Skip to main content

Experiments

caution

All experimental features are subject to breaking changes and/or removal at any time. We strongly recommend that you do not use these features in a production environment. They are intended for testing and feedback only.

In order to allow Task to evolve quickly, we sometimes roll out breaking changes to minor versions behind experimental flags. This allows us to gather feedback on breaking changes before committing to a major release. This process can also be used to gather feedback on important non-breaking features before their design is completed. This document describes the experiment workflow and how you can get involved.

You can view the full list of active experiments in the sidebar submenu to the left of the page and click on each one to find out more about it.

Enabling Experiments

Task uses environment variables to detect whether or not an experiment is enabled. All of the experiment variables will begin with the same TASK_X_ prefix followed by the name of the experiment. You can find the exact name for each experiment on their respective pages in the sidebar. If the variable is set =1 then it will be enabled. Some experiments may have multiple proposals, in which case, you will need to set the variable equal to the number of the proposal that you want to enable (=2, =3 etc).

There are three main ways to set the environment variables for an experiment. Which method you use depends on how you intend to use the experiment:

  1. Prefixing your task commands with the relevant environment variable(s). For example, TASK_X_{FEATURE}=1 task {my-task}. This is intended for one-off invocations of Task to test out experimental features.

  2. Adding the relevant environment variable(s) in your "dotfiles" (e.g. .bashrc, .zshrc etc.). This will permanently enable experimental features for your personal environment.

    ~/.bashrc
    export TASK_X_FEATURE=1
  3. Creating a .env file in the same directory as your root Taskfile that contains the relevant environment variable(s). This allows you to enable an experimental feature at a project level. If you commit the .env file to source control then other users of your project will also have these experiments enabled.

    .env
    TASK_X_FEATURE=1

Workflow

Experiments are a way for us to test out new features in Task before committing to them in a major release. Because this concept is built around the idea of feedback from our community, we have built a workflow for the process of introducing these changes. This ensures that experiments are given the attention and time that they need and that we are getting the best possible results out of them.

The sections below describe the various stages that an experiment must go through from its proposal all the way to being released in a major version of Task.

1. Proposal

All experimental features start with a proposal in the form of a GitHub issue. If the maintainers decide that an issue has enough support and is a breaking change or is complex/controversial enough to require user feedback, then the issue will be marked with the experiment: proposal label. At this point, the issue becomes a proposal and a period of consultation begins. During this period, we request that users provide feedback on the proposal and how it might effect their use of Task. It is up to the discretion of the maintainers to decide how long this period lasts.

2. Draft

Once a proposal's consultation ends, a contributor may pick up the work and begin the initial implementation. Once a PR is opened, the maintainers will ensure that it meets the requirements for an experimental feature (i.e. flags are in the right format etc) and merge the feature. Once this code is released, the status will be updated via the experiment: draft label. This indicates that an implementation is now available for use in a release and the experiment is open for feedback.

note

During the draft period, major changes to the implementation may be made based on the feedback received from users. There are no stability guarantees and experimental features may be abandoned at any time.

3. Candidate

Once an acceptable level of consensus has been reached by the community and feedback/changes are less frequent/significant, the status may be updated via the experiment: candidate label. This indicates that a proposal is likely to accepted and will enter a period for final comments and minor changes.

4. Stable

Once a suitable amount of time has passed with no changes or feedback, an experiment will be given the experiment: stable label. At this point, the functionality will be treated like any other feature in Task and any changes must be backward compatible. This allows users to migrate to the new functionality without having to worry about anything breaking in future releases. This provides the best experience for users migrating to a new major version.

5. Released

When making a new major release of Task, all experiments marked as experiment: stable will move to experiment: released and their behaviors will become the new default in Task. Experiments in an earlier stage (i.e. not stable) cannot be released and so will continue to be experiments in the new version.

Abandoned / Superseded

If an experiment is unsuccessful at any point then it will be given the experiment: abandoned or experiment: superseded labels depending on which is more suitable. These experiments will be removed from Task.