I want to present an initiative by some partners to give Moodle plugins stronger guidelines, standardisation and a exhaustive review on top of the current process. The purpose is to define a way of certifying plugin quality, functionality and security. The partners that are currently part of this group are Remote Learner, Moodlerooms, Lambda Solutions and Nivel Siete. We are welcoming ideas and opinions by any partner that would like to join POET (Partners of Open-source Educational Technologies).
Firstly, let me thank you for raising this topic. Plugins are essential part of the Moodle project and they have significant impact on how whole Moodle is perceived by the community. As someone who spends most of the working time by reviewing code submitted into the Plugins directory, I fully understand the need for plugins QA reviews - as long as these reviews serve as the source of useful feedback to the plugin authors. I believe these reviews must be very transparent, open and public, so they encourage the plugin maintainers to continuously improve the quality of their open-source code.
That is why and how the support for QA reviews was implemented into the Plugins directory years ago. There is this in-built system where trusted reviewers have rights to publish their reviews of submitted plugins. These reviews can be based on various criteria (such as functionality, usability, security. accessibility etc) and there are ways to control who can review what criterion.
Unfortunately we do not have many of these reviews. At the moment, there are just 26 plugins with a QA review attached. It is a bit surprising and a pity as I know that many Moodle partners perform these reviews internally without publishing them. We in HQ are indeed open for further enhancements of the current system, should something be needed for having more reviews available.
In fact, initiatives like this are not that new. In the past, we repeatedly asked Moodle partners to provide them.
I'll be happy to see your POET group involved in providing these QA reviews in the Moodle plugins directory. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with me to set up the environment for your people to start publishing them. Looking forward to your help!
I don't think it was promoted very well. I'd be happy to provide reviews of plugins we looked at but when I tried to do it (some time ago admittedly) I wasn't allowed or it didn't work (I don't remember).
I'm completely mystified what the POET group is supposed to achieve other than confuse matters further. However, with my cynical hat on, I suspect there is rather more to it than may first appear. We shall see...
I just looked again and I still don't see where or how to submit a review (or to apply to do so as the case may be)
David, what has Gavin H got that I don't (apart from charm and organisational ability of course). I have a plugin review written but I cannot see where I would submit it.
Thanks Howard and Marcus for offering to provide plugin reviews.
To submit a review for a particular plugin, you need to click the Versions button and then you'll see the 'Write a review' button (as illustrated in the attached screenshot). Hopefully it's easy from then on!
Obviously we need to make the interface more user-friendly, however it's currently designed so that comments on various different aspects can be submitted - security, usability, accessibility and performance, in addition to a general comments. Comments may well be version-specific, hence the reason why the 'Write a review' button is buried in the versions area.
Suggested improvements for the reviewing interface are very welcome, as are more reviewers. If you'd like to volunteer to help provide Plugin reviews, please contact David.
Got it... who would have guessed?
Hi Helen -
I must still be missing something. I cannot find a "Write a review" button anywhere.
As an example, I chose the Certificate activity (https://moodle.org/plugins/view/mod_certificate). On the main page, I see this:
When I click on the "Versions" link, I see this:
I don't see the "Write a review" button.
Sorry about that Mike. If you check again, you should now see the 'Write a review' button.
Helen, I have the exact same problem as Mike above, I simply don't get a Write a Review button/link on the Version page.
This is quite possibly the reason you are not getting many reviews, there are clearly some bugs preventing this displaying to users. I remember seeing the Reviews feature for a long time and wondering how on earth you get to write one!
I would suggest making this feature front and center on the plugin information page, then select the version as part of the form instead. I'm pretty sure you'd get a lot of reviewers if this were more prominent.
Helen has given me access so I now see the button
David, this will make a big difference to make it widely available, I'm sure. Thanks for all your work on the plugins database, it has really improved in recent years
Is there a way to easily search for plugins that already have reviews?
I admit the link is currently buried quite deep in the navigation. Which is something we plan to improve in the next UI redesign of the whole Plugins directory.
Even after you posted a link, I had trouble finding it. For anyone looking, it is under the "Administration" menu, under "Plugins administration" > "Reports" > "Reviewed plugins" (see screenshot).
I have created a new discussion in the General plugins forum to better show and describe what we are trying to do. Discussion is welcome.