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Has development stalled?

I'm looking around at the applications, themes, and plugins, and I see most stuff is from 2010-2011... is this a doomed and stalled project? Fervent help from people like @422 would lead me to think not... to think that we're alive and well. I guess I'm just a bit concerned about the age of most of the addons, that's all.

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Answers

  • edited May 2012

    Don't get me wrong in the slightest; the core application OOB, or at least with the bundled plugins, is well beyond what bbpress is OOB. It's great stuff; I'm just trying to get a feel for where the project is headed.

  • I hear ya. I noticed there seemed to be a buzz of activity. So perhaps the addons just last a long time without needing updates. In fairness, most of the bbPress extensions are significantly older, some of the most popular ones haven't been updated in 5 yrs.

    UnderDog422
  • Yeah, I do know that part;

    I was looking at these: http://vanillaforums.org/addon/browse/applications/popular/2/

    and these: http://vanillaforums.org/addon/browse/themes/popular/2/

    and noticing not many 2012 updates, and getting nervous. But I think I'm being no fair and comparing to wordpress, where most of the plugins I use have been updated in 2012. But this is a different sort of product.

    And the product is really a good one. So thank you much for a great open source application.

    422
  • 422422 Developer MVP

    Im not sure.

    I only have 3 plugins on any of my dev forums.

    422 Real Estate Australia , now open Check it out

    UnderDog
  • Thanks all for really thoughtful and informative replies.

  • UnderDog said: It's time to get worried when a problem gets reported and either no discussion takes place about that problem (highly unlikely) or no update about that plugin takes place (that's the case when developer is not one of the Vanilla dudes).

    I'd be worried, then, to be honest. There are problems with core (one simple one of which I just posted a fix for, after it had been known and unaddressed for upwards of a year) that just sit there forever, and there are plugins created by core devs (Fileupload being one) that are broken and stay broken, with no attention being paid to them, apparently, where users have tried and failed to fix problems.

    The Addons directory (are they called extensions or plugins or addons? who knows!) is a mess (my god, particularly if you take a look at the shambles that the 1.x listings have become), and singularly unhelpful for drilling down to find what you're looking for, and only lately (like, this year) becoming a little better filled out with actual useful plugins. When the core product is meant to be 'Vanilla' out of the box (although arguably it's not, really, any more), Addons and an engaged community to make them is essential to the success of things.

    Add this to the bizarre decoupling between core versions and plugin-compatibility (Tim just uploaded a set of plugins today that only work with the unreleased 2.1, and there's almost no way for a new user to tell that if they try to use them on their 2.0.x install they won't work -- which flies in the face of the big green 'Approved' button)... I don't know. I am so disenchanted with Vanilla since the 2.0 release, when I think the ball was dropped in a lot of ways that alienated longtime 1.x users like myself.

    I've been keeping up with 2.x on my localhost, dropping in a few times a year to update things, and I'm still running my community on 1.x, because the stable functionality that my userbase expects -- based on 1.1.12 plus community extensions plus some custom extensions of my own -- is still impossible to replicate on 2.x.

    It's getting closer lately -- Whispers are back, sort of (although you'd never know it if you didn't root around Github looking for it), and Fileupload almost works, and Thankful people has reappeared, and some more from the old days are popping up, but it's still not there, for my users at least. After, what? Two years? Hell, working, granular search is still MIA.

    Half the threads I see on this support community are filled with snark from active users (and far too often dismissive, unhelpful or snide, curt remarks from the actual core developers, which is shocking, to be honest), and the other half are pleas for help that go unanswered. Or off-topic nonsense like how to best comment your PHP code. Or 'hey d00d lol what's CSS for' type of noise.

    It's discouraging, but I've invested thousands of hours into Vanilla, and I'm not planning to move to another platform -- that would be a nightmare with the busy community I run -- but I can't believe I'm still waiting for the 2.x branch to be fully baked.

    My two bits after too much coffee and too few helpful threads today. I feel like the money is in the new-with-2.x hosting business, and so that's where the most attention is paid, which is a shame, even if it is understandable.

