Assessment of the iteration that has ended

The previous iteration was Subplot milestone 11.

There were no actions from the previous meeting.

We have made good progress and have nearly finished goal 3. See below for what’s left.


The hosting situation

We reviewed the billing page for Subplot on It all looks OK.

We will review the billing page every iteration or two.

Repository review

We reviewed issues (see below) and MRs. We made the decision to keep the reference test MR open until the release process during the next iteration.

We also checked in on CI pipelines for all the projects in the Subplot group on

Repository Open issues Closed issues Open MRs Closed MRs CI
subplot-container-images 0 5 0 3 OK (GitLab)
subplot-web 0 4 0 86 OK (Ick)
subplot 47 279 0 333 OK (GitLab)

Extra branches: none.

Recurring items issues

There are some issues tagged recurring-agenda-item in the issue tracker, which we discuss in every iteration meeting.

  • subplot#119Subplot is in not in Debian unstable
    • Our plan is to wait until we can do cargo update using the Rust toolchain in Debian testing without having to adjust any of the dependencies to newer version, before we approach Debian about packaging Subplot.
    • We hope that an active Debian developer has interest in Subplot, as we neither in position to actively help in maintaining packages in Debian of Subplot and its dependencies. Time will tell if this happens.

What’s remaining for current goal?

We discussed this at some length. We’ve resolved all but one issue labeled for goal 3, but when we reviewed all the issues, we noticed things that may cause breaking changes if we change them later. We’d like to do all such breakage in goal 3. The things we noticed are:

  • subplot#326 Decide what to do about bibliography data__
    • we already don’t use the bibliography stuff, but we allow it in document metadata, so the change we need to do is to stop allowing bibliography information in metadata
    • not even allowing the metadata to refer to bibliography information is a breaking change
  • subplot#261 Cleanup functions should run regardless of whether or not their step function succeeded
    • we decided to document that step functions must be atomic: either they succeed (and will be cleaned up later by the cleanup function), or they fail and leave nothing to be cleaned up
    • this is a breaking change as such, but we want to make the expectation clear
  • subplot#329 Doesn’t document that scenario block attributes are reserved
    • A markdown document can add nearly arbitrary attributes to a scenario block. In order to avoid breaking changes, when Subplot adds meaning to such attributes, we need to reserve the name space of attributes for Subplot. This needs to be documented.
    • Doing that will enable to to, for example, have labels on scenarios, subplot#228.


Goal 3: Current goal

Subplot is altered to treat a YAML document as the root of any subplot document, permitting multiple markdown files to be joined into a single scenario set or output document. We remove our dependency on Pandoc’s AST for internal document representation, and support a better range of document metadata as a result. We will use marked data types where possible to permit better provenance information in error and warning messages; and we will strive to reenable the reference tests such that we can make a statement to the effect that post goal 3, we do not intend to make further breaking changes to the input formats or primary behaviours of Subplot.

(Related issues on gitlab)

Goal 4: Planned

This goal is very likely to change. It will need to be discussed in depth when we finish the previous goal.

We’ll improve the quality of life of people using Subplot:

  • we’ll improve the ease of use and comprehension of the output of documents generated by Subplot
  • we’ll improve the documentation of Subplot itself
  • we’ll make error messages and other diagnostics more helpful for users to fix whatever the problem is

We aim to have a fairly short and time-boxed goal 4, maybe on the order of two or three months. The goal 3 duration (well over a year) was long enough to be de-motivating to use as developers. Thus, we scope our actual tasks so that they are likely to be achieved by us, given our time and energy constraints. We’d rather have more frequent small goals than more ambitious goals that take a long time to achieve.

(Related issues on gitlab)

Plan for new iteration


We did an issue review for all issues to try to avoid breaking changes in the near future. As part of that, we commented on some issues, adjusted some issue labels, created a couple of new ones.

We created Subplot milestone 12 with the following issues:

  • subplot#261 Cleanup functions should run regardless of whether or not their step function succeeded
    • Lars will document that step functions need to be atomic
  • subplot#305 Maybe create binary releases?
    • Daniel will give this a try
  • subplot#326 Decide what to do about bibliography data
    • Lars will drop support for bibliographies in document metadata
  • subplot#328 Promote location information into Scenario/ScenarioStep
    • Daniel will implement this
  • subplot#329 Doesn’t document that scenario block attributes are reserved
    • Lars will document this

After these are all done, we have finished goal 3.


No additional actions.

Meeting participants

  • Daniel Silverstone
  • Lars Wirzenius