Anyone want to help make the Addon application into a user Showcase application?

edited May 2014 in General Banter

I just discovered this Addon application (new to me) on GitHub at: https://github.com/vanillaforums/VanillaAddonsApp. I was helped to get it working on my forum (thank you!) in this post: http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/26932/how-did-you-make-the-vanilla-addon-theme-application

I'm going to, as time permits, modify it so users can showcase their efforts using my open source software on my Vanilla forum, and I thought it would be useful here (Vanilla Community Forum) as well as elsewhere, for users to have a place to showcase their websites, or whatever they build using the developers' tools.

The showcase section of the forum would be for peers and developers to review and be inspired by actual installations.

Anyway, to do something cooperative like this should I just make a fork off the GitHub repo of the Vanilla Addon application, name it Showcase, and see if others start joining in? Would it be best to create an organization maybe called Showcase or Forum Showcase on GitHub for the remix of the application, and then have the organization fork the repo (that way I would not own it, and could welcome others in)? Is there a preferred method for remixing and adding back in Vanilla open source applications, pluggins, themes, etc.?

From Addon to Showcase Idea

My thought is to replace the download button with a "Come See!" button.

The approved message with something else more content or best practices related, or maybe no message at all, as content on sites can change at any time, unlike uploaded pluggins sitting in your site's folder.

Replace the "Questions" title for user posts with "Comments" or even better with the ability to use the Q&A plugin to both ask questions and make comments. Essentially, a mini-forum focused on users' attempts to implement whatever the main forum is about.

Create a form for users to enter descriptive information, since it will not be pulled from an uploaded file (that might be too challenging for me if that involves adding database fields to capture these details). I'll at first just aim to have all the describing done by the user in the description field, unless someone else would help with the form creation.

Anyway, I've always wished there was a place on forums like Vanilla's or like The Bug Genie's (the other project I'm very appreciative of) to see what others are doing with the software, and read what developers and peers think of their modifications, customizations, uses, etc.

I found this post echoing this desire for a user showcase: http://vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/197229

I'm thinking if done right, it would be safe place both for users to show what they have done and recommend the pluggins, themes, etc. they used to accomplish what they are showing off. Mmm... So would also need a list of links for users to credit all the people who contributed to their look and feel and functionality. Cheers!

Comments

  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    We already have a showcase for our add ons in our profiles. We can also post more info about ourselves and out websites by using the signatures or even the title or possibly even extend the fields to include a few more things.

    Most people here have their own projects going besides this forum and they use Github as a way to share code if you will. They also have their own sites or sites they manage.

    You would be better off linking to Gitub and encouraging them to use it as well. Mostly because that is where they need to file bug reports for this software and that is where the quality controls are.

    You could do all this, however it is a bit like re inventing the wheel in my opinion.

    About the approved message, yes we have all discussed changing it to Practically Approved ..... ;)

  • edited May 2014

    @vrijvlinder said:
    We already have a showcase for our add ons in our profiles. ...

    Most people here have their own projects going besides this forum and they use Github as a way to share code if you will. ...

    You would be better off linking to Gitub and encouraging them to use it as well. Mostly because that is where they need to file bug reports for this software and that is where the quality controls are.

    Your comment, I think, is specific to the needs of code contributors to the site, but not consumers of the site's code (in the form of pluggins, themes, etc.)? Your suggestion seems focused mainly on a code only type of showcase, which is GitHub, of course.

    But what about non-coders who visit the site not really interested in how things work? Users who just want to see many case studies of what the software looks like when implemented, and could benefit from a place to talk to people showcasing their implementations? That's me. I'll get into the code if I have to, but its painful and very time consuming, because I'm not really good and not interested in becoming a good coder. I would really like to see some implementations first, to see if someone else has already done what I did not know I wanted.

    I'm really focused on providing a showcase area for non-tech users showing social successes that could involve technology, but the technology is not the focus. For example, I made a movie and created some handouts about a simple set of brain exercises that schools can paint on their playgrounds called The Space Walk: http://helpgivethanks.org/. I'm now helping a friend put up a forum so teachers can share information and ask questions about these brain exercises. The users want to see how others are implementing these exercises. What does a Space Walk look like when painted indoors, in a narrow space, etc.?

    It would be great if an Addon type of section existed on the forum where teachers could show of their remix of the exercises, and get feed back from other teachers. Perhaps instead of tagging showcase items on this brain-exercise forum as theme, pluggin, application, etc. there could instead be tags for playground layouts, handouts, lesson plans, etc.

