[webkit-dev] Terminology: Could we change 'roll out' to 'roll back'?

Kirsling, Ross Ross.Kirsling at sony.com
Fri Mar 6 18:14:51 PST 2020

Greetings WebKittens,

Late on Friday seems like a good time for a terminological debate (��), so I’d like to propose we revisit one of the strangest items of WebKit-specific terminology: the phrase ‘roll out’.

In our industry, the typical meaning of the phrase ‘roll out’ is, of course, ‘deploy’ or ‘launch’; this corresponds with the colloquial usage of ‘roll out’ to mean ‘depart (for a destination)’. In WebKit, we use ‘roll out’ to mean the exact opposite, ‘revert’ or ‘roll back’.

In terms of metaphors: The typical meaning of ‘roll out’ is synonymous with ‘roll forward’, hence the opposite being ‘roll back’. The way that I came to explain to myself and others what WebKit means by ‘roll out’ is that it’s movement along the other axis. There is a tree (SVN trunk) which is built up from disc-shaped slices (revisions), and these slices are rolled sideways in and out of the tree. Needless to say, this is not obvious to a newcomer, and it’s not even accurate to how SVN works—rollouts don’t remove an old revision, they add a new revision to perform the revert!

This term is confusing enough for native English speakers outside our community, let alone non-natives (since phrasal verbs are notoriously tricky as it is). Having heard complaints about this from people in both of these groups within the last few weeks, I hereby propose that we start using ‘roll back’ instead. Given the string similarity between the two, I hope that this will be a relatively easy change to enact, if folks are onboard with it.

Thanks for your consideration!

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.webkit.org/pipermail/webkit-dev/attachments/20200307/1a89abe3/attachment.htm>

More information about the webkit-dev mailing list