Why submit your MODs to the MOD Database?

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wGEric
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Why submit your MODs to the MOD Database?

Post by wGEric » Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:08 pm

Lately we have noticed that a lot of authors aren't taking advantage of submitting their MODs to the MOD Database. We do know this process takes some time and can be tiresome. We are doing our best to refine the system and speed MODs through.

Here are some reasons why authors should submit their MODs to the MOD Database
  • A free, brief security audit
    The MOD Team checks for security issues that may be in your MOD. We aren't perfect and may miss some vulnerable code.
  • Brief bug hunting
    MODs are briefly checked for bugs in the code. Less bugs will mean users won't have as many problems with using your MOD. We can't promise that we will find every bug.

    We also check to make sure you aren't using php functions that aren't supported by phpBB. This will make it so that users don't wonder why the MOD isn't working on their setups and it works for everyone else.
  • Following a standard makes everything easier
    We require MODs to follow a standard which makes it easier for users to install, easier for you, the author, to read the code, and it will also help lessen conflicts between MODs.
  • Free hosting for the MOD's files
    When the MOD is approved, the file to download it will be hosted for free here at phpBB.com
  • More people will use your MOD
    MODs that are in the MOD Database adhere to a strict standard. Users know this so users feel safer and more willing to install MODs from the Database. Often users are weary of installing a MOD still in development because it may have problems.

    We require MODs in the Database to follow the DBAL, Template system, and use $lang variables (fully translatable) which means more users will be able to use your MOD.
  • More exposure
    More people will view your MOD. Often people come here to phpBB.com looking for MODifications. This is the main phpBB site so we get lots of people browsing the site including the MODs Database.
  • Reviewed by experienced coders
    The MOD Team consists of experienced MOD Team members that have written many MODs. We review every MOD for free and give tips on how to improve your MODs.
  • MODs are tested with EasyMOD
    Most MODs within the database are able to be installed using EasyMOD on a vanilla install of phpBB. With most MODs, if it doesn't install using EasyMOD on a vanilla phpBB, then something is wrong with the MOD.
We hope every author takes the time to submit their MODs to the MOD Database and do what is needed to get them approved. Do this not only for yourself but for the phpBB Community. Thanks!
Last edited by wGEric on Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Swizec » Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:28 pm

Personally if I need a mod and don't find it on this site I stop looking.

That's the main reason why I always try to get my mods approved too ^^ Just gives you a better chance at getting a userbase...

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Post by Flaming_cows » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:03 am

The MOD database is great and all, but I don't think those reasons will really give people who don't submit MODs at the moment a newfound desire to do so.
Last edited by Flaming_cows on Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by MHobbit » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:05 am

Flaming_cows wrote: The MOD database is great and all, but I don't think those reasons will really give people who don't submit MODs at the momentg a newfound desire to do so.


What would?
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Post by drathbun » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:56 am

I have written my share of MODs. You just won't see most of them here. There are several reasons for that. First, the code may have been written for a client. It becomes their decision whether to release that code here or not, and most of the time they do not.

Second, if not written for a client, then the MOD is written for one of my own boards. I will sometimes float a trial balloon topic here to see how much interest there is, and if there isn't a lot of interest then that MOD won't be released here. Here is one example of something that I thought would be useful, and plan on writing for myself, that got a less than even lukewarm reception here. So odds are that even if I do get that one done, I won't bother to release it here. In this case it isn't the MOD process that would keep me from releasing the MOD here, it's the lack of market. :-) If the community doesn't appear interested, then it's not going to miss it if I don't submit it.

Third: Duplication. There are often MODs that I read just for the description or the idea of what they're doing, then go and write my own. There are MODs that I've downloaded and looked at (I will not provide any examples, other than many of them did not originate from this site's database) that are very poorly written. Or maybe it just doesn't work the way I want it to... so I write my own. Since there is already one MOD (or sometimes more) available that provides the function, I don't take the time to release mine.

