Hello Developers: What support do you need from Xenforo ? I want more from you and more of you !

cclaerhout

Well-known member
"Hello Developers: What support do you need from Xenforo ?"
=> a system that forces everybody to read addon presentation before asking a question :LOL:
=> an extra field in the RM to specify addon license :rolleyes:

Due to XenForo recently starting up again I might revisit tutorials and blogs etc to try and increase the quality around here.
Do it ! And try to reformulate your sentence without the Hartman Style :p.
hartman-full-metal-jacket-kubrick.jpg

 

Forsaken

Well-known member
What I would like to see is more collaboration between members of the development community.

Rather than one person doing all the work and then just getting feedback from the community as to bugs and feature requests, look at the thousands of open-source projects out there on GitHub.

Someone starts a project, hosts it on GitHub and other developers fork it and make pull requests when they've added new features or bug fixes. The owner of the project then gets to choose what they include in the core and merges it in and releases a new version when they are ready.

I'm pretty sure I've seen someone doing XenForo stuff on GitHub in the past, but I'd love to see more people making use of collaborative tools like this rather than trying to do it all on their own.

I've been too busy recently working on (non-XF) client projects to start migrating my personal collection of vB addons across to XenForo, but when I do, I was thinking of using GitHub (or perhaps Bitbucket) to host them publicly and solicit other developers to fork them and help make improvements.
Onimua, KingKovifor and me all work together on different projects.

There are also a few other developers who mostly do private work that I help out as well.
 

Sim

Well-known member
Onimua, KingKovifor and me all work together on different projects.

There are also a few other developers who mostly do private work that I help out as well.
Yes, but I'm not talking about collaboration amongst small groups of people - which in itself is fine and not a problem.

I'm talking about taking it one step further and collaborating with everyone and anyone who has an interest to do so, deliberately making your code available to fork/modify via collaborative development tools such as GitHub.

I did a quick count of the number of GitHub repositories I have cloned (I don't tend to fork since I rarely have anything useful to contribute back to some of these more well established projects), and there are at least 20 projects from GitHub that I actively use in my client development work - mostly API libraries for cloud based services, jQuery plugins and so on.

If I ever found a bug in one of these libraries (and identified a solution), I would take the next step and fork/modify/issue a pull request to contribute back.

Actually, now that I think about it, there were two libraries I used recently where I ended up making my own modifications - I should fork the repository and submit the updates.

I have actually made requests to a few WordPress plugin developers to host their code on GitHub so I can contribute back. I ended up rewriting large parts of the JWPlayer for WordPress plugin because it was broken and doing things the wrong way (getting attachment metadata from the wrong column in the database table - it was correct back when they originally wrote it, but newer versions of WordPress do it differently). Because they weren't on GitHub, I had to create my own repository and I maintain my own separate branch with my modifications, which I need to keep manually updating/merging every time I update the main branch with their latest release. It would be so much easier if I could fork and do a pull request to show them exactly what they are doing wrong and exactly how to fix it!
 

Forsaken

Well-known member
Yes, but I'm not talking about collaboration amongst small groups of people - which in itself is fine and not a problem.

I'm talking about taking it one step further and collaborating with everyone and anyone who has an interest to do so, deliberately making your code available to fork/modify via collaborative development tools such as GitHub.

I did a quick count of the number of GitHub repositories I have cloned (I don't tend to fork since I rarely have anything useful to contribute back to some of these more well established projects), and there are at least 20 projects from GitHub that I actively use in my client development work - mostly API libraries for cloud based services, jQuery plugins and so on.

If I ever found a bug in one of these libraries (and identified a solution), I would take the next step and fork/modify/issue a pull request to contribute back.

Actually, now that I think about it, there were two libraries I used recently where I ended up making my own modifications - I should fork the repository and submit the updates.

I have actually made requests to a few WordPress plugin developers to host their code on GitHub so I can contribute back. I ended up rewriting large parts of the JWPlayer for WordPress plugin because it was broken and doing things the wrong way (getting attachment metadata from the wrong column in the database table - it was correct back when they originally wrote it, but newer versions of WordPress do it differently). Because they weren't on GitHub, I had to create my own repository and I maintain my own separate branch with my modifications, which I need to keep manually updating/merging every time I update the main branch with their latest release. It would be so much easier if I could fork and do a pull request to show them exactly what they are doing wrong and exactly how to fix it!
There are a few add-ons on GitHub already and open to modification, but I wouldn't suggest it for every add-on.
 

Sim

Well-known member
There are a few add-ons on GitHub already and open to modification, but I wouldn't suggest it for every add-on.
Of course not - it is completely up to each individual developer to work in the way they are comfortable. The author has to be willing to give up a little control and collaborate on the project - although they do get to choose to what extent that happens and ultimately get to choose which pull requests to merge in and which to reject.

Not trying to suggest a change to the way everyone works - just trying to encourage more open collaboration (where possible) using the tools the industry has already embraced and has proven to work effectively.

