Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

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warmweer
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by warmweer »

PlanetStyles.net wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:53 pm
I have to respectfully disagree.
I also have to respectfully disagree ... but ... with the automatic approval.

As I mentioned before: everyone can make mistakes, whether they are large mistakes or an oversight or just bad luck that a typo passed unnoticed which would only cause a problem in a very specific (or rare) case.
In my experience with testing extensions, I have come across errors which I only found through luck (call it bad luck for the trusted author). It's part of the process in trying to ascertain that a validated extension will not cause an error on the board.
It doesn't imply that there will never be any errors as it's impossible to test on all php or database systems (nor versions) but it's a minimum standard to be reached (which BTW doesn't even imply that the validator can test all features/combinations). Sometimes an extension can be tested in 30 minutes but sometimes it takes days. (and I'm talking about functional testing only).

As to styles (with which I have no formal testing experience) I can imagine testing being a lot more tedious and errors being a lot more difficult to find.

The solution to the "waiting" problem has been mentioned in this topic and is the same solution which is (in many cases) applied with extensions: making the new release version available on the author's site or on Github which has the added advantage that the style (or extension) will be "tested" by more users.
Basically it's the same principle with RCs before they are submitted for validation
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by PlanetStyles.net »

warmweer wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:08 pm
In my experience with testing extensions, I have come across errors which I only found through luck (call it bad luck for the trusted author).
This is exactly part of the problem and why change is needed. The eyes of thousands using a product will find issues faster than the Author and one validator.
warmweer wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:08 pm
As to styles (with which I have no formal testing experience) I can imagine testing being a lot more tedious and errors being a lot more difficult to find.
Styles validation is extremely simple, just very tedious. Which perhaps explains why nobody does it with enthusiasm. If it's a new style you're checking whether it installs, looks accurate, doesn't have any weird overlapping elements / colours, and checking if the responsive layout works. If it's an existing style, you're checking whether the update has implemented the same version changes as the prosilver update, while also skimming over other file differences.

The value being offered here is minimal, and certainly not worth the delay in respect of item updates. As described above, the eyes of many users will achieve this to a greater extent than one validator on their test forum.
warmweer wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:08 pm
The solution to the "waiting" problem has been mentioned in this topic and is the same solution which is (in many cases) applied with extensions: making the new release version available on the author's site or on Github which has the added advantage that the style (or extension) will be "tested" by more users.
No, this isn't a solution. It's an unsustainable workaround that requires duplication of work and confuses end users.

The proposed solution solves multiple problem for all: Authors can release updated work instantly, end users don't wait for version updates, CDB feel like less inclined to perform a chore and get to investigate more engaging issues.
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by GTI »

PlanetStyles.net wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:53 pm
Consider ThemeForest as an example.
Can ThemeForest be considered an example?

Presumably they get a fee from every item sold? so from a business point of view making it easier for you to sell your item is attractive to them.

There have been styles on ThemeForest that have had events missing etc, would all the styles on ThemeForest pass validation here on phpBB?
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by PlanetStyles.net »

GTI wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:25 pm
PlanetStyles.net wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:53 pm
Consider ThemeForest as an example.
Can ThemeForest be considered an example?
...
making it easier for you to sell your item is attractive to them.
No Author on ThemeForest is exempt from absolute validation. When issues are reported and not fixed, ThemeForest will engage with the Author to fix the item, or it will be removed from the marketplace - I suggested we adopt the same here so that some level of accountability remains present.

