which can only be appreciated.
There are already many things near completion for SFML 2.6 - if you check the GitHub Project you see that a lot of things are already in review/testing state or at least WIP.
Plus as I said the focus of SFML 3 should be to introduce C++14, clean up some baggage, but it shouldn't be focused on building many new features.
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Klaim

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Re: SFML Roadmap
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2018, 12:11:30 pm »
Would it be ok to consider switching to using a dependency management tool for that version?
I'm thinking mainly about solving the issue of having binary dependencies inside the extlibs directory.

eXpl0it3r

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Re: SFML Roadmap
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2018, 12:34:24 pm »
In some endless discussion quite a while back it was decided to move the dependencies into its own repository, but in the end we never did it.

At this point no dependency manager has been well established in the C++ community, as such I don't think we should require one or the other flavor. However I think if we could do it transparently with CMake while you're building, it might be something to think about.
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Klaim

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Re: SFML Roadmap
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2018, 02:26:58 pm »
Indeed at least separating them would help.

Using CMake apparently would work with recent versions but I didnt try (last time I used ExternalDependency module it failed quite spectacularly for my use case but it was a very complex use case). I know they made efforts in this direction but it's only available in last version(s).

I think at least separating the dependencies and listing the package names and versions somewhere in the root directory would be a good first step for the future of this project's dependenies management.
I guess I long as it's easy for beginner (one command to get everything), it should be fine.

eXpl0it3r

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Re: SFML Roadmap
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2020, 11:50:33 pm »
I updated the initial post with more recent information and further reduced the scope of SFML 2.6.

Additionally, I have been slowly making progress on the Scancode topic so we can close the last, big remaining feature for SFML 2.6.
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