Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

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Highway of Life
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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by Highway of Life » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:44 pm

daveht wrote:Would you guys please separate your mod releases by phpbb version releases. I get a little upset to scroll through the mod releases database and finding one I like just to click on it and find that it is for an older version of phpBB.

Thank you!
Dave
Most (or all) MODs for 3.0.x (any version) will work on the latest version of 3.0.4 and should continue to work beyond. If a MOD states that it works for 3.0.1, it should still work on the latest. You might get into issues with some MODs that are 3.0.RC5 or earlier that are not working perfectly for the latest version, but those are a very very small number of MODs.
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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by daveht » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:42 am

Thank you!

Dave

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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by MichaelWagner » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:57 am

Let me get one part out of the way. I've never submitted a mod, so I've left out all those questions.

1. How much experience do you have using the MOD Database? Considerable in V2.
2. Do you like the MOD Database? It's OK
3. What do you like about the MOD Database? Same as everyone else. Validated mods.
7. Do you like the MOD Database Validation process and see it as valuable? Yes, see 3
10. Do you prefer downloading MODs from the MOD Database, from the MOD Development forum or from an alternate (other sites) source? If the same function is available in multiple places, I prefer the MOD database.
11. How do you think the MOD Team could improve the MOD Database to be better and easier to use?

This is really the heart of my response. The guy who wrote some time ago about documentation was both right and wrong. Let's take this SEO MOD as an example. I'm not trying to pick on this author but to illustrate a point.
Modification name: SEO MOD
Author: Handyman`
Modification description: Gives your forum static URL's
Of course it does. That's what SEO mods do. But the real question is, how?

How is the static URL composed?
Does it come from the name of the forum? The subforum? The topic? For that matter, what does he mean by forum here?
If it comes from the name of the forum, subforum or topic:
  • What happens if you rename the forum after a month when someone realizes there's an ambiguity in the original name?
  • How are the hierarchies of forums in V3 handled?
If not
  • is the name a separate field in the board, forum and topic properties?
What about the rest of SEO? Can you set the description and keywords metatags for the index page? for viewforum? for viewtopic?

If there were 3 SEO mods, this is how they would distinguish themselves. By their handling of these various issues.

I'd like to be able to see this kind of significant detail without wading through 23 pages of "how do I use MODX?". So it kind of is a MOD Database question, or at least, it should be addressed at a fixed point in the standard set of postings when a mod is accepted for validation. Like posting 4? I realize a concise but moderately complete explanation of what the mod does might take more than a sentence, and there isn't room for much more than a sentence in the MOD database, but I'd like to be able to find a somewhat more complete explanation without hunting forever.

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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by A_O_C » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:45 am

Michael,

This is really the job of the MOD AUTHOR. If you have questions about a particular MOD, you need to ask them. The MOD TEAM validates the MOD to make sure there are no vulnerabilities regarding security and other specifics. The description shouldnt be used to tell the life-story of the MOD, just a simple explanation of what it does. This is also the reason that the third post in the release topic is always by the MOD AUTHOR, but it is their responsibility to update that post if they see fit. Im sorry, I just dont see how you like the MOD TEAM to get this kind of detail. Do you have any suggestions? I, as well as them Im sure, would be happy to hear them. ;)

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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by MichaelWagner » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:40 pm

Oh, I absolutely agree that the mod author should be writing that description, not the validators, but the guidelines should ask for such a one paragraph overview and the validators should reject mods that don't have an adequate one.

I can't tell you how many mods in V2 I actually downloaded and read the code (and in some cases, installed, to see what the **** the code really did) merely in order to uninstall them again, because it didn't really do what I understood from the half-sentence description.

I don't want a blow by blow description of the code - else I could have read the code.

I'm looking for something like these examples. Taking the SEO mod as an example, it could say:
Using .htaccess, provides the illusion of named directories and files on top of the phpbb structure. Only works if your web server supports .htaccess (common for *nix, uncommon for Windows). Uses special fields added to the control panel (for the index) and each forum or subforum management to set the directory names. Automatically regenerates the .htaccess files if the names have been changed. Topic names are built by taking all the words in the topic subject and replacing spaces and non-printables with hyphens.
A fairly simple statement of what information goes into the mod, where it comes from, how it is manipulated by the mod, and where the output goes.

As another example, let's take Ptirk's calendar mod for V2 (too bad he doesn't seem to want to do it in V3). I don't really remember if this is how it worked, I never actually ran it, but if it's not right for V2, you still get the idea.
Using a single date-time field, certain topics are identified as "event" topics. All event topics (that you have forum permissions to see) are listed in a special "calendar" area at the top of the index page. Clicking on the topic in the calendar takes you to viewtopic for the topic. The topics also appear in the normal forum listings. Event topics have an extra line at the top where the date time is presented.
This fairly immediately tells you what the mod can and can't do. Single date, so it can't do repeating events. No duration, so you can't show that an event goes on for three days. Etc.
Fred Brooks, in Chapter 9 of The Mythical Man-Month, said this:

Show me your flowchart and conceal your tables, and I shall continue to be mystified. Show me your tables, and I won't usually need your flowchart; it'll be obvious.

