The forge and discontinued extensions

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The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by hvanleeuwen » Thu Jul 06, 2006 10:26 am

Even though the extensions section holds true gems there is also big disappointment just around the corner for, especially newbie, Joomla users.

When you browse the extensions, it is amazing how many extensions there are but looks are deceiving! Many of the extensions have very poor support, or none at all, quite a lot have been abandoned by there developer yet still have a website. There are even some commercial extensions that can still be bought yet are seriously bug ridden and have (almost) no support from their developer. This is a growing problem and should be dealt with by the Extension maintainer (aka Joomla).

There are several ways to make clear to users which extension they should not try and which are 'safe' to try. The upcoming 1.5 release will probably make this only worse if this problem isn’t addressed by the extension maintainer.

As a user, I am really tired of bad support and developers who are not honest enough to say that their extension is end of life; I cannot imagine that I am the only one feeling like this and in the end, it might even hurt Joomla.

I understand that the Joomla development team cannot be held responsible for the extensions but since they do offer the wonderful forge and extension section they can change this before it is too late.

Mind you, this is by no means meant as an attack on Joomla! I just hope this will start a discussion and eventually bring a solution!

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by Jenny » Thu Jul 06, 2006 11:18 am

Are you talking about the forge http://forge.joomla.org, or the extensions directory site http://extensions.joomla.org ?
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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by hvanleeuwen » Thu Jul 06, 2006 11:43 am

I can understand why you ask, as handy as it all is it is not always transparent. basically I am talking about badly or non supported Joomla extensions and more specifically those 'listed' by Joomla on the extensions section of Joomla.org i.e. http://extensions.joomla.org most of the extensions listed there can be downloaded from http://developer.joomla.org or http://forge.joomla.org thus they are somewhat connected to Joomla. So I am not talking about those extensions that you find with a Google search.

The reason for the distinction is that I have a very high opinion of the Joomla developers and when they list an extension to me it means that it should be worth checking out and it works. However this is becoming rarer by the month, many of the extensions have no or bad support and are bug ridden or do not function as 'advertised', this includes commercial extensions. In addition, some do not even exist, besides in the mind of the developer.

I believe the Joomla developers should be more conscious about what they 'connect' to their product. Joomla is a true gem and it would be understandable that if you, for instance, want to be listed, you have to have a working and well supported extension. At the moment I think about 20% of the listed extensions meet that criteria, the other 80% should be on a b list, so the users can find them but are aware of the problems they may encounter when they do use those extensions. Maybe hand out 'Joomla certified 2006'  labels, each year I do not know there are probably thousands of ideas how to get the pollution out of the extensions.joomla.org.

Moreover, I think it is time to stop linking to the mamboforge now, Joomla is grown up and probably surpassed Mambo some while ago.

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by Jenny » Thu Jul 06, 2006 11:57 am

There is no possible way that the devs of Joomla! can oversee each and every extension. I think that is why there is the ability for the community to review and rate extensions on the extensions.joomla.org site, the community as a whole is probably in a much better position to be utilizing the extensions listed, and giving their opinion on how things work, (or don't) and what sort of support is given.  When people surf the extension site they should take these rankings and reviews into consideration when they make their decisions of what to use.

As for the mamboforge issue, I see no reason to stop listing extensions compatible Joomla! hosted there.  It isn't a matter of surpassing or moving on... why would  you penalize a developer just because of where his extension is hosted?  I also think that would do a disservice to the community.

The Joomla! developers aren't "listing" the extensions as in endorsing them.  They are simply providing a service to the community by having one place to go for people to search for solutions.
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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by ot2sen » Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:22 pm

Hi hvanleeuwen,

Thanks for sharing your point of view  :)

Most of the listed extensions in Joomla! Extensions Directory have been submitted by the developers themselves since this ressource opened up the doors.
Still we have approx. 10-15 % of the listed extensions that is not maintained by the developers themselves, but was manually entered before launch of the site. We have contacted these developers and requested them to claim their extensions. If this is not the case, then we will delete these unclaimed 10-15 % of the listings.

Some of these unmaintained extensions might have contributed to your overall experience of the ressource.

Our target is to have 100% of the extensions maintained by the actual developer to ensure the best posible update and info for the users of the directory.

