[development] module duplication in Drupal contrib

catch catch56 at googlemail.com
Wed Mar 19 20:17:49 UTC 2008

With the current number of contribs, it's not only hard for 'end-users'
(whoever they might be) to find modules to suit their needs, it's also hard
for developers. As others have noted, some (especially new) developers don't
even bother to check before rolling their own and contributing it back.
However I've seen well known names publish a module, have an issue in their
queue that says 'is this duplicate?', then they've almost immediately joined
forces and marked one or the other as deprecated. A lot of work gets wasted
that way and it's not really anyone's fault, especially when it's people who
always search first before they do any work :)

The more modules there are, the harder it'll be to select one, so more
duplicate modules will be written, so there'll be more modules, so it'll get
harder to select one...

We know none of this holds true for all modules, superficially at least -
CCK and flexinode did similar things, but there's a reason why CCK,
introduced later, is on it's way into core now, and the architectural
difference was there from the beginning - so not really duplicate. Plus CCK
and Views have eliminated a whole plethora of 'node modules' built for
specific tasks - which can be replicated in a couple of minutes via the UI.
However that tends to be the exception which proves the rule, especially
when discussing smaller or more specific projects.

A similar discussion came up last year (it was shorter than this one I
think), and with tongue in cheek I suggested a "Duplicate modules Hall of
Shame" somewhere in groups.drupal.org - where you could post up modules you
think are very similar, discuss the differences, ways of collaborating - and
in aggregate it might lead to us finding better ways to prevent this
happening accidentally.

As a side note, the 'pivots' work for module recommendations, which is
targeted to mine the forums for information - I'd really, really like to see
if this could be applied to Projects and Issues (and groups posts, since a
lot of newer projects get more traffic there). That way you'd get "here's
some similar modules/issues" when you view one, or even a list displayed as
part of the validation on node submission (did you see these yet?). That at
least might speed up the process of discovering accidental duplication of
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