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

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Fri Mar 6 18:49:34 PST 2020

I agree this usage of “roll out” is potentially confusing.

I think people say “roll out” for the symmetry to “check in”. It also creates the convenient term “roll back in” for when a rollout is undone.

Personally, I think we should say “revert” and avoid use of roll-phrases entirely. “unrevert” isn’t quite as natural as “roll back in”, but it’s good enough. Or you could say “re-land”.


> On Mar 6, 2020, at 6:14 PM, Kirsling, Ross <Ross.Kirsling at sony.com> wrote:
> 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!
> Ross
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