I would love to see the XenForo core code available on GitHub or similar as well - but that's a different ball game and commercial licensing hugely complicates that path (but I do know of other commercial projects which host code on publically accessible GitHub repositories, so it can be done in the right circumstances).
 

cclaerhout

Well-known member
just trying to encourage more open collaboration (where possible) using the tools the industry has already embraced and has proven to work effectively.
Oh, watch out your words. This is the "forum industry" here ! It has its own rules. The "gollum syndrome" is strong here :LOL:

"mmm my Precious...!"
Sorry for this Sim, just a few private jokes here. I agree with you for most of the part, except on commercial scripts. It's quite logical their developers don't want to make their code public. Of course some paid scripts will still be released on GitHub asking a subscription for support, but to be fair it's very very rare users support it after they got it for free. Now for the XenForo code, well... it's more than a forum. It's really a framework. So one way to contribute to the community is to code some free/paid extensions (which will use anyway some XenForo parts), do some graphics or write tutorials.

 

erich37

Well-known member
Couldn;t there be a FAQ system for devs to use instead of one Discussion thread?
Like I ask a question and it goes on their addon FAQ page with its answer, possibly a thread followup in that topic area. Then I dont need to plod through stuff on installation, or conflict with another addon, or with a theme, or tweaking the look, if my query is none of those.
Dev time is so precious I want to protect it but I also dislike reading through loads of pages of support wsting MY time before I can post. Not everyone bothers to do that.
FAQ is a great suggestion (y)
 

cclaerhout

Well-known member
Just another idea, but which should be considered after: it would be nice that a tiny "debug/project manager" be added to the XenForo RM. By "debug manager", I mean a system that allows users to report bugs with some prefixes (for example). This would allow to use the addon discussion only to directly request or introduce new features, to help members to use the addon, etc. I don't find it very convenient to mix everything inside the same "thread", especially when there are several bugs to deal with.

The idea of Rigel Kentaurus to allow developers of paid addons to upload their addons directly on XenForo with a list of customers would be nice to (see here). Not every developers can afford to buy a dedicated forum only to manage a few customers. I guess that this idea might afraid XenForo about who is responsible if a problem happens (technical or anything else), but the independent developers could sign something to exempted XenForo from liability.

The FAQ idea is a great one. Surely more diplomatic than my idea to force users to read addon presentation before asking a question ;)
I'm already ready to write this sentence : "Read the FAQ. Thank you."

Now, to speak of something else than the RM, it would also be nice if developers could have access to XenForo beta versions or official released a few days before the public release. It would allow them to check and try to adapt their addons before the official release.
 

Morgain

Well-known member
Brilliant suggestions Cedric from one of our best developers!

Just another idea, but which should be considered after: it would be nice that a tiny "debug/project manager" be added to the XenForo RM. By "debug manager", I mean a system that allows users to report bugs with some prefixes (for example). This would allow to use the addon discussion only to directly request or introduce new features, to help members to use the addon, etc. I don't find it very convenient to mix everything inside the same "thread", especially when there are several bugs to deal with.
This is somewhat along the lines of my FAQ proposal i.e. to structure and separate different kinds of liaison with the addon users.
However it will need to address what is known as the "presenting motive" by the client. That is a client will very often (mostly?) NOT think of their reason for making contact in the same structured way a developer does. This is why you get vague messages like "It doesn't work" where you have to tease out what they have done/ not done, and what kind of result/ error they are getting. To the user it just doesn't work but this could be compatibility with other addons or cosmetic tweaking; or it could be a bug. They often can't tell. Their presenting motive is wrongness and the relationship often has to start from there, rather than "please report a bug HERE or ask for help in how to use HERE.
So the user needs a triage help grid to help you and them to ID the issue.
I suggest some standard questions as a list under a Help tab - keeping it as short and simple as poss. and fitting them to the addon e.g.

Please use these questions to help me understand what is not working for you.
Have you uploaded the files to your site successfully Y/N
Have you run the xml file in the addon section of your admincp Y/N
Does XYZ appear in the admincp on XXXXX page? Y/N
If you are getting an error when a user tries to do X please copy it in next:
Can you give any other info about what is going on?

The FAQ idea is a great one. Surely more diplomatic than my idea to force users to read addon presentation before asking a question ;)
I'm already ready to write this sentence : "Read the FAQ. Thank you."
Thank you kindly sir. Perhaps you could prepare stock responses like

"See the FAQ 3 on Installation - also see halfway down the Description page on XF or the txt file you'll find with the download. Thank you."
"See the FAQ 1 on Configuration. Thank you."
The more specific the direction given the less room there is for a return pestering asking "Which FAQ please?"
You could prepare each stock response same time you give the answer to a question which adds to your FAQ.
I think "See" is a little gentler. It says "you may not know the answer is here so I'm being helpful and telling you." "Read" is more commanding, and carries a nuance of "You haven't bothered to read the ruddy FAQ you twit!" We may feel this but expressing it doesn't often aid harmony with what can also be a genuinely inexperienced or nervous user.

Now, to speak of something else than the RM, it would also be nice if developers could have access to XenForo beta versions or official released a few days before the public release. It would allow them to check and try to adapt their addons before the official release.
Superb idea and this might also help Kier and Mike by providing a ready made pilot study of well informed users for feedback and last minute tweaks over say 3 days or a week.
 

tyteen4a03

Well-known member
If and when the time comes and I use an add-on of yours we'll be taking a trip to donation land. Infact, many premium add-ons i purchased I always make a point in sending additional donations to the author because of their excellent work. It's just a small thankyou and shows that the work they do doesn't go unappreciated.

I'm even considering reading up on some documentation myself and see how far I can get in creating a simple add-on. See how far I get before i blow my top off and start cursing at poor samsung. :D I'd imagine it wouldn't take long for that to happen.
Just want to thank you for your encouragement, because I have finally released my first add-on. :D
 
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