Knative feature sunsetting

Knative Feature Sunsetting

If a feature (especially in alpha stage) is getting no apparent usage and is creating mostly busy-work for the community to maintain, the respective working group should consider to sunset the respective feature. Other cost-benefit-ratio considerations can lead to sunsetting of features/APIs too, for example if a beta feature turns out to be a serious scalability issue.

This needs to be in accordance to the Knative release principles so the duration of the following process might vary depending on the state of the respective feature.

1. Working Group decision

First of all, there should be a decision at the working group level that there is a desire to remove the respective feature. This decision should also contain an explanation, stating why the feature can and should be dropped from Knative.

2. Gauge usage

While the working group itself might think there is no usage, that feeling should be verified by gathering hard data.

Ask vendors if they explicitly ship the feature

The quickest way of gauging the potential impact of the sunset is to ask vendors that productize and ship Knative in downstream products if they are shipping the respective feature explicitly. Explicitly here means that they specifically chose to enable the respective feature. A good overview of existing downstream products and projects can seen in the documentation.

A post should be sent to knative-dev@, explaining which feature is supposed to be removed and why it is supposed to be removed. Lazy consensus can be applied over a period of two weeks.

Ask users if they are using the feature

In the same way, it is very important to get to know if any user is actually using the feature. A post should be sent to knative-users@, with essentially the same contents as the post to knative-dev@. Again, lazy consensus can be applied over a period of two weeks.

3. Reevaluate the decision

Once the data has been gathered, the working group should reconsider the decision with the collected data in mind.

4. Sunset

If the decision to remove the feature remains, it can now actually be removed. This might either be a deprecation notice for Beta and GA feature or a straight up deletion of the respective feature for alpha features. The deprecation notice should be visible to both operators and users of the system. For example, Knative could add a warning notice to the status of entities that use deprecated features.

Likewise, the documentation should be updated. Deprecation notices should be put up to the respective features and the deletion of a feature should be accompanied with a deletion of the relevant documentation.