In fact because ThemeForest themes are sold for real world currency, envato and TF Authors are subject to many region-specific consumer laws that stipulate that goods can't be sold if they're known to be broken / malfunctioning or not as described. I was an envato employee at the time they implemented trusted updates, so can reliably say their reasons for doing this approach were the same as the basis of this suggestion here: Validation of many items by a single team is not efficient or engaging. There was no commercial reason for implementing trusted updates.
There have been styles on ThemeForest that have had events missing etc, would all the styles on ThemeForest pass validation here on phpBB?
Well, a missing template event is an extremely trivial thing. It doesn't break any core functionality and takes < 1 minute to fix. Although, it's fair to say that no styles in the CDB would be accepted onto the envato marketplace due to the outdated design style still adopted by most users here.
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by PlanetStyles.net »

What I'd be interested in learning from people opposing the suggestion is:

- What specifically concerns you?
- Are there any other suggestions to the problem that don't rely on: recruiting more phpBB team members, or hosting a mirror download while the CDB version is being validated?
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by GTI »

I don't oppose the suggestion, some people only install validated styles and extensions so if they have to wait ages they may not bother updating their phpBB version until the extensions or styles are validated for it so it can impact users as well as authors.

So if trusted updates were implemented I would suggest the following,

A) Introducing a feedback/rating system.
B) Users must register to download styles and extensions.

Registering would help prevent rating/feedback manipulation.

Users with 20 ratings of at least 4 out of 5 stars could be trusted.

If users know that their rating will help keep the free style or extension being updated they would be more inclined to rate it.

There is a rating on each style in the CDB and prosilver has just 6 ratings so in its current state nobody really bothers to rate styles or even notices you can rate them.

It also says prosilver has been downloaded 20,820 times, it went to 20,838 when I refreshed the page, so total downloads is not a reliable source of info because I doubt 20,000 people have downloaded prosilver in just 21 days, given that it is pre installed and can't be deleted.
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by david63 »

PlanetStyles.net wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:47 pm
a missing template event is an extremely trivial thing.
It may seem "trivial" to a style developer but to an extension developer it can be a major issue.

One thing that has puzzled me for some time, and it could go some way towards helping with this issue, is that there is a group called Recognised Extension Developers but not one for Recognised Style Developers!
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by Gumboots »

david63 wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:14 am
PlanetStyles.net wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:47 pm
a missing template event is an extremely trivial thing.
It may seem "trivial" to a style developer but to an extension developer it can be a major issue.
Well, it can stop your extension working, but if your extension works on Prosilver and doesn't work on a particular custom style I'm sure most extension developers would say "There's something wrong with your style. Get the author to check for missing default events." So it doesn't really end up being the extension developer's problem, and the style author can (or should be able to) fix it quickly.
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by Tastenplayer »

It is so easy to overlook something, to forget to update something. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes careless mistakes creep in.
That's why it's essential that the validation team checks everything. Even they can overlook something or do not always see everything.

In addition, you can create your own style forum where all styles can be downloaded more quickly. Unfortunately, many users do not realise that they can also download styles there or are sceptical and prefer to wait until they are validated.

@GTI
Hardly anyone takes the effort to evaluate a style. They would also hardly rate the quality of the style authors.
I am against ratings in a forum. If someone doesn't like you, he gives you a bad rating. If someone likes you well, they rate you well. It doesn't really say anything about the quality of the content.
Most style users do not know much about the subject matter. So how are they supposed to be able to assess the quality of a piece of work.

The number of downloads has not been right for a long time. Several bots seem to be downloading masses of styles. In the past, you didn't have so many downloads of your styles. I mean, it can hardly be possible that so many people downloaded my Christmas style, which was validated after Christmas. Because of a bug in the responsive (wrong image link since the first style release) that Raul discovered.
Definitely: Only logged-in users should be able to download styles from the style database. Or a confirmation query that no bot can download a style (Same for the extensions).
Gumboots wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:32 am
if your extension works on Prosilver and doesn't work on a particular custom style I'm sure most extension developers would say "There's something wrong with your style. Get the author to check for missing default events." So it doesn't really end up being the extension developer's problem, and the style author can (or should be able to) fix it quickly.
Wrong! Extensions are being developed for the Prosilver. Not every extension works in every style. There are extensions that do not work in a very specific style. However, this is not a fault of the style, but rather the style is so special that the extension simply does not fit in it (a little difficult to formulate correctly in English, sorry). Sometimes it is a hell of a job to try to adapt an extension to your style. No fix it quickly.
Often the extension developer knows better why his extension does not work in this style. Some extensions are so complex that a Otto normal style author can't even see through them.

