Github commit emails with full diff of changes


(Stas Bekman) #1

I find it very difficult to follow the code development on github, since it doesn’t support full diff emails and only notifications, which are just noise and require too too many steps to get to each diff. Plus often you have to click again and again to even see a diff. That’s very inefficient and it’s very difficult to track.

Would it be possible for fastai_v1 to setup a commit diffs email feed service? As discussed here and here github is not interested in providing such service, probably because they want everybody to come back to their service as often as possible, like any other for-profit organization out there.

@jeremy, would it be possible to setup gitdub on the fast.ai server to provide such service? This short article shows the steps to set it up. We can then send all its output to, say, free gmail group, to which anybody can subscribe to, instead of needing to setup a local listserv. I’d be happy to create and manage the gmail group as I manage several already.

Of course, even better, it’d be to be able to discuss changes right at the mailinglist-level and not through github, because’s most of the time nobody is looking at what happens on github, other than PRs and Issues, so it is not very likely for a discussion to happen. And this forum is a way too far from where the action is happening (git) and there is no way to get all developers to pay attention, other than through forcefull hear, hear @jeremy, @sgugger, @etc.

Clearly, I’m missing the good ol’ days when all dev work was done in the simple world of dev maillist. But I’d be happy with at least having a read-only diff feed delivered to my mailbox, because I do want to know of most code changes happening inside the project. In general, and also to minimize the chance of stepping on someone’s feet as I can tell from commits that so and so is now working on this notebook. And this all can be done through github, but it’s very very inefficient, so I don’t do it.

I also found this modern reflection on Mailing lists vs Github as a dev environment, which was an insightful read.

Thank you.

p.s. just looking around, I see that pytorch uses https://pytorch.slack.com/ for dev environment, whereas https://discuss.pytorch.org/ is only used for user support. git dev is happening on its dev mailing list.


(Jeremy Howard (Admin)) #2

I’m happy to set up an email feed service @stas, although personally I hate email and avoid it wherever possible so I’d ask you (or anyone else who cares about it) to set it up and look after it. I certainly however don’t want to provide any kind of mailing list - we already have a forum dedicated to library development and I’d rather discussions happened here.

PR/commit/issue discussions can happen on GH, for which email notifications and replies work fine for those that prefer that modality, where we have the convenience of commenting directly on lines of code.


(Stas Bekman) #3

That works, Jeremy. Thank you!

I’ll setup and maintain a free google group for the read-only diffs feed.

Would something like fastai-git@groups.gmail.com be alright as a name?

And what email address the feed will be coming from so that I could subscribe that as a user?

Yes, as you said for those who prefer that modality. Which means only some developers are watching. That’s a very different way of developing things for sure.

But as I said, just having a diff feed would be plenty for me.

Thank you.


(Stas Bekman) #4

I’m still doing some tweaks, but it’s mostly fantastic! I’m so happy to be able to get diffs by email! Thank you, @jeremy, for supporting this idea.

You can subscribe or unsubscribe at any time on your own accord here:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/fastai-diff

Make sure you use a descent email client, surely don’t read it on google groups or gmail, you need to have a client that can properly render fixed fonts and not use a variable fonts which look horrible with diffs. But google doesn’t need to respect the fact that the email says:

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

why would it care about this or many other things…

I use thunderbird on linux and it works great!

Note, chances are that your email client may start putting those into the spam folder, so make sure you tell it it’s ham!

I haven’t finalized the best subject prefix yet, but use the List-ID to filter this stream into its own folder:

List-ID: <fastai-diff.googlegroups.com>

If you encounter any problems please let me know.

p.s. the only potential problem is that we have 100/day email limit with the free smtp relay (sendgrid), so if there are a lot of commits we might not get to see them all. If you know of a free reliable smtp server with bigger quota please pm me. (Sendinblue.com w/ 300/day is not good because they mess up the emails with tracking and forced broken conversion to html)


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