    As long as Vanilla makes money -- and I'm sure the hosting business and paid installs are doing pretty well -- it'll be around. Probably. Unless they get bought out and the hobbyist community side of things gets killed. It happened with Movable Type, after all. It's not impossible.

    I applaud things like the user-created wiki, and users helping other users. Ironically, this platform, Vanilla itself, isn't really serving the user community very well, I don't think. A little less featuritis and a little more active, productive engagement with the community might go a long way.

    brainolution
  • peregrineperegrine ☯ hasta luego :) In-Flight MVP
    edited May 2012

    let me preface I never heard of vanilla before last year, si I don't know what 1.1 was like.

    stavthewonderchicken said:

    UnderDog said: It's time to get worried when a problem gets reported and either no discussion takes place about that problem (highly unlikely) or no update about that plugin takes place (that's the case when developer is not one of the Vanilla dudes).

    I'd be worried, then, to be honest. There are problems with core (one simple one of which I just posted a fix for, after it had been known and unaddressed for upwards of a year) that just sit there forever, and there are plugins created by core devs (Fileupload being one) that are broken and stay broken, with no attention being paid to them, apparently, where users have tried and failed to fix problems.>

    valid point. However, they are working on an overall upgrade to the core software and there is only so much time.

    The Addons directory (are they called extensions or plugins or addons? who knows!) is a mess (my god, particularly if you take a look at the shambles that the 1.x listings have become), and singularly unhelpful for drilling down to find what you're looking for, and only lately (like, this year) becoming a little better filled out with actual useful plugins. When the core product is meant to be 'Vanilla' out of the box (although arguably it's not, really, any more), Addons and an engaged community to make them is essential to the success of things. >

    How would you change it and categorize it? I suspect you have some ideas.

    Add this to the bizarre decoupling between core versions and plugin-compatibility (Tim just uploaded a set of plugins today that only work with the unreleased 2.1, and there's almost no way for a new user to tell that if they try to use them on their 2.0.x install they won't work -- which flies in the face of the big green 'Approved' button)... I don't know. I am so disenchanted with Vanilla since the 2.0 release, when I think the ball was dropped in a lot of ways that alienated longtime 1.x users like myself.>

    It clearly state required 2.1 - if that isn't suggestive enough what is?

    I am sure they were released to give those testing 2.1, the ability to use upgraded plugins.

    I've been keeping up with 2.x on my localhost, dropping in a few times a year to update things, and I'm still running my community on 1.x, because the stable functionality that my userbase expects -- based on 1.1.12 plus community extensions plus some custom extensions of my own -- is still impossible to replicate on 2.x.>

    why weren't these community extensions and custom extensions upgraded to 2.x and why were they unaddressed?

    It's getting closer lately -- Whispers are back, sort of (although you'd never know it if you didn't root around Github looking for it), and Fileupload almost works, and Thankful people has reappeared, and some more from the old days are popping up, but it's still not there, for my users at least. After, what? Two years? Hell, working, granular search is still MIA.>

    yes the search is bad. I use google search with the words I am searching for and site specific vanillaforums.

    Half the threads I see on this support community are filled with snark from active users (and far too often dismissive, unhelpful or snide, curt remarks from the actual core developers, which is shocking, to be honest), and the other half are pleas for help that go unanswered. Or off-topic nonsense like how to best comment your PHP code. Or 'hey d00d lol what's CSS for' type of noise.>

    off-topic nonsense may not be nonsense to others - e.g. commenting php code. noise "what's CSS for" - what can you do there will always be people who are to lazy to google some terms.

    It's discouraging, but I've invested thousands of hours into Vanilla, and I'm not planning to move to another platform -- that would be a nightmare with the busy community I run -- but I can't believe I'm still waiting for the 2.x branch to be fully baked.>

    My two bits after too much coffee and too few helpful threads today. I feel like the money is in the new-with-2.x hosting business, and so that's where the most attention is paid, which is a shame, even if it is understandable.

    As long as Vanilla makes money -- and I'm sure the hosting business and paid installs are doing pretty well -- it'll be around. Probably. Unless they get bought out and the hobbyist community side of things gets killed. It happened with Movable Type, after all. It's not impossible.

