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Mark Howson
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Simple Machines Forum has a similar system, in that the add-ons installer is built in, however, SMFs interface leaves a bit to be desired. Joomla, on the other hand, has a browseable directory from its own server here. You download, then install the add-on by uploading the .zip to your own server. More steps, but an improved interface for it.

 
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Scott
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The team has been discussing the options, because it’s important to maintain quality control, but at the same time we want to keep contributions, including themes, on the community site. We though about having people test and approve contributions, and determine if modules collide, etc. But the team is definitely open to further discussion on this issue.

I do like the idea of contribution levels. In addition I thought it would be good to have users flag contributions for further testing, rendering some kind of “use at your own risk” warning until tested and approved or reapproved.

In any case, I know the goal is to eventually create modules that are easy to install (along the lines of upload and enable) so there will definitely be another learning curve in order to create successful modules. If anyone else has any ideas like this, we welcome them. Thanks guys for sharing. smile

 
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Brandon
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I think a rating system and a review system would be very cool.  Gallery 2 actually builds a wiki page for each module so that people can put requested features, known bugs/conflicts, usage, install, etc.

I think that Magento stepping in and saying “this module is better than this one” is bad.  It will upset the developer who thinks otherwise, and it creates a ton of testing work for the magento staff.  Now having “official” or “officially tested” modules would be very cool.  I think that the module system should be a self sustaining system that hopefully doesn’t require much work/upkeep from Magento/Varien.

P.S. Scott, do you work for Varien/Magento?

 
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RoyRubin
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We are still thinking of the best way to implement so this thread will be closely watched. I can say that the current osCommerce model doesn’t work in our eyes. Contributions need to be reviewed and tested to make sure that the quality is there. Nothing is worse than installing a contribution that has a bug and takes the site down. This will reflect poorly on Magento.

Again, I am not sure what the best way is, so its wise to review other projects that have had a successful approach.

 
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Tweakmag
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I would suggest that you ask for volunteers to trial the plugin - this could be range of different people from simple users to developers. I agree that the plugins / contributions should be of quality. You could also have a ranking scale - for example take a “Advanced Newsletter” plugin - the ranking may go something like:

Plugin Released To Community
Community Ranked (9/10 people)
Developer Tested (4/4 people)
Magento Approved

I would also suggest that all plugins come with a default spec sheet (title, author, release date, short description etc etc).

Just a thought - but I think you get the idea.
smile
Adam

 
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Tweakmag
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Updates are always fun… and managing contributions even more so.
Best practise is key here.. I always mirror my site locally - that way i can do updates locally first and work through any problems that I may encounter without having to worry about the live site. I also mirror my database so that local is same live also

 
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Scott
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Ron, it’s enough to make you not want to upgrade, I know that for sure. Just like Roy said, you don’t want a live site to go down.

 
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davedavedave
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RoyRubin - 08 September 2007 02:33 PM

We are still thinking of the best way to implement so this thread will be closely watched. I can say that the current osCommerce model doesn’t work in our eyes. Contributions need to be reviewed and tested to make sure that the quality is there. Nothing is worse than installing a contribution that has a bug and takes the site down. This will reflect poorly on Magento.

Again, I am not sure what the best way is, so its wise to review other projects that have had a successful approach.

THANK YOU!  I definitely feel this way too, and it’s been a big part of the reason why osCommerce hasn’t evolved more than it has.  The standalone product is nothing without the contributions, but it’s so confusing and hard to find the plugins that should essentially be standard.  Even when you get that list, there are about 100 different versions, it makes it impossible to do anything on your own.  Which is part of the reason why something like Zencart got popular.

I’m very intrigued in how user-made plugins will be handled with the Magento platform, and if there’s any way I can help, I’m up for it.

 
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lopsta.com
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it’s one of magentos main features, that just the core gets updated and all plugins will still work. so no worries about this.

 
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aarne
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I do agree that osCommerce’s way of implementing contributions is bad, really bad. In order to keep up you have to have contributions for one and when you want certain functionality you might have contributions that are for certain version or snapshot or poorly tested and won’t work for you. So you need to test, test and test solutions in order to find out if it’s the one for you. And then you realize in worst case, that actually this feature isn’t at all what you were looking for and still have to create your own. smile

Also I think from the end-user perspective it’s not very ideal for user to go into the code in order to make contribution work. Normally the end-user doesn’t know what he’s looking for or if something goes wrong doesn’t know how to fix it. Even if he made the mistake himself.

I think it would be great to divide contributions/plugins/addons to sections like mentioned:

For those of you have not installed it, or been in the admin interface before, they have 3 levels of plugins: Official, Experimental, and Community.  They are then grouped into the type of module they are: Auth, Commerce, Display, Themes, etc.. You are able to view all of this from the admin interface of the gallery and install them with a 2 clicks (download, then activate).

 
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austinstorm
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The way FireFox now handles extensions and other add-ons is good. Only top rated ones appear to users who aren’t logged in, a kind of community-moderated system. It was controversial when it first came out among extension developers because it made it more difficult for their extensions to find an audience. But the problems they were trying to address were some of the ones described above… users installing poorly made plug-ins and that reflecting negatively on the main product.

 
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nabuhonodozor
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Hi,
First of all - Magento is really an revolution in ecommerce. I didnt found anything similar even in commercial systems. I am doing ecommerce sites since few years but magento is a new step.

As for plugins/additions:
After struggling with osc contributions and having experience with other systems like cms’s I think the best way to maintain high quality of plugins AND dont slow new creations I propose:
We should create a space, something like a pool/pond where all new plugins appears. Everybody can test it. Testers/ users should leave feedback about plugins.
Additionally to this user should have an option to ask Magento developers/dedicated developers to validate plugin. Magento developers could choose the most requested plugins to test and place later on something like a “validated plugin seal”. It would save developers time and community would get the most requested plugin validated first.

So putting pieces togethor: plugin would have 2 stages - tested by number of users AND verified by magento developers. Validated Plugins would be treated as “safe for real shops”
Non validated plugins but with feedback should be treated as “can be used for real shop but w/o guarantee”. Plugins with no feedback should be marked as “not for real shop”. Plugins with negative feedback should be marked “back to developing”
just my 2 cent.
Best regards

 
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RoyRubin
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Thanks for the comments. Magento Connect is currently in the work and phase I will be released with the new community site in the next few days. We have ambitious plans to produce an effective, quality catalog/marketplace of extensions along with a distribution component (AKA Magento Downloader - more info on that soon) that will manage the install and upgrades.

In regards to community testing to validate extensions, that is something that is certainly important and we’d love to see the community form testing groups / teams to achieve this.

 
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manolodf
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The Magento Downloader concept sounds amazing, more or less like the firefox method I think would be great.  Another thing to reference is maybe the way Installer works on Jailbroken Iphones, can install/uninstall It warns if it comes from an untrusted source.  Certain sources are trusted after proving themselves over and over in the community, and they are places that do their due dilligence when it comes to modifications.  The other ones give you a big red warning sign. 

I think maybe another way is for people to drop a folder or file or files into a folder, that would then do the rest on its own and show up in admin with a checkbox or an enable/disable dropdown. When the files are dropped in, it instructs magento on everythign from setting permissions to what gets modified, this can then be enabled or disabled in admin, so if something happens to get broken it can get reported and disabled, without extensive modification.

This is all great “in theory”

 
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Darren Grant
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The Drupal system for modules is quite good in particular there is strict version numbering on contributions so that they will only work with that core version of the main app. Also there is a repository where there are stable released versions and unofficial builds so that testers can run the unofficial builds on their test sites where as the tested builds can be run on production sites.

 
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