Plugins traffic

Plugins adoption programme

 
 
Picture of David Mudrák
Plugins adoption programme
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Let's admit it - having an additional plugin installed into your Moodle site is always a risk. One of the essential aspects (apart from the code quality itself) that potential plugin users have to consider is how well the plugin is being maintained. Does the maintainer release regular updates and bug fixes? Is the plugin updated every six months for the new Moodle major release? Is there a place to report bugs and feature requests? And when reported, are they reflected?

It's not that difficult to write a new Moodle plugin these days. Many students do that as a part of their school or thesis projects, for example. But can one rely on the author of plugin to provide sufficient (or at least some) support for it? To be a responsible maintainer of a plugin is much harder than to be an author of it. Many maintainers work on their plugins in their free time. And even if they are lucky enough to be paid for doing that, it's just time consuming (as everything). Unfortunately, I know this dark side of the truth personally. I am aware of all these feature requests for the Workshop, AMOS and other plugins I have written. And I know I will never be able to implement them all.

No matter how hard one tries to be a good maintainer of their code, the life seems to be driven by unpredictable algorithms. At certain moment, maintainers can realise they are not able to give enough love to their plugins any more. In the essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar, Eric Steven Raymond says "When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it off to a competent successor." And that is what Moodle plugins adoption programme is about. And by the way, Eric's essay is really excellent and if you mean it seriously with the open source development, you should read it.

So, the rules of the programme I am suggesting here are roughly like this:

  • It's not a shame to give up of your plugin maintenance. You know that unmaintained plugin is worse than no plugin. You don't want to harm Moodle reputation just because your old code broke someone's site.
  • If you decide to offer your plugin for adoption, let us know via a reply in this thread (preferred over a personal message or e-mail to make it all transparent). We will put your plugin into a special set in the Plugins directory so it is known and public that it happened.
  • Once there is a volunteer who would like to take over the maintenance, please again reply to this thread. Note that it will help if the candidate proves their skills (via a reference or a patch for existing issue etc). So we all know the plugin is passed over to good hands.
  • Finally, the successor is given the main maintainer role for the plugin with all the permissions (edit the plugin record, release new versions etc). The previous maintainer will be still listed as the original author in the directory. Note that the @author tag in the phpDocs block of a file should never be changed even after the whole file is rewritten eventually. It's GPL legal statement, not a credits line.

I believe this mechanism will allow to keep more plugins up-to-date and also give new developers a chance to join our growing community.

 
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David
Re: Plugins adoption programme
 

Hi David,

great initiative! If you need anymore help on adopting plugins let me know.

A couple items that spring to mind is all the work that Julian has published before.

Now he has left Moodle for Canvas, I think his work should be adopted, among primarily the Elegance and Essential theme.
If anyone in contact with him could ask if he is willing to do this, we could have his work updated for Moodle 2.7 pretty quickly.

David

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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The set Seeking new maintainer was just created and all relevant plugins I was aware of were put to it. For now, we have couple of 2.6 core themes there and one report (originally written by myself for the learn.moodle.net MOOC site needs).

 
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Picture of Danny Wahl
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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David,

will there be a way to flag a plugin as abandoned, provide evidence, and request it to be added to the set?  For example any of Julian Ridden's contrib. plugins as he has stated in the forums that he has ceased working on them.

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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I love the way geeks always reach for the techincal solution: "a way to flag a plugin as abandoned, provide evidence, ..."

Yes. It is called talking to each other.

  • Email Julian, and ask him to email David to put the plugins up for adoption.
  • Make a post in a relelvant forum.
  • Add a comment on the plugin.
  • Email David directly.
  • ...


 
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Picture of Danny Wahl
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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So something like
contact::plugins_adoption_programme($author, $postid, [$commentid], [$email]);
?  That makes sense, thanks  big grin!
 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Well, unless we hear from Julian otherwise, I still think his blog post stated it clearly: "I still intend to maintain and update both the Elegance and Essential themes for another 6 months, but am hoping that in that time I will be able to find a new set of maintainers keen to keep those projects alive." (Mar 31, 2014)

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Right, so they are up for adoption.

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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OK, that's an alternative interpretation. I thought it meant that we should not interfere for those 6 months. Anyway, let me contact Julian and discuss with him personally. Thanks everybody.
 
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Julian Ridden
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Thanks for reaching out David,

I did "intend" to maintain it, but the reality is the new job has me swamped with little time to think about it. So now al my projects are up for grabs.

As Tim mentioned, they are all GPL meaning anyone can take over the code as long as they leave my credit in place. I am keen to ensure it goes to a developer who can properly maintain it. I worry about it being taken on hap-hazzardly and being ruined in the process.