I definitely make sure that the official extensions work in each of my styles. But you can't test every x arbitrary extension when you create a new style. The official ones have to work.
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by Gumboots »

Tastenplayer wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:29 pm
Gumboots wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:32 am
if your extension works on Prosilver and doesn't work on a particular custom style I'm sure most extension developers would say "There's something wrong with your style. Get the author to check for missing default events." So it doesn't really end up being the extension developer's problem, and the style author can (or should be able to) fix it quickly.
Wrong! Extensions are being developed for the Prosilver. Not every extension works in every style.
Thank you for making my point for me. Although I'm not sure how restating my point can be wrong if you are simultaneously arguing for it. ;)
There are extensions that do not work in a very specific style. However, this is not a fault of the style, but rather the style is so special that the extension simply does not fit in it (a little difficult to formulate correctly in English, sorry). Sometimes it is a hell of a job to try to adapt an extension to your style. No fix it quickly.
I understand what you are saying, but you're talking about presentation. The extension will still work, but it will look like crap or interfere with other parts of the interface. That's the style author's problem, IMO, or the forum owner's problem. They can access whatever markup or CSS or js is being applied, so should be able to figure out a fix. The extension author can advise of course, but wouldn't be obliged to. Past a certain point, if you want to run a custom interface you have to take responsibility for your choice.
I definitely make sure that the official extensions work in each of my styles. But you can't test every x arbitrary extension when you create a new style. The official ones have to work.
That's a reasonable policy.
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by Tastenplayer »

Even the style author is not obliged to find an adaptation to his style for every extension :-). Unfortunately, there are already extensions that are impossible to adapt to your style. Even if you move the event, it sometimes doesn't work.

But all that is not the subject of this topic.
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by PlanetStyles.net »

Tastenplayer wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:29 pm
It is so easy to overlook something, to forget to update something. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes careless mistakes creep in.
Sure. Nobody is suggesting that a 'trusted' author will never make mistakes in their work. The basis of the proposal is simple: Authors are trued to update their own work without validation, and trusted to fix a problem when it's reported. I really feel like this is the part that isn't being understood.

Considering the following scenario:

Current validation process: User finds issue in style. Author submits update. Waits 1+ month for approval. Gets approved. User finds another issue that slipped through the CDB team. Author re-submits. Wait 1+ month again.

Proposed process: User finds issue in a style. Author submits update. Everyone gets the fixed version immediately.

This really is a no-brainer.
Tastenplayer wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:29 pm
it's essential that the validation team checks everything. Even they can overlook something or do not always see everything.
Exactly. This is why we need to remove the CDB's involvement in item validation and let users work directly with authors on any issues that come up. Enable authors to publish updates quickly.

Trusted / Recognised authors whose uploads aren't validated every time is the way to make this happen.
Last edited by PlanetStyles.net on Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by Gumboots »

I agree that it does seem to make a lot of sense. We are only talking updates, which in the vast majority of cases will only be incorporating fairly trivial changes anyway. Most styles do not have that many templates, and the default template changes between versions are usually not that complex.* It's not at all like validating a style from scratch. The scope for errors is greatly reduced.

*There may be occasional exceptions, but I'm basing this on what I've seen over the past half a dozen versions since I stared looking at phpoBB code.
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by warmweer »

The idea certainly is certainly worth discussing, certainly the advantages, but let's not forget the possible drawbacks.
  • definition of trusted style developer (TSD) : precise criteria? - can a TSD be demoted? ;)
  • will there be a distinction between a RC, a validated style version, and an updated style (not yet validated)? i.o.w. versioning system?
  • will an update of a validated style eventually be validated?
  • feel free to add (no inspiration ATM)
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Re: Can we implement trusted updates in the styles database?

Post by Tastenplayer »

Proposed process: User finds issue in a style. Author submits update. Everyone gets the fixed version immediately.
Yes, and if you discover an error yourself after the style has already been submitted for validation, you have to send Raul a PN telling him to deny the style. This has already happened to me.
Because before the submitted style is denied, you can't upload the improved version.
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