[development] module duplication in Drupal contrib

Greg Knaddison - GVS Greg at GrowingVentureSolutions.com
Sun Apr 6 11:23:31 UTC 2008

So, I wanted to start discussion and get feedback on this topic from a
broad group of folks.  That part seemed to work.  My personal belief
(which I pushed forward via issues on duplicate projects) was a
"collaboration or die" belief and I think a lot of other people have
that to.  I believe that this discussion shows that the situation is
much more nuanced.

While there were lots of great replies, I'm responding to Larry since
he has hit on this nuance:

On Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 2:49 PM, Larry Garfield <larry at garfieldtech.com> wrote:
>  Deliberate duplication is fine, and is a healthy part of open source.
>  Unintentional duplication is a waste of time and energy and only leads to confusion for users.
>  Let's try to solve unintentional duplication without making deliberate duplication impossible or overly difficult.
>  "Vetting" of projects to avoid duplication is a no-go.  Giving developers better tools to avoid
> unintentional duplication is a worthwhile investment.

I definitely agree with this perspective.  There are times when the
existing module just isn't quite right for a certain set of needs and
then the best choice is intentional duplication.

However, it's not just "develoeprs" that we need to be giving these
better tools to it's all users. When we have overlap (intentional or
not) basically all users of Drupal suffer because it makes it much
harder choose between the modules.  Shai is right that over time your
"Drupal-sense" gets better and this process is easier, but it
shouldn't be this hard...

In the short term the solution is improved categorization of modules
and improved explanation text in the body of the project node.  Saying
"This is just like Module X, but without the baggage" doesn't actually
help anyone (to use a recent example).  Saying "This is just like
module X, but the thrombulated the widgetizer in javascript rather
than doing it via a form override so that users have a more responsive
interface" is something that might actually explain why there is a
separate project in a way that helps the users decide which to use.
Another short term solution is to do a comparison write up (e.g.
http://www.civicactions.com/blog/similar_content_module_wrapup -
thanks Owen!).  Since we're all comparing modules on a regular basis,
take the extra hour and write up the comparison.  Your fellow users
will appreciate it.

In the longer run, the solution is the "Drupal.org redesign" and I
hope that folks will go and help that effort if they can or at least
be ready to support it in the future.


Greg Knaddison
Denver, CO | http://knaddison.com
World Spanish Tour | http://wanderlusting.org/user/greg

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