Blog discussion [continued]

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Tripp
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Tripp »

Paul wrote:
A_O_C wrote:you asked me too quickly... :D
  • "you are number xxx in the MOD queue". i really think this will help MOD authors understand why it may be taking so long to validate their MOD.
I can already tell you that that not will be added. I cant remember eexactly the reason, but we dont want to have that published. The current aaverage queue time gives already a pretty nice direction on how long it takes before your MOD is *probarly* validated. This time in the stats page is a average time in queue currently, devided by the number of MODs.
I have to disagree(Sorry if this has been addressed)

I took over David's Advanced Meta Tags mod and basically just updated the MODX file to the current one and sumbitted it. Although the queue said a little over one week, I waited for a little over three weeks before I contacted David about it. For one reason or another, it was "awaiting denial." And the problem was a tab in one find, which Jelly advised me to only use the first part of the find anyway and for the template file I put "proSilver" instead of "prosilver". To further my point, I resubmitted it and the queue time was right at one week and took almost two weeks I believe before it was finally validated.

I realize the MOD team isn't perfect but the queue time IS NOT the best way, IMHO, to let people know where their mod is.

Also, although this has probably been discussed, the "let members make changes" box needs to be made use of or it needs to be taken off. As I previously mentioned, the MOD I submitted was denied to two tiny reasons. It took me a whole 30 seconds to fix it and resubmit it. And like I said, took almost two weeks to validate it because of two tiny errors. So basically, it took over a month to get the mod into queue.
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by drathbun »

Here's another thought for your consideration... someone has already mentioned the checkbox for "allow to fix minor errors". What if that was extended to packaging flaws? Maybe the files are all there, but they're in the wrong place. Could that be something that the MOD Validator could fix just by repackaging the files?

I'm not suggesting that they create files that are missing (except perhaps the license file, which should be standard) but if the only issue with the MOD is file "X" is in folder "y" and should be in "z" instead... it seems that would qualify as a minor fix, and would be a quick way to pass the MOD through without a rejection / resubmission cycle.
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by A_O_C »

Drugs wrote:Also, although this has probably been discussed, the "let members make changes" box needs to be made use of or it needs to be taken off. As I previously mentioned, the MOD I submitted was denied to two tiny reasons. It took me a whole 30 seconds to fix it and resubmit it. And like I said, took almost two weeks to validate it because of two tiny errors. So basically, it took over a month to get the mod into queue.
this was already discussed in this thread and in another (made about a month ago).


drathbun wrote:Here's another thought for your consideration... someone has already mentioned the checkbox for "allow to fix minor errors". What if that was extended to packaging flaws? Maybe the files are all there, but they're in the wrong place. Could that be something that the MOD Validator could fix just by repackaging the files?
i guess this really depends. if it is a large MOD and there are 5+ files that are just totally in wrong places, then a deny is the correct couse of action (in my opinion). something simple like 1 or 2 files out of place (again, in my opinion) should be corrected by the validator, and pointed out in the approval PM.



i have only had 1 MOD (and only wrote 2 so far), that was approved and had a few minor things. that validator fixed those (THANKS!!!) and noted them in the approval PM. i have since resubmitted to include a fix, and made sure i addressed the issues the validator had pointed out. the point is that they do use it, but to a very small extent (in my case, a copy/paste issue in the comments of my code and SQL Queries - i think i had commas instead of semicolons).

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Highway of Life »

A_O_C wrote:this was already discussed in this thread and in another (made about a month ago).
Drugs wrote:Also, although this has probably been discussed
... /snip ...
(emphasis mine). You can’t expect everyone to read every topic, so if you point out that it’s already been discussed, at the very least, provide a link. :) -- this topic is regarding feedback, he’s giving his. I don’t care if 50% of the stuff in this topic has already been discussed. It’s a good time to bring it up.

Repack Policy
Regarding repack, we have recently clarified (internally) what would be a sensible repack, and what should instead be denied so that we are more consistent (thanks to your feedback).
We’re going to release a document on exactly what would qualify for repack, but here are a few basic ideas until that doc is released:
The “MOD Team may fix minor issues” checkbox must be checked.
MODs must have one or fewer deny-worth items, and generally if it would be faster to repack the MOD than to validate the MOD, repacking is preferable.
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Phil »

So, it would be to correct to summarize the policy as these "minor errors" would only be fixed if it was in the interest of time (time spent repacking and approving vs. time spent denying and revalidating in the future) and the issue is the only thing preventing the MOD from being validated?
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by EXreaction »

Or how about getting rid of that allow validators to fix minor edits, just deny the mod. Then when the new package gets submitted, if the mod is only fixing a packaging issue or something minor and has it noted in the note to the mod team, try to get to it asap instead of going through the entire queue before getting to it.

