Advice on deprecating feature with long tail (low-volume, high-impact)

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Stephen McGruer

Apr 26, 2022, 8:51:33 AM4/26/22
to, Mike West
Hi Blink API owners,

I'm looking for some guidance on deprecating a feature where my team is concerned about a long-tail of low-volume-but-high-impact sites - specifically, e-commerce sites - and how the Blink deprecation process fits in here.

The bug is (probably not visible due to being a security bug, happy to cc someone if more insight is needed), where the security folks have asked us to try a deprecation even if we're not confident we can get to the point where remaining breakage is acceptable from our point of view. We've done a UseCounter analysis and UKM analysis, which have led us to the understanding of a long tail of affected merchant sites.

My team is happy to give it a go, but were curious if you had recommendations on how to approach the deprecation period for something where the timeline is unclear. My understanding is that deprecations without end dates have historically failed - should we just pick a semi-arbitrary date (6 months? a year?) and target that?

Any other advice on this sort of deprecation? (Long-tail, unclear timeline, both breakage and revenue concerns for partners if sites don't adapt, etc).

Stephen & the Web Payments team

smcgruer • he / him

Chris Harrelson

Apr 26, 2022, 6:53:55 PM4/26/22
to Stephen McGruer,, Mike West
Hi Stephen and team,

I think you should:
* Pick a date you think *should* be enough and try it.
* Start a reverse origin trial for partners who need more time than that.
* Reach out to as many of these sites as you can..

We've had success in the past with such approaches. Web Components v0 and WebRTC Plan B semantics come to mind. In both of those cases, new complaints popped up when we transitioned from the deprecation to the reverse-origin-trial period, or at the end of the reverse origin trial, and in those cases we just extended the timeline a little bit. I think that would work in this case also.


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Stephen McGruer

Apr 27, 2022, 8:18:08 AM4/27/22
to Chris Harrelson,, Mike West
Ack, thanks Chris - we will give it a go :).
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