What Cheesecake is all about…

5 06 2006

This is copy&paste from the project comments page that summarize my view on Cheesecake.

What do you mean there should be a README file? If I add an empty README file I get a good cheesecake score, while somebody who has excellent information in a file DOC, gets a bad score? I’m afraid cheesecake’s kwalitee is going to become a factor that won’t be respected by developers. If cheesecake gives a bad score to a project it may mean that either the project is bad, *or* cheesecake is bad and the project is good. And if there are many good projects that get a bad score cheesecake will render itself wrong!

And that’s exactly the reason we’re asking the community for feedback. We don’t want to implement “book standards” but real working and useful practices that good Python developers use. If there will be a few good projects with DOC instead of README file, we’ll add this check to Cheesecake. What I could call most common misunderstanding about Cheesecake is a misconception that we are trying to come up with our own standards and try to enforce them on Python developers. What we’ll actually do is listen to what developers have to say and come up with a greatest common divider for all these good programming advices. Cheesecake score will represent project compliance to this common and established way of doing things. Important part of this is that Cheesecake won’t be ever complete. It will have to incorporate changes in the same way the community and methodology changes over time. Having a tool to point you to current trends and suggest good advices on trivial things like file naming convention or distribution method is invaluable. This way you can focus on coding, leaving boring stuff to Cheesecake. One of our goals is to create an easy reference for all factors that affect Cheesecake score, so that every developer can easily look up why he’s loosing points. And that doesn’t mean these rules are set in stone – we encourage all developers to question them.

The point I’m trying to make is that Cheesecake is written to help programmers, not to put blame on them. It’s one of agile development advices: “Criticize Ideas, Not People”. If most developers use README it’s probably a good thing to have a README in your project. It tells nothing about the quality of your documentation, it only suggest you don’t have file that most people will try to look for first, right after package has been unpacked. It also make it easier for package managers in different open source distributions, like Debian or Gentoo, as they don’t have to check manually which of your DOC/UserManual/anything file contains actual documentation they can, for example, incorporate into a man. Having one good way of doing things is very efficient for collaboration and project maintaince. Python was built upon this principle, so Cheesecake is merely a continuation of this thinking, but on different level.

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