Happy to discuss it. Happy for assistance and really happy to hopefully see these projects live on after my departure.

Julian

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Thanks for letting us know Julian. I can fully imagine you must be busy with the new job. For now, I put all the plugins you were the only maintainer of into the "Seeking new maintainer" set. Once there is somebody willing to become a new maintainer of them, we will continue discussing this.
 
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Picture of Danny Wahl
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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David,

I have talked with Julian and will be taking over the "elegance" theme:

https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=259978#p1135117

Thanks!

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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It's all yours now Danny. Thanks and good luck with it! May the love and craftsmanship be with you while maintaining it smile

 
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Picture of Danny Wahl
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Hi David, thanks!

I just discovered that there's a component for Elegance in the tracker that's Julian owns.  Any way I can become the component lead there too?

https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/CONTRIB/component/13031/

Or shut it down since I'm already using github, either way smile

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Sure. What's your JIRA username? I would prefer keeping the component there as long as there are some open issues.
 
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Picture of Danny Wahl
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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dwahl

thank you

 
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David
Re: Plugins adoption programme
 

Hi David,

as Danny has taken over Elegance I would like to volunteer to take maintenance for the Essential theme.

David

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Great David! Did you have a chance to talk to Julian about it (like Danny did)?
 
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David
Re: Plugins adoption programme
 

I asked Julian whether he would approve of this (briefly) and his reply was "Keen for it to find a new home and maintainer so it can live on. smile".

 
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Gareth J Barnard
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Hi David,

I have been toying with taking over maintenance too: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=253376#p1138044.  Would you be amenable to a joint maintenance effort?  There is already some of my code in the theme already and I know how most of it works off by heart anyway.

Cheers,

Gareth

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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It would be great if you both guys were able to cooperate on this somehow. The last thing I want to see is N independent forks of this awesome project.
 
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David
Re: Plugins adoption programme
 

Hi Gareth, absolutely open to working together.

However the Moodle component only allows one person to "own" it.
I'll be happy to share a repository with you, and we can discuss who "owns" the Moodle component.

David

 
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Picture of Arindam Ghosh
Re: Plugins adoption programme
 

Hi All,


Let me introduce myself, I am Arindam from DualCube, a web development firm specializing in Moodle development for the last few years. We are very eager to participate in the Moodle community actively and we would like to start with the adoption of the Rocket theme(https://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=theme_rocket) by Julian Ridden. Please let me know your thoughts about this.

We do have hands on experience customizing Moodle Themes and have also built a few custom ones. I would request you guys to check one of them which we are planning to upload in Moodle.org, here's the link to our staging server:

http://staging.dualcube.com/moodle/crispmoodle/

Git link: https://github.com/dualcube/crisp_theme


Looking forward to hear from you.


Thanks and Regards,

Arindam

Team DualCube,

Skype: moodlecafe

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Thanks Arindam for offering your hand in further maintenance of the theme. I just set you as the new lead maintainer of it, keeping Julian as the original author. Best luck, and looking forward for the updates.
 
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Picture of Jérôme Mouneyrac
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Hello,

I would like to put the enrolment invitation on the list of "seeking for a new maintainer". It's a plugin for teachers to send manual invitations to enrol into your own course. 

It has been listed as a popular plugin (https://techsupport.lambdasolutions.net/hc/en-us/articles/200427963-Popular-Moodle-Plugins), so you will code on something that people already like. You will find many fixes and improvements over different places to start working on it: https://github.com/ucla/moodle-enrol_invitationhttps://github.com/mouneyrac/moodle-enrol_invitation/network or in the plugin page comments. I think it's a small plugin, perfect to start coding with Moodle smile

Cheers,

Jerome

 
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It's only an avatar...
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Hi David,

Could you please enrol me as Maintainer of the Arialist theme? And if possible, all the other Moodle standard themes which were removed from Moodle, as I would like to upgrade them so that they work in RTL languages, and fix other CSS issues that they may still have.

I need to fix Arialist theme as there are two rogue arrows '⟨' and '⟩' being used that are creating havoc in quiz and other parts of Moodle 2.6.

Thanks and Happy New Year!

Cheers

Mary

 

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Thanks a lot Mary for such a kind offer! Good luck with maintaining these. You are now the lead maintainer of all the legacy core themes that were still waiting for adoption.
 
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Picture of Joseph Conradt
Re: Plugins adoption programme
 

Hi David,

Firstly, great idea for keeping plugins up to date! Secondly, can I 'adopt' the Moodlebook theme by Julian?

Thanks!

Joseph

 
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Picture of David Mudrák
Re: Plugins adoption programme
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Hi Joseph. Thanks for your offer. There are multiple issues reported with the theme in recent versions and it will be great to see them fixed. Good luck with the maintenance!
 
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