    I applaud things like the user-created wiki, and users helping other users. Ironically, this platform, Vanilla itself, isn't really serving the user community very well, I don't think. A little less featuritis and a little more active, productive engagement with the community might go a long way.>

    I see you've been a member since 2008, with not much input over the last 4 years. A productive community requires productive members.

    Monetary Donations will be appreciated if you use my plugins. Thanks in Advance.
    As a waiter gets a tip for a good meal, tips for successful solutions appreciated as well. Peregrine

    422UnderDog
  • UnderDogUnderDog Moderator

    Look, you make valid points, but I have a problem with the way you approach things. You have been here since 2008, I haven't so I can't say anything about the past till I joined the community.

    I do see a few things though:

    I'd be worried, then, to be honest. There are problems with core (one simple one of which I just posted a fix for, after it had been known and unaddressed for upwards of a year)

    The core devs work on 2.1 and they work on the bugs that are reported on gitHub. If you can find the bug number corresponding with the bug you fixed I will be happy to match those.

    No bug number on gitHub? That will probably mean that the bug won't be addressed unless it's a really obvious one (and will get a gitHub ticket) or unless the core devs find it by browsing the forums (and they create the ticket)

    that just sit there forever, and there are plugins created by core devs (Fileupload being one) that are broken and stay broken, with no attention being paid to them, apparently, where users have tried and failed to fix problems.

    Do you mean the versioning problem 1.8.4 and all that mess? I remember it vaguely, but I also remember that 1 version of the FileUpload plugin works with exactly 1 version of Vanilla. Yes it's a mess, but let's get it all fixed after 2.1 is released.

    The Addons directory (are they called extensions or plugins or addons? who knows!) is a mess (my god, particularly if you take a look at the shambles that the 1.x listings have become), and singularly unhelpful for drilling down to find what you're looking for, and only lately (like, this year) becoming a little better filled out with actual useful plugins. When the core product is meant to be 'Vanilla' out of the box (although arguably it's not, really, any more), Addons and an engaged community to make them is essential to the success of things.

    Look, the plugins directory, Addons directory, I don't care what it's called is just a long list of the available plugins and themes. You don't know what's what until they're all downloaded, installed, etc.

    Yes, that's a problem but we as a community cannot sit back, lift our arms in the air and say : Core devs the plugin directory is a mess.. period...

    We as a community should say : Vanilla guys, how can we help change the plugin directory to something more useful (yes, after 2.1 again). Can you develop things (for the Addons App) and we will organize it the way the community likes it.

    Add this to the bizarre decoupling between core versions and plugin-compatibility (Tim just uploaded a set of plugins today that only work with the unreleased 2.1, and there's almost no way for a new user to tell that if they try to use them on their 2.0.x install they won't work -- which flies in the face of the big green 'Approved' button)... I don't know. I am so disenchanted with Vanilla since the 2.0 release, when I think the ball was dropped in a lot of ways that alienated longtime 1.x users like myself.

    Let's fix that after 2.1 comes out. Yes, the 1.x plugins will be handled in another way, because I don't think much development is done on that anyway.

    I've been keeping up with 2.x on my localhost, dropping in a few times a year to update things, and I'm still running my community on 1.x, because the stable functionality that my userbase expects -- based on 1.1.12 plus community extensions plus some custom extensions of my own -- is still impossible to replicate on 2.x.

    There was a plugin wishlist thread. I haven't seen your wishlist on there as I can remember.
    If you really want to move to 2.1 then you need the exact list of plugins that need updating and that needs development (that are missing completely). Hopefully you can post that in a separate thread. I don't know if they will be developed by the core team, but if they have use, I'm sure the community can develop those plugins too...

    Half the threads I see on this support community are filled with snark from active users (and far too often dismissive, unhelpful or snide, curt remarks from the actual core developers, which is shocking, to be honest), and the other half are pleas for help that go unanswered. Or off-topic nonsense like how to best comment your PHP code. Or 'hey d00d lol what's CSS for' type of noise.

    You're right, some of the comments are snarky, especially when the user requesting help says : 'I cannot find anything on google' (or similar remarks). Most of the actual technical problems like Bonk errors, users moving from host to host, will get proper answers.

