Plan for libweston backend configuration?

Benoit Gschwind gschwind at
Sat Feb 27 00:56:53 UTC 2016

Hello Bryce,

Thanks for the summarization, I have few comment that I share here.

Le 26/02/2016 22:37, Bryce Harrington a écrit :
> To followup Pekka's recent libweston thread, here's the next actions it
> looks like we should take?
>    a.  Revert 5ffbfffa
>    b.  Land, which covers
>        the drm-backend.  (Is this patch proposal good as is, or would it
>        benefit from any additional review?)
>    c.  Defer the two alternative options for now
>    d.  Review/update wayland-backend and x11-backend to comply
> This establishes Giulio's "Well Defined Structs" approach for
> configuring libweston backends.  This uses versioned structs for
> communicating parameters with the backends.
> If no one raises an objection to this plan, I can tackle (a), (b) and
> (c) myself directly.  For (d), offhand it appears they at least need to
> add the structure versioning support, but might be suitable to consider
> landing after that?

(a), (b), (c) and (d) are fine for me. I would add an action to sort
weston API function (i.e. function that are exposed to user(developer))
from functions that must be kept hidden. For this action I think we
should start a libweston.h (or what ever name that look good) and the
related libweston.a . Currently implementing a compositor from weston
look durty, some low level actions require to use libwayland directly
and "link" them to weston. Another issue is that user(developer) can use
any weston internal API and some of those functions may be unsafe.

I do not know well where the border are but we should start to draft one
in the same manner we started with backends.

<side topic>
I waiting for your review for (d) and I expect to provide patch for
others back-end soon (i.e. maybe once per week until all testable
back-end are done).

Also note that I didn't added versionning header for two main reasons:
 1. I do not know which best versionning method I should use, is one
incremental number enough ?
 2. I do not know how the user(developer) is expected to fill it properly.

Once I get answer to this both questions I will be happy to updates
previous patch :)
</side topic>

> ---
> A couple of more sophisticated solutions were proposed and evaluated,
> but it feels like our requirements here are modest, and so simpler is
> probably better.  Things aren't cast in stone here and we can always
> move to something more advanced later if conditions warrant it.
> In mind of this, here are the assumptions that are leading us to this
> choice.  In the future if these assumptions fail to hold adequately,
> then this design should be re-evaluated.
> 1.  libweston has no stability promises, and won't for a long time, and
>     it is and will remain parallel installable.  We are freely able to
>     redo tomorrow any bad decisions we make today.
> 2.  New options will be appended to the the struct, which will avoid ABI
>     breaks.
> 3.  The struct is versioned, so if we do need to break ABI for some
>     reason, we can and backends can thereby check and verify their
>     version.
> 4.  Configuration needs by the backends are on the tame side, mostly
>     just involving basic data types (strings, ints, etc.)

This assumption (4) is already wrong, back-end at the moment needs what
I consider complex setup, in particular to define outputs list or the
output_setup callback in drm-backend.

> 5.  Backend configuration is internal to the backend.  End users won't
>     be exposed to it, and only backend developers will need to tinker
>     with these things.
> 6.  Additions of or changes to configuration parameter definitions are
>     going to be done by developers who are either part of the Wayland
>     development community, or will be sending all of their changes to
>     the community.  
> 7.  All libweston backends will be living in the weston repository.  We
>     do not provide support for third-party backends.
> It's probably non-fatal if we periodically violate one or two of these
> assumptions, but if we get beyond that it should be a cue to revisit our
> approach.
> So far, two other alternatives were considered; here are the key design
> differences:
> A.  Opaque Structs
> 	This still uses structs for sharing configuration parameters but the
> 	structs are hidden as internal details.  The backend instead uses
> 	function calls to fill in parameters.
> 	While this does decouple things a bit and avoid ABI breakge on
> 	structure definitions, this requires coding and maintaining an array
> 	of backend-specific functions, which bring their own API breakage
> 	potentials.
> 	This is essentially an incremental enhancement of the "Well Defined
> 	Structs" scheme, so would be straightforward to upgrade to later.
> B.  Getter/Setters
> 	Establishes a key/value backend config API, with separate
> 	getter/setter calls for different config item data types.  Backends
> 	then call these getters to retrieve configuration variables.
> 	This system includes provision for sections and default values.
> 	This is certainly a much more flexible system, but many of the same
> 	problems will exist when configuration parameters change.  Just that
> 	instead of erroring at the API/ABI layer it breaks at the
> 	parser/configuration layer.  Shifting to this lower level means
> 	errors may get detected later on, or may be missed entirely, where a
> 	broken struct will be more highly visible.
> Alternative A might be worth considering if we start seeing
> proliferation of backend options, or if the configuration settings start
> going beyond basic types.
> Alternative B could become more convenient if we need to expose options
> to end-users or if we start seeing third-party backends.
> Bryce
> _______________________________________________
> wayland-devel mailing list
> wayland-devel at

I agree with all uncommented parts. I have also comments about the last
part about alternatives, but I can't find a good way and strong
arguments to expose them. Thus, I will agree with what is written and do
not write down my immature comments; but, maybe, when they will be more
mature, I will share them. Please don't assume that those immature
comments are pro-A comments.

Best regards

Benoit Gschwind

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