For feature tracking we use Github labels to classify new features and enhancements. The following is the description of each category:
Changes to existing features that are not considered a bug and would not block a release. This is an incremental enhancement to a feature that already exists in Zephyr.
- Feature request
A request for the implementation or inclusion of a new unit of functionality that is not part of any release plans yet, that has not been vetted, and needs further discussion and details.
A committed and planned unit of functionality with a detailed design and implementation proposal and an owner. Features must go through an RFC process and must be vetted and discussed in the TSC before a target milestone is set.
- Hardware Support
A request or plan to port an existing feature or enhancement to a particular hardware platform. This ranges from porting Zephyr itself to a new architecture, SoC or board to adding an implementation of a peripheral driver API for an existing hardware platform.
A label to group other GitHub issues that are part of a single feature or unit of work.
The following workflow should be used to process features:.
This is the formal way for asking for a new feature in Zephyr and indicating its importance to the project. Often, the requester may have a readiness and willingness to drive implementation of the feature in an upcoming release, and should assign the request to themselves. If not though, an owner will be assigned after evaluation by the TSC. A feature request can also have a companion RFC with more details on the feature and a proposed design or implementation.
Label new features requests as
The TSC discusses new
feature-requestitems regularly and triages them. Items are examined for similarity with existing features, how they fit with the project goals and other timeline considerations. The priority is determined as follows:
High = Next milestone
Medium = As soon as possible
Low = Best effort
After the initial discussion and triaging, the label is moved from
featurewith the target milestone and an assignee.
All items marked as
feature-request are non-binding and those without an
assignee are open for grabs, meaning that they can be picked up and implemented
by any project member or the community. You should contact an assigned owner if
you’d like to discuss or contribute to that feature’s implementation
Proposals and RFCs
Many changes, including bug fixes and documentation improvements can be implemented and reviewed via the normal GitHub pull request workflow.
Many changes however are “substantial” and need to go through a design process and produce a consensus among the project stakeholders.
The “RFC” (request for comments) process is intended to provide a consistent and controlled path for new features to enter the project.
Contributors and project stakeholders should consider using this process if they intend to make “substantial” changes to Zephyr or its documentation. Some examples that would benefit from an RFC are:
A new feature that creates new API surface area, and would require a feature flag if introduced.
The modification of an existing stable API
The removal of features that already shipped as part of Zephyr.
The introduction of new idiomatic usage or conventions, even if they do not include code changes to Zephyr itself.
The RFC process is a great opportunity to get more eyeballs on proposals coming from contributors before it becomes a part of Zephyr. Quite often, even proposals that seem “obvious” can be significantly improved once a wider group of interested people have a chance to weigh in.
The RFC process can also be helpful to encourage discussions about a proposed feature as it is being designed, and incorporate important constraints into the design while it’s easier to change, before the design has been fully implemented.
Some changes do not require an RFC:
Rephrasing, reorganizing or refactoring
Addition or removal of warnings
Addition of new boards, SoCs or drivers to existing subsystems
The process in itself consists in creating a GitHub issue with the RFC label that documents the proposal thoroughly. There is an RFC template included in the main Zephyr GitHub repository that serves as a guideline to write a new RFC.
As with Pull Requests, RFCs might require discussion in the context of one of the Zephyr meetings in order to move it forward in cases where there is either disagreement or not enough voiced opinions in order to proceed. Make sure to either label it appropriately or include it in the corresponding GitHub project in order for it to be examined during the next meeting.
Roadmap and Release Plans
Project roadmaps and release plans are both important tools for the project, but they have very different purposes and should not be confused. A project roadmap communicates the high-level overview of a project’s strategy, while a release plan is a tactical document designed to capture and track the features planned for upcoming releases.
The project roadmap communicates the why; a release plan details the what
A release plan spans only a few months; a product roadmap might cover a year or more
The project roadmap should serve as a high-level, visual summary of the project’s strategic objectives and expectations.
If built properly, the roadmap can be a valuable tool for several reasons. It can help the project present its plan in a compelling way to existing and new stakeholders, to help recruit new members and it can be a helpful resource the team and community can refer to throughout the project’s development, to ensure they are still executing according to plan.
As such, the roadmap should contain only strategic-level details, major project themes, epics, and goals.
The release plan comes into play when the project roadmap’s high-level strategy is translated into an actionable plan built on specific features, enhancements, and fixes that need to go into a specific release or milestone.
The release plan communicates those features and enhancements slated for your project’ next release (or the next few releases). So it acts as more of a project plan, breaking the big ideas down into smaller projects the community and main stakeholders of the project can make progress on.
Items labeled as
features are short or long term release items that shall
have an assignee and a milestone set.