Reporting bugs, proposing features
Inform remains an experimental system, still being developed, and all of us working on the project are volunteers. The help of Inform users is invaluable in trying to get the thing right.
Reporting Bugs in Inform
If you're not sure whether or not something surprising is a bug, you could try asking fellow Inform users at the intfiction forum. (If Inform produces what it calls an internal error, that's a sure sign - Inform should never do this, no matter how it's provoked.)
Inform has a public bug tracking system, which you can use for reporting bugs or browsing issues in Inform itself, in any of its IDEs, in the examples and documentation, and even in this very website.
If you would prefer to submit bugs by email, The Bug Report form contains instructions and contact information for reporting bugs in Inform's behavior. You will likely find that your bug has been entered into the bug tracking system within a few days, whereupon you can view developer comments and see any progress in fixing the bug.
Bugs in extensions should be reported to the maintainers of those extensions, who retain the individual responsibility for upkeep.
Making Feature Suggestions
Much of Inform's design has evolved through the suggestions of its users, as we receive feedback about what is useful for projects and what still stands in the way of authors.
Fresh suggestions about Inform are welcome, and are best submitted to the suggestion forum. Here users are able to vote for their favorite ideas and to compare notes on what they would find most useful.
Your suggestions are most likely to be useful if
- They are specific. If you would like to be able to do something new, can you give samples of the syntax that you would like to use? Can you explain what the results should be?
- They are grounded in experience. Ideas related to projects that you are working on or want to work on, and where you have done some exploration of the problem already, are more likely to be helpful than blue-sky speculation.
It's probably fair to say that we are more likely to accept suggestions if they follow the grain of Inform. There are well-established conventions used by all well-established conventional programming languages, but we don't necessarily follow them. We're not very interested in traditional computer-science syntax, and more interested in thinking about how natural language - and books, and newspapers - communicate.
Prior to the release of Inform 6E59, the authors of Inform used to collect suggestions privately. They would then, from time to time, post a consultation document that listed current plans, explained why rejected suggestions cannot be taken up, and requested more feedback on suggestions that are still under debate. Most of the content of these consultation documents may be found in the suggestion forum as well, in the form of old suggestions that have been completed or declined.
The original documents in their connected form are preserved here in case they're of interest to anyone reviewing Inform's development history.