    Questions like 'How do I show a different page when users are not logged in' will get frowned faces from lots of regular users, because those users have looked in the sourcecode and seen the actual literal code for that exact question.

    I agree with peregrine that the less the user tells he has tried, the lighter the answer is (at least that's my perspective).

    It's our hobby to hang out on this forum and help people. It's the way the users respond (long answer, lots of things tried, etc or short answer with "doesn't work") that prompt certain, frustrated sometimes reactions.

    It's discouraging, but I've invested thousands of hours into Vanilla, and I'm not planning to move to another platform -- that would be a nightmare with the busy community I run -- but I can't believe I'm still waiting for the 2.x branch to be fully baked.

    So you have a list of things that need to change? After 2.1 comes out, add your list to gitHub, open your thread on the forum and let's talk about it. Don't forget that Vanilla is Open source. We can't sit back, lift our arms in the air and say 'Vanilla guys, please finish this list'.

    My two bits after too much coffee and too few helpful threads today. I feel like the money is in the new-with-2.x hosting business, and so that's where the most attention is paid, which is a shame, even if it is understandable.

    I'm not looking at the hosting side of Vanilla, I'm looking at the community side. If users are helping a lot (also on the Wiki!) then the community will grow and grow.

    I applaud things like the user-created wiki, and users helping other users. Ironically, this platform, Vanilla itself, isn't really serving the user community very well, I don't think. A little less featuritis and a little more active, productive engagement with the community might go a long way.

    I applaud if users are helping out on the user-created Wiki. I applaud users that ask questions and give a longer than 2 sentences problem description or a longer answer than "doesn't work". I see a growing community, especially after 2.1 comes out, helping out in the plugins list, nicer themes thanks to some amazing themers that joined. I see a brilliant programmer in the community that helps users where he can and have them sponser certain developments. Good future for Vanilla.

    If you would like to help (visibly) more, that's appreciated. The fix for the Youtube problem was a good first step.

  • Hey, I'm just glad to get some substantive discussion about how things are going... going.

    And if I come off as overly negative, well, I do apologize. That was me in diplomatic mode -- you can imagine what the first run=through sounded like. ;-)

    In terms of contributing here with fixes, I am what could only be described as an absolutely shithouse coder. I know just enough to get in trouble, just enough to rework other people's examples for my own purposes. I have two dayjobs, and I run about a dozen websites of my own, including the community site that uses Vanilla 1.x and another that runs Buddypress (don't freaking get me started on Buddypress).

    I have extremely limited time, is what I'm saying, and extremely limited skills, but if there's a question I see (when I drop in here periodically to see if Vanilla 2.x can do what I need it to yet) that I can answer, then I do.

    The problem is, I have one helluva lot more questions than I do answers.

  • UnderDogUnderDog Moderator

    stavthewonderchicken said: Hey, I'm just glad to get some substantive discussion about how things are going... going.

    Let's do that in your 'this is the list of plugins I need to convert to Vanilla 2' topic

    In terms of contributing here with fixes, I am what could only be described as an absolutely shithouse coder. I know just enough to get in trouble, just enough to rework other people's examples for my own purposes.

    I understand, but I still see lots of threads where you could show your shithouse codes, when you have time.

    and another that runs Buddypress (don't freaking get me started on Buddypress).

    LOL, I would love to see an exact rant on BuddyPress, to get more BuddyPress users to Vanilla

    I have extremely limited time, is what I'm saying, and extremely limited skills,

    You know as well as I do that working on the VanillaWiki and helping with the simple questions can be done, even with limited skills.

    The problem is, I have one helluva lot more questions than I do answers.

    I love questions. They just need separate topics per question, so they can be promoted to gitHub Bugnumbers if necessary, marked as [Solved] or promoted to VanillaWiki pages.

    Just make a start somewhere and you'll never know what happens. (Starting with your BuddyPress site to Vanilla 2 conversion).

  • @stavthewonderchicken

    I too want to hear the BuddyPress rant.

    @ Everybody Else:

    I think possibly the most important things to help the community would be prominent links to the wiki and github -- right in vf.org's main nav, not just UnderDog's signature! Literally, I've been like: "Okay... I want to put this on the wiki..." or "I want to put this in Github"... "I've gotta find a thread where UnderDog posted... okay, searching threads... oooh shiny...." distracted. fail.