Like MMMedia described above, the reviews made by the users and the sent in reports helps to help the users.

Keep in mind that its still a quite new ressource and work is done continiously to make it even better
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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by hvanleeuwen » Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:23 pm

There is always a way, I did not say it was easy that is why I started this discussion.

When you read the average reviews about extensions they are just a list of 'it sucks' and 'it's great' in one list, not very helpful, and probably only either discouraging or having novice users try and (probably) fail and thus getting frustrated. The upcoming 1.5 release will most likely not make this better.

There are some extensions that are dead, like the AKO stuff or the extensions that are now exclusively developed for Mambo, which as I am lead to believe, will be a problem in the near future. Those extensions will probably only be listed on the Mamboforge, and so far I have not seen any developer that supports Joomla and only uses the Mamboforge for his/her Joomla coding, so pointing users to mamboforge will be 'dangerous' someday.

I think you will have to keep in mind that experienced users will of course use the extensions section but also find their way themselves and might even fix problems or adapt a component to their needs. I like to do that myself a lot, this way I can keep up my small coding skills and do not have to plunge into a big project. But the novice user should be guided and have up-to-date information from a source they trust.

I do not mind having to fix a coding error now and then; I just would like to know when to be able to expect them. This is often unpredictable for the developers of extensions do not always have the decency to let their userbase know they do not have the time to keep supporting their coding, in the end this does reflect on Joomla too.


MMMedia wrote: There is no possible way that the devs of Joomla! can oversee each and every extension. I think that is why there is the ability for the community to review and rate extensions on the extensions.joomla.org site, the community as a whole is probably in a much better position to be utilizing the extensions listed, and giving their opinion on how things work, (or don't) and what sort of support is given.  When people surf the extension site they should take these rankings and reviews into consideration when they make their decisions of what to use.

As for the mamboforge issue, I see no reason to stop listing extensions compatible Joomla! hosted there.  It isn't a matter of surpassing or moving on... why would  you penalize a developer just because of where his extension is hosted?  I also think that would do a disservice to the community.

The Joomla! developers aren't "listing" the extensions as in endorsing them.  They are simply providing a service to the community by having one place to go for people to search for solutions.

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by hvanleeuwen » Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:35 pm

Hi ot2sen,

I am very aware of it all, I just wanted to state my concern, and only like I said before because I think Joomla is a real gem, I wouldn't care less if this was not the case. However, if no one says anything everything is ok and thus I needed to start this topic, for I think something is going wrong.

If there were such a thing as a reporting tool for abandoned extensions, I would certainly use it.

I am still hoping more users will reply with this concern or simply because they are fed up with poor support or abandoned extensions messing up their Joomla sites.

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by Vimes » Thu Jul 06, 2006 5:46 pm

hvanleeuwen wrote: If there were such a thing as a reporting tool for abandoned extensions, I would certainly use it.

I am still hoping more users will reply with this concern or simply because they are fed up with poor support or abandoned extensions messing up their Joomla sites.
There is a reporting tool on the Extensions server. Under where you get the extension listing there should be a some text "Claim or Report this listing". Click report to notify the moderators. I used such a report today to unlist an extension that had dead links.

We don't have time to check every link on the servers regularly, so using this feature helps us (and other Joomla users) immensely.

Regarding poor support or no support, that's a difficult one. Many of the extensions listed were probably created by users who saw a need for an extension, then filled that need with something of their own creation. They were kind enough to share those extensions with the rest of us, but that doesn't obligate them to maintain them forever. If you see an extension that you like but think it needs bringing up to date, and you have the necessary skills, you could always consider "adopting" it.
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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by Larae » Thu Jul 06, 2006 10:19 pm

As a new comer to Joomla!, I concur with much of what hvanleeuwen has presented here. As a postnuke primitive, it was like culture shock when I came over to Joomla.. some good, some bad... the bad being the issues already presented. Was I preemptive in judging Joomla? Yes, shamefully I was. My problem is that alot the of the extensions are not compliant with the version of php 5 I am using. If I had known this, it would have helped me make better informed decisions with installing them. If there was a way to show what is compliant with what, that would be a great help to us noobs. I have to say though, that all in all, Joomla is a wonderful choice of cms, although I almost made a major misjudgment.