Personally, I'd rather fix my own packaging problems, but I'd rather it not go to the last place in the queue for a simple repackage.

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Highway of Life »

validated != approved.
If it is the only thing (deny worthy) keeping the MOD from being approved, we may also fix smaller non-deny-worthy issues as per the checkbox. But again only if it makes sense to fix and repack rather than deny and validate again.

To put it another way: If they check for us to fix small issues, and as long as the MOD has at most one deny worthy item, we would fix small issues, AND the single deny worthy item IF it makes sense to repack with these fixes rather than deny the MOD and validate it again upon submission by the MOD Author.

iWisdom has the basic concept down. :)
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Phil »

Alright, thank you for the clarification David :)
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Dark Frost »

Firstly, I have to say "wow" at this topic. I was reading up on STG and found a link suggesting I check it out.

I have spent several hours reading all the posts here and I see a lot of issues I would like to comment on, agree with or disagree with, but after thousands of words you lose your train of thought on an issue as you see another you want to reply on.

This topic really is good for the feedback, but I'm afraid if a member hasn't been there since it was made and kept up with it every day, the odds of them being able to offer feedback on every idea is rather slim.

On to my points, ideas and thoughts.

My view on the validation process vis-a-vis the moddb

I like the general idea of both, reasons as follows:

[*][/b] They offer a chance for the general public to download mods and styles deemed safe for use by the official forum software team. This is a very important factor when dealing with the common majority of people who have no idea or desire to know the inner workings of a modification or style. In a safety complex, trusting a mod because it has been officially validated can be the difference in using the mod or not.

[*][/b] Like stated many times before in this topic, time is a very important issue in all factors. Not only is time important to a phpbb developer or a staff member reading this topic, but also to someone who comes here looking for a mod. By validating every mod and setting standards, everyone benefits from it. Once you install one mod you get the basic idea of how the new ModX works, and you trust that the next mod you get will follow the same exact patter/layout/standards/packaging etc. In time any user will be installing mods in a breeze.

[*][/b] Not every mod author (myself included) has the extensive knowledge or level of expertise as another mod author. Sure, some mod authors can probably write the code for their mod off the top of their head, but most new mod authors have to rely on looking at other authors' code and learning from it. In several cases, the way they have a mod set up may not be the best or most efficient method. It may work fine but it still is not as good as it could be. Thus, mods getting rejected with pointers, tips, suggestions is the best idea I've seen with the entire modsdb.

-- As a new mod author, I have found it is very hard to get a push into the right direction with modding. I have been a style designer from everything to html pages in 1996 to phpbb styles up-to-date and I still don't know everything there is, but I could make a style with my eyes closed. This is because I have spent a severely massive amount of time teaching myself. The most commonly coveted tool for anyone interested in doing something is documentation. It's sad to say, but most of the time if you are not up to the level of a person you are asking, the only positive guidance you will get is "learn php" or "ask someone else, I'm busy". One thing I vowed to do when I reach the level of experience and knowledge of someone like Highway is to take some time and write out a "phpBB modding for dummies".

Some things to note why several mod authors will not submit their mods or have given up.

[*][/b] Authors may have accepted the fact that validating the mod can be a lengthy process, but there are other factors as well. Imagine you submit a simple mod that only took 5 hours to create, package and submit. Then the mod gets rejected because of an error. That's a good thing, it will help the author.. but how long did it take to be validated? If it took 2 weeks to get validated (queue) and there was an error that takes literally 30 seconds to fix, how long will it take the second time? What if there is another minor problem, but enough to cause it to be denied? These are things a mod author looks at.

[*][/b] Some mod authors listen to the beta testers and fond users of the mod intensely, so even on a mod that has been submitted and validated, releasing a new version a few days later with plenty of more features added and getting it submitted will take the same amount of time if not longer. Then what happens if the author releases another version (even if it is perfect) with plenty of more features before the second version is even validated? These are more things a mod author looks at.

[*][/b] What if a mod is validated and released and then found to have an issue or problem that got overlooked (like you said, even those who validate are human). The mod author might spot this the very next day and issue an update to address these issues, will thousands of users be able to download the mod before it is caught? Will the new version of the mod be validated fast enough to not ruin the mod or mod author's name? These are also things a mod author might look at.

Some feedback I want to comment on.

[*][/b] Some suggested that a mod that has been denied but has a simple fix, be allowed to get a "quick" fix then rushed through. What if an angry mod author decided to introduce a new little feature but didn't want to say anything so it wouldn't have to be completely re-validated? What if an angry mod author decided to purposely introduce a security hole, knowing it would reach thousands before it was caught?

I will stress this point and I can't think of enough words in the english language to stress it enough...
Full validation is a requirement, even if it takes longer than you wish. Think of the end users who could suffer if it was lightened.

