Pulsar have a green CI, finally!

After so many months, finally we have a green CI – we can consider pull requests and changes that break the CI as “unstable”. This is a huge milestone, and I want to both thank everybody that tracked these failures to check if they were legit, to the people that fixed the legit failures and that fixed the flaky tests. This has been an amazing experience, and it helps build trust on the project!

If you look at the commits from the Atom project and check which ones have passing tests, you’ll see a horrible situation: they mostly don’t pass. There’s even a recent commit called “disable tests” that passes, and then the next commits also fail – so Atom was already failing tests when these were disabled (how is that possible, I won’t dare to think).

So it’s a huge milestone to have a CI that confidently (or at least we hope!) say if we broke something new! But on this post, I want to show not only how cool is that, but also the process and how to avoid flaky tests on the near future – both for Pulsar and for other projects

Atom, community, and Pulsar

Okay, so recently I wrote about the Atom editor and how the community took efforts to revive the editor after the sunset announcement from Microsoft.

By now, things have changed a little bit. There was some disagreement on how the project should be handled from the atom-community maintainers: few people that were on the leadership decided that we should make “graceful changes” – things that do not disrupt too much the editor, small PRs that can be reviewed, and lots of stability. And I actually agree – that’s the way a project should be handled!

Except there’s a big catch: for me, this only works when the project is alive. The Atom editor is dead, for better or for worse. It’s announced already, so there’s no way “graceful changes” will be able to keep the editor alive or even relevant than, for example, VSCode – even for people that want a lightweight alternative or have want a different approach on handling code.

There were other disagreements on the roadmap – for some people, they wanted Atom to have the same functionality that it have today. And, speaking for me, I don’t agree – I think there are functionalities on the the Atom editor that are simply too much: for example, native support for CoffeeScript and TypeScript. I firmly believe that all Atom/Pulsar plug-ins should be transpiled – and that’s not only because the editor should only run JavaScript, it because it’s more reliable that way (the native support can fail between different tooling, language versions, etc. As an example, Atom supports plug-ins written in CoffeeScript 1.12 – and the current version is 2.7.0). Also, if a plug-in is bundled in a single JavaScript file, it’s actually more efficient both in terms of memory and performance for the editor.