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by AmyStephen » Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:35 am

I want to add that there is a very important policy statement on each page in the Extensions area on the lower left side clearly spelling out clearly for us, as community members what our responsibilities are. If we are not confident with our responsibilities, we should seek assistance before proceeding with an extension.

There are two problems I see people make repeatedly:

1) The "kid in a candy store" phenomena - Forums are installed on top of newsletters on top of image galleries, then, several installs later, no one can logon to the front end and they don't know when it happened or why.

2) Something is installed. It doesn't work. But, there was no backup of the website and the database.

If you go slow and test between extensions, you can avoid the first problem. If you institute a good backup and restore process, you will avoid the second problem. Even with bad extensions, you can easily recover if you follow standard practices.

Hvanleeuwen and Larae –

I agree with the points you raise. It can be very tricky in an open environment like this to know with any certainty if an extension will work or not. It gets worse, too. Just consider the millions of combinations of extensions possible! Many websites have a unique blend of extensions – different than any other set installed. There is simply no practical way to begin to test each of the various options available and certify it will always work under varied conditions.

Therein lies both the beauty and the beast of an open architecture!

That is why the responsibility for that decision rests with us, as community members. And, as you both correctly point out, we are not necessarily as skilled as we need to be.

It probably would be helpful if a community member (or team of community members who wanted to pair up on such a challenge!  ;) ) volunteered to take a bit of time to write a simple methodology that explains for others a “best practice” of how to "select, install, test, verify, include or back out an extension.” That type of instruction would be of good service and could be stored in our FAQ.

Thanks for raising these issues! They require discussion. Good work.
Amy

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by hvanleeuwen » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:30 am

I understand where you're going Amy but I would like to start by simply getting a better extension rating system or something in that area. Personally I always backup before I install and after the component is installed I test everything again to see if there are problems found.

I think it would be impossible for the 'Joomla crew' to have an idea about extensions and if they work with other extensions etc etc all I would like to see, and this is probably hard enough already, is that only well supported extensions are part of the Joomla extension list, so dead, almost dead or non existent extensions should not be given the honour of being listed aka promoted on the Joomla extensions site. It is to be expected that well supported extensions will have bugs or simply don't work with some Joomla version but a developer who takes his coding seriously will either tell you that or try and help you out as best as he/she can, at least that what I would expect.

At the moment there are several extensions on the Joomla extension list that either don't exist or are no longer or very poorly supported, this is dangerous for a lot of Joomla enthusiasts for Joomla looks very inviting for ordinary users and with 'bad extensions' they might seriously get put off on the whole package.

I hope this discussion will go on and maybe some day a genius has a simple plan and ....  until then I will try to start reporting extensions that in my opinions should not be listed and I hope more users will do so!

AmyStephen

Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by AmyStephen » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:59 am

Yes, you sound like someone who understand good "process" and the need for backups and testing.

Seriously, though, that is what new people really do not understand -- and, in the end, even good developers make mistakes. The business processes we use can protect against all kinds of mistakes!


hvanleeuwen wrote: I hope this discussion will go on and maybe some day a genius has a simple plan and ....  until then I will try to start reporting extensions that in my opinions should not be listed and I hope more users will do so!
I *love* your last line. Both parts -- the hope for a genius walking by -- and taking some personal initiative to help. That is the kind of community member we need. Your points are good ones.

Thanks! Amy

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by hvanleeuwen » Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:14 pm

I'm going for 'total agreement' but do also wonder if your being cynical on me now hehehe  ;D

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by AmyStephen » Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:46 pm

No, no, no! Total agreement is the place to be! I do love your last line. It is perfect. If I might be so bold as to rephrase to confirm my understanding and appreciation!

You are saying that you are not giving up on an eventual, better solution -- you are "keeping the faith" -- staying hopeful -- however, in the meanwhile -- you are personally going to do what YOU can to identify and report extensions that should NOT be listed.

Hvanleeuwen - what more could anyone ask of a community member? That is the PERFECT attitude and we cannot have too many people in our community who think and act like that. No one bit of sarcasm there! I *love* it!