[*][/b] It was discussed that exact positions of folders and files should be overlooked if the mod author is trusted or "experienced".

I do not agree with this at all. It should not matter who you are or how many mods you have created. Everyone should have to follow the exact same guidelines, high standards or not. This will only ensure the future progress and well-being of the entire community in the long run.

[*][/b] I noticed someone talking about code that would generate a complete perfect modx file.

I really don't see why this is such a big issue. It is very possible to make a little script that will take input fields and place them into the proper sections and output a downloadable modx file.

Some said the length of find and replace would be an issue. You already have several mod authors cutting find lines short and it even states in the installation that it may be a partial find and not the whole line. So in the input field on the generator, have it cut text at 20o characters.

Considering the highly capable members discussing this, I think I obviously missed a point somewhere, so please go into further detail on what this script needs to do and I will have at it.

Personal opinions

I think personal reasons should not fuel a person's perspective when dealing with such a broad issue as this. Anger tends to lean a person's thinking into a more self-centered direction and closes off reason...

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by EXreaction »

Dark Frost wrote:One thing I vowed to do when I reach the level of experience and knowledge of someone like Highway is to take some time and write out a "phpBB modding for dummies".
I am not sure what one would accomplish or how one would even write such a thing. As for comments about learning PHP, you simply can not mod phpBB without at least some knowledge of PHP. Once somebody learns the basics of PHP, creating mods should not be much of an issue. The coding guidelines and how to write ModX files is enough for how to write readable code and working install instructions.

As for writing good mods, tutorials won't help. Good code comes from good guidelines and experience.

I can only think of one thing that should be noted in a tutorial, and that is about the info_(acp|mcp|ucp)_ language files. Everything else comes down to what specifically somebody wants in a mod, and a tutorial can't tell you how to how to write the code you want to use for a mod unless it was just info about available built in functions, but a tutorial shouldn't just repeat the information that can be had by reading the comments and function names.
Dark Frost wrote:[*][/b] Some suggested that a mod that has been denied but has a simple fix, be allowed to get a "quick" fix then rushed through. What if an angry mod author decided to introduce a new little feature but didn't want to say anything so it wouldn't have to be completely re-validated? What if an angry mod author decided to purposely introduce a security hole, knowing it would reach thousands before it was caught?

I will stress this point and I can't think of enough words in the english language to stress it enough...
Full validation is a requirement, even if it takes longer than you wish. Think of the end users who could suffer if it was lightened.
That is why you would use a diff tool to compare it. Something like Winmerge can compare all the files in a directory. If there was a bunch of stuff changed or added you simply keep it at the end of the line.

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Highway of Life »

Dark Frost wrote:[*] Some suggested that a mod that has been denied but has a simple fix, be allowed to get a "quick" fix then rushed through. What if an angry mod author decided to introduce a new little feature but didn't want to say anything so it wouldn't have to be completely re-validated? What if an angry mod author decided to purposely introduce a security hole, knowing it would reach thousands before it was caught?
Fortunately, there are many users who review code for in-development MODs, and report if there are security issues, so we’ve pulled MODs from MODs in Development before thanks to these users.

If the Author submitted the MOD to the MOD Database with a security hole, deliberate or accidental, we *will* likely catch it. Security is the very main thing we are looking for during validation. Plus, if they try to hide it by making it complex, that alone throws up red flags, we would decode it and find the security hole, or just deny it for being too overly complex to even read.

That said, I’ve never seen an Author purposefully publish a security hole, many accidental though.
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Dark Frost »

Point taken EXreaction, I guess they do employ several tools for validating mods, so the odds of this happening are slim.

Just a thought.

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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by david63 »

I am not sure if this is really part of this topic or not but there are some overlapping issues so here goes.

The current situation is that if I create a mod I post it in the Mods in Development forum with a download link which I can keep updating until the mod is accepted. Once the mod is accepted the development forum topic is "dead" so I have it locked and support for the mod moves to Moddb Releases forum - no problems so far.

If I then decide to add some new features, bug fixes or whatever where should I post that - obviously it cannot (should not) go in the mod releases so do I reopen the development topic or start a new topic? Whichever option is used has the potential to create some confusion as users may "think" that this is an update to an approved mod - which obviously it is not.

As far as I can see there does not appear to be a policy on this, but no doubt I will be pointed to one if I have missed it!
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Highway of Life »

http://www.phpbb.com/mods/rules/develop ... php#rule3f

No worries, I didn’t expect you to find it... I’m not sure we have that section linked yet. :shock:
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Re: Blog discussion [continued]

Post by Highway of Life »

Topic posts with summary lists split from main topic: http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... &t=1101885
This should make it easier for others to read this topic and also to find a list of suggestions thus far.

iWisdom, can you update your list with the latest suggestions from drathbun and EXreaction?
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