    Other than that, I'd say perhaps a rating system for plugins like that of Wordpress.org. Or better yet, like Android's ratings, where ratings come with explanations. And maybe better versioning clarity. But def the links to wiki & github.

    422aeryUnderDog
  • peregrineperegrine ☯ hasta luego :) In-Flight MVP

    @DanielSchulzJackson

    I think possibly the most important things to help the community would be prominent links to the wiki and github -- right in vf.org's main nav, not just UnderDog's signature! Literally, I've been like: "Okay... I want to put this on the wiki..." or "I want to put this in Github"... "I've gotta find a thread where UnderDog posted... okay, searching threads... oooh shiny...." distracted. fail.>

    I can't agree with you more on this. From outsider's perspective - how long could it take to put on the main nav? - my uninformed guess - 60 seconds to 10 minutes.

    Monetary Donations will be appreciated if you use my plugins. Thanks in Advance.
    As a waiter gets a tip for a good meal, tips for successful solutions appreciated as well. Peregrine

    UnderDog
  • 422422 Developer MVP

    Im not sure why vanilla havent added the wiki to the menu, or docs area. Its non profit and has saved the devs answering millions of questions.

    422 Real Estate Australia , now open Check it out

    UnderDog
  • @422 I thought you ARE vanilla! Hah, I guess you're just extra helpful and knowledgeable and own vanillaskins.com! Ha. Had me fooled.

    UnderDog
  • 422422 Developer MVP

    No Im not Vanilla, im tanned ;)

    422 Real Estate Australia , now open Check it out

    UnderDog
  • In terms of contribution, I am very much in agreement in principle, and did a lot of it, back when I had more time to do sidebar stuff, over at the Buddypress site, when things were going better there. They have since kind of unwound, and, ironically, I'm stuck on an older version of it, just like I am with Vanilla, because a significant version bump broke an awful lot of functionality my users expected, that has since not reappeared and I haven't had time to try and fix with my low-rent skills.

    Part of the reason, for what it's worth, that I haven't participated much here is that I've been extremely angry about the clumsy way that the transition from 1.x to 2.x was handled, and the almost-hostile treatment of the very loyal dev community that happened in the process, all the way from the way the core devs engaged with the community down to the design changes that were hastily made in the wake of 2.x, and managed to alienate the 1.x user community at the time, and make it first impossible (for a while) then merely difficult to get at the things they needed. It certainly wasn't deliberate, I wouldn't think, but it seemed to me to indicate a take-it-for-granted attitude towards the loyal userbase that made Vanilla an important web app (because, honestly, 1.x wasn't much to talk about without the array of user-made additions).

    Add to that the (to me) odd or jarring design decisions made for this site itself -- does the number of views on a thread really need to have such massive prominence in an already crowded Discussions UI for example? I'm not really such a fan of the circa-2002 pastel candy-gloss design aesthetic, I guess, but that's the least of it.

    Add to that the continuing paucity of documentation (and seemingly random places it can be found) (which the wiki is meant to address, but I still can't find things that a) don't assume a lot more knowledge about coding than I have, even though I've been hacking around with PHP for many years or b) have useable code samples and examples.)

    Add to that the (to me) inpenetrable way that Garden/Vanilla is now structured and coded -- I mean, things like the default.master.tpl which uses, what are they called, 'smarty' codes or something, but there are a total of 5 of them? Why on earth add that layer of complexity? (Yes, I know the technical argument about not mixing logic and layout with PHP, but it's done literally everywhere else in the app, so what is the point? (This is a rhetorical question. I don't want an answer, I'm using it as an example of things that made me wonder about architecture decisions in general.)

    Or, and this is something that I recall being told when I was a baby coder back in the freaking 1970s, functions with names like T(). Yes, as developers, we're supposed to be writing views using Mystery Meat. There are innumerable examples of this that I've stumbled across as I've been trying to learn how this new beast works. I'm still mystified by much of it.