Fourth: Complexity. And this probably comes down to the crux of the question, how long does it take to write the code versus how long does it take to package the code into an acceptable format for submission. If you look at the MODs I've submitted to the database, most of them are there because they are simple. Here is probably the best example of that... a one-liner. :-D It's such a simple change, but can really help (at least in my opinion).

I can spend as much time (or more) getting the MOD ready to submit as I spent writing it. When I write MODs, I'm generally writing something that I want for myself. That means that the codebase I'm starting with is already heavily MODded. So for me to release a MOD here I have to...
  1. Write and test the code
  2. Set up a "vanilla" phpBB board of whatever the latest version is
  3. Remember (or document) everything I did
  4. Apply all of the steps that I wrote down
  5. Test, go back and find the steps I left out (Repeat until done)
  6. Write up all of the steps in the MOD template
  7. Post here for testing / feedback from other users
  8. Submit to the MOD-DB
The biggest part of developing a MOD are steps 3-6. Many times after I've written the MOD I find that I am just not interested in doing those steps. I am trying to submit more of my stuff to the MOD-DB, and I'm in the process of writing some code :shock: that will make the process easier for me.

Brief side-track here... there is a huge market for EasyMOD. I don't personally use it, but I certainly understand the attraction. The market for MOD installers is obviously much larger than the market for MOD authors. Having said that... what would be awesome would be a MOD-Maker, something that you could point at two different versions of phpBB (and not necessarily "vanilla" versions), extract the differences, and write that up as a MOD install file. That would make creating MODs a no-brainer. All I would have to do is create a back-up copy of the initial code, develop my MOD, and then run the MOD-Maker on the two versions. That eliminates all of the steps that I personally find take the most time.

Clearly I would still have to validate the install instructions on a vanilla board. Believe me I do understand the challenges that such a program would face. :-) It's not a trivial process. Think of all the decisions that you (as a MOD author) have to make when writing up your MOD template, and try to encapsulate that into code. Wow.

But that's my answer to the question. None of it is intended as a criticism of the process, so please don't take it as such. It is intended to be an honest look at why at least one MOD author (played in this episode by "me" :lol:) doesn't have as many MODs here as I could.
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Post by MHobbit » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:00 am

drathbun wrote: Having said that... what would be awesome would be a MOD-Maker, something that you could point at two different versions of phpBB (and not necessarily "vanilla" versions), extract the differences, and write that up as a MOD install file. That would make creating MODs a no-brainer. All I would have to do is create a back-up copy of the initial code, develop my MOD, and then run the MOD-Maker on the two versions. That eliminates all of the steps that I personally find take the most time.


I believe one of the MOD Studio builds by smithy_dll accomplishes that.
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Post by ycl6 » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:04 am

drathbun wrote: Having said that... what would be awesome would be a MOD-Maker, something that you could point at two different versions of phpBB (and not necessarily "vanilla" versions), extract the differences, and write that up as a MOD install file. That would make creating MODs a no-brainer. All I would have to do is create a back-up copy of the initial code, develop my MOD, and then run the MOD-Maker on the two versions. That eliminates all of the steps that I personally find take the most time.

This tool exists and I think this is how Acyd come out with the upgrade scripts for phpBB.

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Post by drathbun » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:15 am

MennoniteHobbit wrote:
drathbun wrote:Having said that... what would be awesome would be a MOD-Maker, ...


I believe one of the MOD Studio builds by smithy_dll accomplishes that.

I don't develop on windows. From what I remember reading when that tool was first released, it was a windows-only platform.
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Post by Flaming_cows » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:25 am

I'd have to say that MOD packaging is the biggest barrier to my submitting MODs to the DB. I just can't be bothered to go back and retrace my steps.

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Post by drathbun » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:45 am

Flaming_cows wrote: I'd have to say that MOD packaging is the biggest barrier to my submitting MODs to the DB. I just can't be bothered to go back and retrace my steps.

A much more summarized version of what I said earlier. :-D Even if it isn't true, the perception that it might be true could be enough to make someone think twice about submitting a MOD.

