Hi - I’m one of the maintainers (and I only speak for myself here, of course). I’m not normally active on this forum but it might be helpful for me to join in on this topic.
I’m very happy to see more interest in this part of the OSM dev community! I think there’s a ton of improvements that we can make for the website and the API, and I’ve been working for years on some of these and making some of the other things possible. A lot of that work has been refactoring and simplifying the existing codebase, so that we can more easily work on new features and new developers can get started more easily, and we’re really starting to see that pay off now. It’s definitely not a case of being on life-support or anything like that, it’s under sustained active development and I encourage everyone who is interested to join in. I’m also giving a talk at SOTM-EU on Sunday if anyone wants to know more.
I have to applaud @NorthCrab for the JFDI approach, I’ve done that before on a different OSM project, but a key difference was that the original was completely abandoned, and the alternative tech stack had been widely discussed and agreed apon. So there’s definitely risks with the current approach, as discussed by other people above, that the effort might just be duplicative work and the new code might not get deployed anywhere.
I want to be very clear - everyone is welcome to work on whatever they want to! Of course!
However I think there actually is a cost here, specifically an opportunity cost. I think we need lots more people working together on this topic, as one big team. We have very few developers who are willing and able to work on these things, and so if it’s at all possible, it would be best for us to work together, and make sure none of our efforts are wasted. We don’t have the spare developer capacity to make it risk-free.
So while @NorthCrab can work on whatever he wants, I would encourage him to first get more familiar with the existing openstreetmap-website project, and see what can be done to help there. At the very least, a better understanding of the existing project, along with experience gained from contributing to it for a few months, would be useful experience and informative for any future projects.
This is the bit that surprises me most about this project! The openstreetmap-website project is moderately complex (nowhere near as complex as any editor, IMHO, and I say that having been a Potlatch2 developer back in the day) but the complexity is nothing to do with the language. All the complexity comes from the environment around the project - all the users, the browsers, the API clients, the security, the changing HTML standards, the frameworks, the list of community expectations and implicit requirements etc etc etc. The ruby code is very straightforward, and I can’t see how it would be substantially less complex if the same features were re-written in other language, particularly such a similar language like python.
All the other topics mentioned, like API 0.7, or anti-vandalism, or optimized performance, could just as easily be implemented in the existing codebase, as incremental updates. And I would encourage @NorthCrab to do that - any incremental improvements will get merged, and definitely benefit the OSM mappers immediately, rather than potentially benefit them maybe at some unknown point in the future.
I’m happy to discuss any part of the openstreetmap-website project (others can vouch that I’m happy to go on about it at length whenever I’m given the chance ) and I can do that either here, or one-on-one with @NorthCrab if you want to deep-dive on any aspects. Or if anyone else has any questions then I’ll do my best to help.