[development] module duplication in Drupal contrib

Ezra B. Gildesgame ezra at pingv.com
Wed Mar 19 22:11:07 UTC 2008

  Ivan Sergio Borgonovo wrote:
> ...it took less to write code than understand what the module
> really did or compare it with modules with similar functionality.
> ...
> With smaller modules sometimes choosing
> takes more than writing.

And isn't taking the time to evaluate existing functionality  
fundamental to participating effectively in an open source project?  
I'd argue that someone who is universally unable to so is likely to  
hinder more than help the community effort.

  For non-community use, such as for clients or other private  
projects, developers might create a custom module rather than using  
existing community code. These custom modules don't have much effect  
on the community because they don't reach the contrib repository.

I don't support a policy that universally outlaws the creation of  
contrib modules that provide already existing functionality. I think  
some degree of overlap is to be expected and should be tolerated and  
in some cases embraced by the community.

However, the act of contributing of a new project that provides  
overlapping or duplicate functionality should be one that is made  
deliberately, with an understanding by the contributor of why s/he is  
doing so.

What is unhelpful to the community is contribution of  "yet another  
module" that provides the same functionality as two or three other  
individual modules without a good reason, or at least an explanation  
on that module's project page.

I propose that if a project is potentially a duplicate of another  
module, that an explanation of any differences and the reason for  
creating a separate module be required in that module's project  
description. This explanation does not necessarily have to be  
officially accepted by the community to meet this requirement, but  
project description pages that read, "Because I didn't check the  
contrib repository" (for whatever reason) can be evaluated in part,  
on that statement by the project's maintainer.


Ezra Gildesgame

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