    And further, why did I have to use Google to search for that link above to the template tags info, and why is that info of all places on the vanillaforums.com blog rather than in the actual documentation for the app, here? This paucity and randomness of location for doco is killing the dev community, but I guess that's why the wiki.

    _Add to that _the fact that so many presumably important plugins are only available on Github, or the only currently working versions are there, and there's no information that I've been able to find in any easily-found location that explains how that fits together with the Addons directory here. Hell, even the opaque-to-anyone-not-a-coder announcement tells us about the git branching model in confusing detail, but omits the possibly-useful information about where these things can actually be found. You know, with hyperlinks. To github.

    Now, look, like I said, I'm a dilettante coder. Maybe there are good reasons for what seem to me to be odd and frustrating design decisions and coding practices. I'm sure there probably are. But the plain truth of it is, even though there are some steps forward in 2.x, there seem to me to be a lot of steps back, as well, and I find it very much harder to work with. I'm extremely familiar with the guts of Wordpress, for example, and though I understand there is nothing like the resources or community or etc around Vanilla, the way they have structured things for developers is, even to me, clear and logical. With Vanilla 2.x, I am very much adrift.

    That, I admit is my problem. All that is not said to get 'answers' from anyone -- it's just to explain my disenchantment, or some of it.

    So: the conjunction of all these things has, unfortunately, coalesced into a pretty negative attitude about Vanilla the app and the company, to be honest. I'm loyal, and I hope for its success, but I find myself enormously frustrated every time I come here for all of the reasons above and more. It's a shame, but it's been literally years since I've been able to come here with a question, do a granular search to drill down on an answer either in doco or forum, add my two bits if called for, and then get back to work. Instead, these days, I find myself diving down frustratingly vague rabbit hole after rabbit hole (made all the harder by the painfully bad search facility), not finding anything useful or germane, and giving up.

    But I'll try. I'll write up a few posts, maybe, and keep an eye out for questions I can answer. If I have time.

  • @stavthewonderchicken what about BuddyPress land? What was wrong over there? ("Don't even get me started about BuddyPress")

  • edited May 2012

    Oh, that's a rant for another day. I don't think I have the energy left.

    The short answer, I guess, isn't that dissimilar to what happened around here on this site around the time of the 1.x - 2.x switchover, and from which I'm not sure the community has ever recovered: community tools that worked, then, during a redesign, disappeared or didn't work as well.

    Also, the major version bump and rearchitecting (minor compared what happened to Vanilla) with BP 1.5 made a huge number of the plugins that had been written while BP was in its rapid growth and adoption phase unusable and incompatible with the new version, a major no-no. That's the position I'm stuck in with my BP site -- it's just too much work than I have had time for for a long while to rewrite other people's code (because in many cases the authors of those earlier plugins abandoned them).

    The couple of poorly-conceieved redesigns of Buddypress.org since earlier days (where BP itself is used) have turned a lot of people off, and the community has fallen apart to an extent. BP.org should have been a showpiece for what the thing can do (and it is pretty fantastic, if you're a Wordpress person), but instead, there are vast swaths of functionality that work out of the box but are broken on the site itself, and pieces of the puzzle (like the support forum itself) that need more useful features than exist out of the box (but are easy to mod in) to make them fulfill their intended purpose as a community dev support site, but limp along in hobbled form because there aren't enough resources to work on core _and _manage the community _and _make sure the community tools are featureful enough and working. At least that's what it looks like as a developer.

    Ball dropped, community becomes an endless set of surges of new people showing up and asking the same questions because the doco is scattered and incomplete, and then disappearing again, while long-time users either lurk to hide from the waves of noise or give up entirely and move to greener pastures.

    Not unlike Vanilla, like I said, at least through my lately-cynical glasses, although to be honest, I have higher hopes for the future of Vanilla than I do BP, unless Automatic starts pouring some resources and support into it.

  • hbfhbf wiki guy? MVP

    I think th wiki can be a valuable asset to help to minimize the common issue of docu-dispersion. But it really needs everyone to engage.

    If you find something somewhere that you spent time searching for, link or copy it to the wiki. If there is something missing... maybe some more fundamental element that is needed, create a new page and write down what you want to know.

    The wiki can be a powerful tool. Its up to everyone to make it what we need and want.

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