That was in 1975.

Eric Raymond, in The Cathedral and the Bazaar, paraphrased Brooks' remark into more modern language:

Show me your code and conceal your data structures, and I shall continue to be mystified. Show me your data structures, and I won't usually need your code; it'll be obvious.
I'm just asking that we document the overview of the data structures and data flow. At least the ones that will determine if a Mod is worth persuing further or not.

Oh, credit where credit is due. The quote is from: http://www.dreamsongs.com/ObjectsHaveNotFailedNarr.html

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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by Paul » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:56 pm

We dont have, and we dont have any plans to change this, any requirements for the description as its the authors responsibility to write a good text to describe his own MOD.
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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by MichaelWagner » Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:04 pm

Paul wrote:its the authors responsibility to write a good text to describe his own MOD.
Absolutely. I already agreed to that.

But just like good coding is a requirement, so should (at least the existence of an attempt to provide) decent documentation be.

Could you at least provide a place for a decent 1 or 2 paragraph description to go if the author was nice enough to provide one?
Last edited by MichaelWagner on Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by Paul » Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:06 pm

He can provide a description as long he wants at the moment he submits a MOD. There is no limit in size that that description. He can also add any more info into the 3rd post at the topic.
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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by Dragonwolf » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:54 pm

I'm sorry in advance about moaning! 8-) Mods from this place are usualy very very high quality and I've actualy told my webhost off for questioning how good your code is. And I'm not sure if this should really go here. But I've been modding a lot this week and a few things came up that I really think need fixing. Lesee,

Mods that tell you to 'Add after' [not 'inline add after'] somthing in the middle of a line. There are quite a few of these, and they are frightening if you don't know much about code. Worse though, are the ones that tell you find somthing in the middle of a line, then add after, or, worse still, replace with, a large block of text taking up several lines. Here's an example:

Find
Tip: This may be a partial find and not the whole line.

Code: Select all

{postrow.POST_AUTHOR}
The line it finds

Code: Select all

<b class="postauthor"<!-- IF postrow.POST_AUTHOR_COLOUR --> style="color: {postrow.POST_AUTHOR_COLOUR}"<!-- ENDIF -->>{postrow.POST_AUTHOR}</b>
Replace With

Code: Select all

<!-- IF S_QR_ACTIVE -->
				<!-- IF S_QR_COLOR_NICK -->
					<!-- IF postrow.POST_AUTHOR_COLOUR -->	
					<a href="#" onclick="insert_text('[b][color={postrow.POST_AUTHOR_COLOUR}]{postrow.POST_AUTHOR}[/color][/b], ', true, false); return false;"><span style="color: {postrow.POST_AUTHOR_COLOUR};" class="username-coloured">{postrow.POST_AUTHOR}</span></a>
					<!-- ELSE -->
					<a href="#" onclick="insert_text('[b]{postrow.POST_AUTHOR}[/b], ', true, false); return false;"><span style="color: {postrow.POST_AUTHOR_COLOUR};" class="username-coloured">{postrow.POST_AUTHOR}</span></a>					
					<!-- ENDIF -->
				<!-- ELSE -->
					<a href="#" onclick="insert_text('[b]{postrow.POST_AUTHOR}[/b], ', true, false); return false;"><span style="color: {postrow.POST_AUTHOR_COLOUR};" class="username-coloured">{postrow.POST_AUTHOR}</span></a>			
				<!-- ENDIF -->
			<!-- ELSE -->
				{postrow.POST_AUTHOR_FULL}			
			<!-- ENDIF -->
I think it means replace the whole line, but I have no idea. :? There are a couple of other things unfortunatly. :P The biggest one is mods that tell you to replace a chunk of code that you may need to find later. I don't know if there is anything in the instructions on here, not that anyone reads instructions 8-) , but I've started turning them into notes instead. I don't know what you could do about that though.
Uh, last thing, I think Prosilver style based changes would be better off in a seperate file, as Subsilver 2 changes already are. I say this because some people have a habit of not putting the prosilver edits right at the end of the file, sorry to pick on the great Soft Delete mod, but it asks you to do all the Prosilver edits, then the Posting.php, Search.php, Viewforum.php and Viewtopic.php edits. :?

Sorry again. :P

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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by Trittersz » Sun May 31, 2009 11:38 pm

I dislike the mod database. It seems a lot of the mods here are still under development, still working out bugs, and shouldn't be applied to live sites.

If you search any number of threads you even see the mod authors saying there needs to be more work, or we missed this, or I'll release the fix in the next release.

Why have a mod database with approved mods that aren't able to work on live sites? They should still be under the development sections. I think there needs to me a lot more testing done from the person who approves the mod before allowing it to be posted here.

It's especially frustrating as a newbie to this application. I've worked with many different open source applications and mods, but never had to do the filtering and reading through all the posts as I do here.

Sorry for such a negative review, it's just my opinion.

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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by Martin Truckenbrodt » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:10 pm

Hello trittersz,
this is the MOD database: http://www.phpbb.com/mods/db/
This is not the MOD database: http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewforum.php?f=70

But I think you are telling one problem that can result misunderstandings:
The forum description
A place for MOD Authors to post and receive feedback on MODs still in development. No MODs within this forum should be used within a live environment!
is not displayed on the page http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewforum.php?f=70
But always dev means dev! Nothing different!

http://www.phpbb.com/mods/rules/development_forum.php

Bye Martin
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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by Trittersz » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:03 pm

Martin Truckenbrodt wrote:Hello trittersz,
this is the MOD database: http://www.phpbb.com/mods/db/
This is not the MOD database: http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewforum.php?f=70

But I think you are telling one problem that can result misunderstandings:
The forum description
A place for MOD Authors to post and receive feedback on MODs still in development. No MODs within this forum should be used within a live environment!
is not displayed on the page http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewforum.php?f=70
But always dev means dev! Nothing different!

http://www.phpbb.com/mods/rules/development_forum.php

Bye Martin
I'm posting in the Mod Database Release forum, which is where I've been searching mods that I referred to above. There is no misunderstanding, I'm not an idiot, Dev/Release, not difficult to understand

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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by Martin Truckenbrodt » Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:04 pm

Hello trittersz,
MODs in the MOD database are not still under construction as you've posted it above! They are validated. This means that they are running and that they have been tested by the MOD team successfully.

Perhaps, e.g. like some of my MODs, there are new or updated features added with new releases othe MODs.

Bye Martin
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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by ..::Frans::.. » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:02 pm

The validation process.....
*sigh*

It keeps swimming againsat the stream. I uploaded (again) a mod for validation. Again it was turned down for reasons, well, like i said. It seems like swimming against the stream. The main reason for turning down the mod was because of......erm, following the code guidelines...... In fact, i was advised to do something that is 180 degrees the other way around of the coding guidelines.

After asking some things about validation....there was NO reply (yes, few days later, stating they havent seen my question...... and, well, nothing. (Yes, one of the reasons the validation failed was because of a bug in phpbb 3.05 that me (and others) added to the bug tracker....... The last reply when questioning about this: yes, this seems to be the same issue.....)

Furthermore, the mod was turned down because i used the next sentence in my language file:

Code: Select all

	'WPM_SENDER'			=> 'Sender\'s name',
according to the validator this needs to be:

Code: Select all

	'WPM_SENDER'			=> "Sender's name",

evenm though the coding guidelines clearly state:
// Good - Literal straight quotes should be escaped with a backslash, ie: \

...
'CONV_ERROR_NO_AVATAR_PATH'
=> 'Note to developer: you must specify $convertor[\'avatar_path\'] to use %s.',
...


(and 2 lines down):
// Bad - The un-escapsed straight-quote/apostrophe will throw a PHP parse error

...
'USE_PERMISSIONS' => 'Test out user's permissions',
...
// Okay - However, non-programmers wouldn't type "user\'s" automatically

...
'USE_PERMISSIONS' => 'Test out user\'s permissions',
...
// Best - Use the Unicode Right-Single-Quotation-Mark character

...
'USE_PERMISSIONS' => 'Test out user’s permissions',


Pointing this out to the validator gives........NOTHING, no reply, no nothing since the last one, 1 week ago.

Now i understand people are busy, i understand the validation team must validate loads of mods but would it be too much to ask for a decent answer, a reply of not more than, well, 2 lines, saying the validation wasn't going as it should be and the validation team will validate it again ????? Or the "team" will validate the new mod or......


Nope, nothing of the kind. A simple and clean NO REPLY and that is the most frustrating part. It seems the validator made a few errors, and when pointing them out there is simply no answer, and you'll have to wait until the new mod is validated at....well, later......


I am really really annoyed with this right now. My feedback on the validation process is, well let's keep it nice in here:

Try to get some validators that know their code, know their own coding guidelines and know what bugs are in the bug tracker. I think validation would dramatically decrease then....(as it seems that mods aren't turned down while they shouldn't......)

For now i wish all validators wisdom and an nice and long quit weekend.......
...pong

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Re: Your feedback on the MOD Database and Validation process

Post by DavidIQ » Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:17 am

Hello ..::Frans::..

First of all you were replied to on the 8th about the language characters and on the 11th about the issue that was found. We try to be as speedy as we can but can't always get to those in a timely fashion. Second of all please don't make it seem like we denied your MOD because of language file usage when that's not the case. Your MOD, as you very well know, was denied due to a problem a validator found during testing. Through the discussion we came to the conclusion that it was a bug that has been reported as happening sometimes in phpB and you were informed of this.

Also with regards to what you've mentioned about the usage of tick marks in language files you yourself clarified exactly what's the best thing to be used:
..::Frans::.. wrote:// Best - Use the Unicode Right-Single-Quotation-Mark character

...
'USE_PERMISSIONS' => 'Test out user’s permissions',
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