Amy :)

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by Vimes » Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:55 pm

Amy, please keep on top.
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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by AmyStephen » Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:36 pm

Vimes - that was a direct response to a question I was asked. And, it pertained to the question of how we go about dealing with discontinued extensions. Havanleeuwen's response was absolutely perfect. He indicated he hoped there would be an eventual better solution (i.e., some type of "real" evaluation of quality), but in the meantime, he was going to take initiative to report bad extensions. I am not at all certain how that is off topic. ? Please expound on that unless my explanation helped clear it up.

Thanks! Amy

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by infograf768 » Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:57 pm

@Amy

Keep on Topic means this forum is NOT a chat room.
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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by AmyStephen » Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:03 pm

Absolutely understood that this is not a chat room.

For the purposes of learning, then, might you please instruct me on the proper way for me to respond to the question I was asked in Reply #12? You obviously understand the seriousness of my being found to be off-topic. The "Welcome Back" note I received from Brad indicated I would be permanently removed from this forum if I were found to be continuing in my OT posts.

So, I sincerely question this post being deemed off topic and, if it really is "off topic", I honestly need clarification on how to properly answer questions I am asked by other community members in the open forums. I think it is rude not to respond to a question asked! And, I believe my response was direct and kind. So, I am completely confused as to what the rules are here in the Joomla! forums.

Thank you for your clarifications and assistance in this important matter. Amy

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by Predator » Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:19 pm

I am still hoping more users will reply with this concern or simply because they are fed up with poor support or abandoned extensions messing up their Joomla sites.
Open Source means open code and no more, to give support is a free decision of the 3rd Party developer, the trend currently why developers stop support or reduce it is more to find in the mentality of the user, most want all and don't want to give something back (but want to earn the "Big Money") because in OpenSource there must be all free and the devs have to do what the user wants without giving something back, so i guess lots of 3rd Developer also fed up with this mentality  of some user.

I spoke with a lot developers and most have this feeling currently so for the future there must be also a way to satisfy both parts: People should understand that only the code is free and open but the rest ( support, further developing own website ) is volunteer work and cost money for the 3rd Party developer and if he only gets somethink back which covers this, i believe the developer would give support with love. 

If a commercial developer gives poor support, don't buy it, therefor user can use the review option to inform others  8)

So to come back to the topic, the Team can't control, check etc all extensions, but we provide the tools so user can judge, comment, report etc themself to share their experience and help new user to choice the right extension. ( as MMMedia stated well ;) )

The option on this provided service are more than on much other projects.

If this not helps the community on this forum is very helpful  :-*

As a small preview for Joomla! 1.5 there will come a sort of quality check for 3rd Party extensions to rise the level also in that part.
Last edited by Predator on Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by hvanleeuwen » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:35 pm

AmyStephen wrote:
For the purposes of learning, then, might you please instruct me on the proper way for me to respond to the question I was asked in Reply #12?
You are right Amy he should have kicked my butt not yours!

And to stay on topic then...

Just some food for thought, when I see the current problems with for instance extcalendar, aka the hacking/defacement spree, and when I combine that with a quote like this;
nathandiehl wrote: FYI,
ExtCal2 hasn't been developed in like 2 years. i wasn't expecting it to be ported to 1.5 anyway, so i am going to switch calendars.
from the topic here;

http://forum.joomla.org/index.php/topic,75390.0.html

doesn't that add to my argument?

come on guys a component that '' hasn't been developed in like 2 years" and yet still in the the Joomla extension section, 2 years ... that's before Joomla was born ;)

This is not an exception either though!

Joomla is getting an undeserved bad name by this kind of things, don't you get that?! (rhetorical question don't answer)

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by hvanleeuwen » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:42 pm

Predator wrote:
I am still hoping more users will reply with this concern or simply because they are fed up with poor support or abandoned extensions messing up their Joomla sites.
Open Source means open code and no more, to give support is a free decision of the 3rd Party developer, the trend currently why developers stop support or reduce it is more to find in the mentality of the user, most want all and don't want to give something back (but want to earn the "Big Money") because in OpenSource there must be all free and the devs have to do what the user wants without giving something back, so i guess lots of 3rd Developer also fed up with this mentality  of some user.

I spoke with a lot developers and most have this feeling currently so for the future there must be also a way to satisfy both parts: People should understand that only the code is free and open but the rest ( support, further developing own website ) is volunteer work and cost money for the 3rd Party developer and if he only gets somethink back which covers this, i believe the developer would give support with love. 

If a commercial developer gives poor support, don't buy it, therefor user can use the review option to inform others  8)

So to come back to the topic, the Team can't control, check etc all extensions, but we provide the tools so user can judge, comment, report etc themself to share their experience and help new user to choice the right extension. ( as MMMedia stated well ;) )

The option on this provided service are more than on much other projects.

If this not helps the community on this forum is very helpful  :-*

As a small preview for Joomla! 1.5 there will come a sort of quality check for 3rd Party extensions to rise the level also in that part.
You are completely missing the point here, I am not asking for developers to support their code, this would not be the proper forum to do so unless I would ask the Joomla developers to support Joomla code, and I won't do that for there is no need to do that, Joomla is very well supported.

I started this topic simply because I think if Joomla offers a thing like the extension section, or the forge, to support developers and offer the end user a convenient list of 3rd party extensions it is in Joomla's interest to make sure the extensions on that list have a certain quality, aka do not harm Joomla in any way, aka code wise public opinion wise etc...

This is in my opinion currently not the case.

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by ot2sen » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:46 pm

Hi hvanleeuwen,

Since you made your first post there has been made a clean up of extensions not maintained/submitted by the developers themselves.

All of the listed extensions is now maintained by the developers  :)

T.ex. you cannot find ExtCalendar in Joomla! Extensions Directory anylonger.
For more info of which extensions was unpublished, see this thread:
http://forum.joomla.org/index.php/topic,75784.0.html
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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by hvanleeuwen » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:53 pm

Well lets call it a day then ;)

Thanks

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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by Jenny » Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:58 pm

hvanleeuwen,

Thanks for bringing this issue up for discussion.  It is appreciated.
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Re: The forge and discontinued extensions

Post by Predator » Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:55 pm

hvanleeuwen wrote:
Predator wrote:
I am still hoping more users will reply with this concern or simply because they are fed up with poor support or abandoned extensions messing up their Joomla sites.
Open Source means open code and no more, to give support is a free decision of the 3rd Party developer, the trend currently why developers stop support or reduce it is more to find in the mentality of the user, most want all and don't want to give something back (but want to earn the "Big Money") because in OpenSource there must be all free and the devs have to do what the user wants without giving something back, so i guess lots of 3rd Developer also fed up with this mentality  of some user.

I spoke with a lot developers and most have this feeling currently so for the future there must be also a way to satisfy both parts: People should understand that only the code is free and open but the rest ( support, further developing own website ) is volunteer work and cost money for the 3rd Party developer and if he only gets somethink back which covers this, i believe the developer would give support with love. 

If a commercial developer gives poor support, don't buy it, therefor user can use the review option to inform others  8)

So to come back to the topic, the Team can't control, check etc all extensions, but we provide the tools so user can judge, comment, report etc themself to share their experience and help new user to choice the right extension. ( as MMMedia stated well ;) )

The option on this provided service are more than on much other projects.

If this not helps the community on this forum is very helpful  :-*

As a small preview for Joomla! 1.5 there will come a sort of quality check for 3rd Party extensions to rise the level also in that part.
You are completely missing the point here, I am not asking for developers to support their code, this would not be the proper forum to do so unless I would ask the Joomla developers to support Joomla code, and I won't do that for there is no need to do that, Joomla is very well supported.

I started this topic simply because I think if Joomla offers a thing like the extension section, or the forge, to support developers and offer the end user a convenient list of 3rd party extensions it is in Joomla's interest to make sure the extensions on that list have a certain quality, aka do not harm Joomla in any way, aka code wise public opinion wise etc...

This is in my opinion currently not the case.
Don't think i miss the point completly only answering to your comment about 3rd Developers giving bad support ( read your comments ) so my comment was a try to protect a little the 3rd Developers by your first very general comments.

But this discussion leads to the before started action to drop orphaned extensions as ot2sen stated so thanks to support with your comment the extension site Team in their decisions ;)

As i stated before there are plans in the future for Joomla! 1.5 to check the quality of extensions as a result of the experience with the extensions of the Joomla! 1.0.x series. 
Last edited by Predator on Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The "Humor, Fun and Games" forum has  more than 2500 Posts, so why not build a "Humor, Fun and Games Working" Group?
.....
Malicious tongues say we have this WG right from the start, they call it core team :D


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