As I said, I am not trying to complain about the process. I don't submit MODs anywhere else either, and most other sites are not as strict (or as helpful) as here. The reality (for me) is that once the coding is done, the fun is done too. The rest is too much like work. :lol:
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Post by phantomk » Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:30 am

I have gotten used to adding markers when I create a mod, sometimes I even write up instructions as I write the mod. If you aren't used to adding detailed markers as to what the orginal code was, what it was changed to and even how to modify the code to make it easymod friendly, then you won't like writeing the mod installation guides. I personally enjoy every step of createing and cleaning up the code for submitting a mod :)

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Post by wGEric » Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:17 am

This wasn't meant to be a debate and mainly for those that have a topic in the MODs in Development forum but never bother to finish the MOD or actual try to get it in to the MOD Database (they are using the Development forum as a release forum).

drathbun, with your first and second reasons, thats completely up to you. You are writing the code for a client or yourself and not the community. Like I said, this is mainly for people who wrote a MOD for the community but haven't submitted it to the MOD Database.
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Post by drathbun » Tue Jan 24, 2006 12:44 pm

wGEric wrote: This wasn't meant to be a debate and mainly for those that have a topic in the MODs in Development forum but never bother to finish the MOD or actual try to get it in to the MOD Database (they are using the Development forum as a release forum).

I apologize for my long response, as that was not clear to me. :oops:
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Post by DaWooster » Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:43 am

I'm just throwing my cards in the hat, but perhaps another reason why mods are not as wild here is because the mod's database isn't really organized. I mean... compare the following links...

http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/catdb.php?db=1
http://phpbbhacks.com/categories.php

phpBBhacks's category list is subdivided into 25 topics, each getting a brief summery so the browser has a better idea what they're after.

phpBB.com's mod category list is only 8 (12 if you include the utilites), and the terms are really vague. 'Add-ons' doesn't really tell me anything, and "Cosmetic/Styles" is a very bad description of what the contents are.


When looking within the categories...

http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/catdb.php?cat=53
http://www.phpbbhacks.com/category/18/

At phpBB, people browsing have to deal with only 1-2 mods fitting in their browser window at any particular time, this makes scaning for a mod rather bulky.

At phpBBhacks, the list is compacted compartitivly, yet a brief summery is also passed out. The layout is short-sweet and to the point.



From the developer passing by... modifications are really not emphasied and to a degree, it looks almost shunned unless you give it a second glance.

I'm just throwing ideas out, but I think it might be a good idea to move most of the links on http://www.phpbb.com/mods/ to above or below the box image, and turn the newly gained space into a mod directory. If you can make the mod directory much more user friendly then I think that it won't be as intimidating for developers. It's a shame really, 'cause while phpBBhacks may have a much better directory, their forums really pale to the layout and support provided here.

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Post by ruler » Wed Feb 01, 2006 5:53 am

ive seen some great MODS on this site and cant fugure out why they have not become part of the standard phpbb. after looking through the admin panel on my forum im supprised that there is no IP/IP Range ban facility?
no inbuilt facilitys to add an extra page? i can think of loads that could be added as standard to the standard phpbb. I'm not sure how long the phpbb project has been going or wether it does include good MODS over a period of time but there definatly is some fantastic MODS on this site.
I take my hat off to all those programmer that spend many hours/days/weeks programming and helping n00bs like me. I successfully added a tiny picture to my main forum and fell off me chair with excitment cos it worked, took me 3 weeks to figure it out. i thought i was god :lol: :lol: :lol:
but seriously there is a lot of wasted good code not being added to this site from some developers because they belive its not in anyone's interest but your wrong! it may not be needed at the present time but later it will be. i searched this site for weeks and found no mention of what i was looking for, there was no MODS found and no descussions for it yet its an obvious MOD? I'm supprised i couldnt find it here!

For those coders that think its a waste of time to submit your MODS then think again, it doesnt matter too much if the db on here is a bit of a mess the most important thing is its there to be found when needed. sometimes something is better than nothing :wink: phbb is a fantastic project but its like anything when you've been doing something for a long time you tend to take it for granted and it seems less important.

thanks

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