Benjamin Lannon

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VSCode Issue Tracker Post Mortem

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Back in September 2018, the VS Code team started looking into doing a yearly month where they'd reduce the feature work for a month and focus on issue triaging their issues.

With such I was curious how they could do with that feat. So, I set up a JS script that would run once an hour, use the GitHub API to grab how many open & closed issues there were at the time, and with such my VS Code Issue Tracker was born. Over the course of that month, they were able to reduce 1731 issues and mentioned the project in the release notes of VS Code version 1.28 which came out in early October that year.

VS Code 1.28 release notes noting my contributions with the issue tracker

Fast forward a year to 2019 and I decided to enhance this idea and dig further with this concept of historical charts for github repo data and I decided to test this out with the GatsbyJS project which I was an active contributor to at the time. From that, Gatsby GitHub Stats was made. Compared to the original issue tracker, this also tracked pull requests as well as the star count. I then copied the logic over to make a new version for VS Code as well.

Fast forward to 2023 and the projects mainly just ran on their own without any hiccups. That said, the nuance of GitHub issues is fairly detailed and I feel shouldn't really be treated as solely a whole number that goes up and down. When issues are opened, they could be bugs, feature requests, or possibly even spam. An owner of a GitHub repo could close said issue cause they don't have time, find out it isn't actually a bug, or just don't care on implementing something someone asked for.

So with all of that, if you delete say 200 issues but they are all just spam issues vs. closing actual bugs by fixing things, there is quite the difference between the effort of those two sides of the spectrum of work needed to be done. With that I decided a few months that I wanted to start shutting down these projects as I've moved on and wanted to wind them down because of the nuance described. All of these sites are no longer continually collecting new data anymore and the sites will stay as they are from here on out. If people wish to continue the projects, the code for all of them are below and open: