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General question for the experts about 'Add-ons'

DoctorWatsOn

Well-known member
#1
As I am sure some of you will have noticed from my posts I am a complete noob when it comes to running websites, but I am learning fast.


I started my site in 2009 with a default vB3 install & vbAdvanced as a front page, upgraded to vB4 last March thinking it offered everything I needed (yeah, right) and started using a lot of add-ons, but things kept breaking with upgrades, so I somewhat lost interest in using them as I couldn’t keep up with it all.

Now I am starting to build the new site, with xF & Contentteller for CMS, and I am looking at a growing list of cool add-ons here, but I am a bit nervous about using more than anything absolutely essential because of my experience with vB4, I don't want to install lots of nice features for users only to have to discontinue them later.

Now I seem to remember reading that the way xF is structured and because it's built new brand from the ground-up instead of being an ABC* job, upgrades shouldn't break add-ons so easily. Now, I understand, there's no absolute guarantees and that some times things will break from time-to-time, but I guess I am just looking for some reassurance that it's unlikely to be such a major headache.

So, is my understanding about right?

* ABC = All Bits Combined.
 

Jake Bunce

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#2
That is a normal consequence of the iterative rewrite strategy adopted by vB4. Addons are expected to break when the core software is constantly changing. You shouldn't have that problem with xenForo.
 

Peggy

Well-known member
#3
My philosophy is this.... if the add-on doesn't contribute any value to your site, don't install it.
Too many forum owners install add-ons because they look cool, or might be fun.
But I ask myself, does my site really need this? Will my site/members benefit from this?

If the answer is no or just maybe, I don't install it.
The fewer add-ons you have installed, the better off your software is.
 

DoctorWatsOn

Well-known member
#4
That is a normal consequence of the iterative rewrite strategy adopted by vB4. Addons are expected to break when the core software is constantly changing. You shouldn't have that problem with xenForo.
That's the sort of thing I thought I had seen posted before. :cool:

My philosophy is this.... if the add-on doesn't contribute any value to your site, don't install it.
Too many forum owners install add-ons because they look cool, or might be fun.
But I ask myself, does my site really need this? Will my site/members benefit from this?

If the answer is no or just maybe, I don't install it.
The fewer add-ons you have installed, the better off your software is.
That’s good advice, I admit I did go a little mad when I got vB4 and first started looking at add-ons and wasted a lot of time, I don’t intend to go that mad this time.

There’s one absolutely essential add-on for me, as a what’s on site, and that’s the calendar, hence my pledge of a sizeable donation to Jaxel to extend XenAtendo events system into a full-blown calendar for the whole community and me.

There’re others that are non-essential, but will deliver extra traffic and members to the site, such as twitter login, auto-tweeting of new events listed/threads started to the Doctor WatsOn account, ability for others to tweet events/threads to their accounts. I am also keen on admin being able to send alerts to all users, which is under discussion. So, I am likely to at least go for these.

I’ve got about another half a dozen in sight, but perhaps it’ll be best to leave them for a while as I’ve still got a learning curve with both xF and Cf for the CMS.
 

Kier

XenForo Developer
Staff member
#5
The nature of the XenForo add-on system is that add-ons plug in to a controlled, well-defined interface. Therefore, not only can we ensure with almost total certainty to maintain backward compatibility with older add-ons, but when we do break backward compatibility, we can alert add-on authors to the change long before the release.
 

jonsidneyb

Well-known member
#6
The nature of the XenForo add-on system is that add-ons plug in to a controlled, well-defined interface. Therefore, not only can we ensure with almost total certainty to maintain backward compatibility with older add-ons, but when we do break backward compatibility, we can alert add-on authors to the change long before the release.
And I thank you for that. :)
 

jonsidneyb

Well-known member
#7
I would rather not bloat it but if I do I would like to bloat it on my terms. Only bloat it with things I will actually use instead of having a ton of stuff that I will not use.
 

DoctorWatsOn

Well-known member
#8
The nature of the XenForo add-on system is that add-ons plug in to a controlled, well-defined interface. Therefore, not only can we ensure with almost total certainty to maintain backward compatibility with older add-ons, but when we do break backward compatibility, we can alert add-on authors to the change long before the release.
Now that is music to my ears.


I would rather not bloat it but if I do I would like to bloat it on my terms. Only bloat it with things I will actually use instead of having a ton of stuff that I will not use.
Same here, just got to learn where to draw the line and not get carried away, which could be difficult because I am getting so excited about converting the site.
 

Peggy

Well-known member
#9
The only thing my sites get "bloated" with is smilies.
I may not know how to design 'em, but I sure do know how to use 'em. :p