[development] Encouraging Collaboration

Allie Micka allie at pajunas.com
Fri Nov 18 15:29:15 UTC 2005

The 4.7 / Forms API  upgrade is going to create a learning curve for  
many module developers, and some of the less-active module owners may  
not have the time and inclination to make the switch.  That could be  
good news.

A lot of these efforts are "learning experiences" that are not being  
maintained at all.  Some of the authors can't be reached, and if  
you're too polite to overwrite those modules you start new.  Some  
developers feel that it's more rewarding to have their name in lights  
than to collaborate on a module that's more useful and stable  
overall.  Some people just don't play well with others.

As an alternative to upgrading, some module developers could look at  
modules with similar functionality and try to help upgrade and  
enhance those.  Do we really need 3 Amazon modules?  6 "mail this  
thing" modules? (one of these is my fault)  Can the Flikr Block  
module be part of the Flikr Module?  The list is endless.

This is a big problem for new Drupal users and old timers alike.   
It's not clear which modules are being maintained and how well they  
work.  A few months ago, I tried all the Amazon modules and  
discovered that each gave me about 60% of a solution.  I finally just  
dropped the idea if using Amazon at all.  I'm sure this sort of thing  
happens a lot, and we never even hear about it.

I'm not saying that any of these modules deserves to die, or that  
they can't possibly be bringing anything new to the table, but I  
would offer these suggestions:

   - As part of the call for upgrades 4.7, recommend that module  
developers try to combine efforts
   - Encourage people to maintain TODO lists for modules so that  
others can understand overall goals and see if added functionality  
would be useful
   - Encourage people to archive and retire their abandoned projects  
from CVS.

Allie Micka
pajunas interactive, inc.

scalable web hosting and open source strategies

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