    I mentioned installing such a section here at Vanilla Forums for users who are shopping for a forum, and need to see and talk with other consumers of the software. These type of users use Softaculous to install Vanilla and then browse the forum for some alternate themes; do the bare minimum to get things going; and then never touch the code again. For these type of users, Vanilla Forums currently lacks a place where anyone can easily find many examples of an Addon in use and talk to the people using them. (I think!?!? Otherwise, why the post by Vanilla marketing staff about submitting examples of open source made Vanilla forums?)

    This Addon tool provides a different view of the forum's information than the profile tool or the search tool. It's an amazing tagging system that turns a post into it's own sub-category. Imagine a low rider site where people show off their cars, and by using an Addon like application they could narrow their showcase search to examples of specific types of cars, and then participate in a mini=forum about one particular car they might like to mimic.

    Mmm... So am I making a sense about there being a different type of audience for a forum that is currently being under served? An audience that has a need to also be at the center of attention on the forum for how-they-used what others-created? The Addon Application here at Vanilla is for creators, and it is fantastic! They are the deserved center of attention in this section. A showcase remix of the Addon tool would make the consumers of Addon's the center of attention. "Look what I made!" Versus "Look what I did with what you made!" Both need representation on the forum, and I think if such a section where added, many people would showcase their forums in it.

    Or maybe I'm not seeing why this is not such a good idea, which is very likely. I saw the Addon tool in a new light this morning, and suddenly had this vision for it on my friend's site, and my site. But maybe the forum already can do what I want? Maybe there is nothing the Addon tool brings to the table that is different than what is already here? But I think I'm right, and it's just a very cool tool that has yet to find perhaps its biggest use as a showcase. Maybe!?!???

  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP
    edited May 2014

    But what about non-coders who visit the site not really interested in how things work?

    They might be up shits creek, open source software requires coding knowledge of at least a basic level or is a speedy learner. There is no way around that.

    Users who just want to see many case studies of what the software looks like when implemented, and have the ability to talk to the implementer

    They can see them on tests sites that are set up to see the demo. They can see them on my forums and all my addons have my email and my we site if they need to contact me.

    I see what you mean but it seems impractical to have a section for demos. All you have to do is download it and try it.

    That's me. I'll get into the code, but its painful and very time consuming, because I'm not really good and not interested in becoming a good coder. I would really like to see some implementations first.

    This is why you don't understand , because you are like an architect and the coder is the engineer who figures out the measurements for the architect design.

    Coming up with a design is fun and easy. Building the actual thing is not. Not if you don't understand structural integrity.

    I am not a coder, I am a hack who has taught herself to code from need. If you need to get something done, often times you have to learn how to do it yourself. The benefit is that you only have to learn it once. After that it is just a replication of the application process.

    Many people have come through here with similar ideas which is why I sound a bit cynical maybe.

    If you were to design something like what you describe and code it and then present it to the Vanilla team as an extension of the addons section, I am sure they would be interested.

    But they have already made it clear it is not something on the top of the list.

    So am I making a sense about there being a different type of audience for a forum that is currently being under served?

    The audience for this forum is strictly about getting something done in their forum. They will ask how to do something or if there is a plugin for something. Sometimes they don't know what they want or how to express it, but in the end they get a plugin for their needs. Then they go away and come back when they have a problem.

    It really is not a social forum even though sometimes we horse around. We want people to come here and want to learn for themselves. They can either learn to understand the code , or hire someone.

    We really don't have time or really care to teach people from scratch. It inevitably happens that when you show someone some technology , they want to know how to modify it but have no idea what to do. If they really want to get something to work, the result is they had to learn some code.

    It is only tedious when you are unfamiliar. People also say things like, I don't have the time to learn how. That is unfortunate.

    As I explained before. We do have places to showcase and demos if someone asks.
    This forum is under no obligation to even host any of our add ons and they are gracious enough to include us in the open source pool of code.

    Your ideas are good, you could apply them to something more popular with people than coding and software.

  • What is the purpose of a forum technology? In the end, isn't it about helping people cooperate and help each other better? Is not Vanilla Forums a forum for promoting this technology to as wide a user base as possible?

    Engineers thought the computer was just going to be for engineers, coders, etc. Never regular folk not interested in how things work. Now everyone carries around a computer in their pocket, and most do not want to be bothered with how the computer works. They want to hear from fellow users when deciding which computer to buy.

    Information technology always starts out being just for the makers, until everything shifts toward the users, and then the conversation becomes primarily about the users' experiences and customizations, not how the technology works. Conversation about info tech is already largely user focused, not coder focused, about how info tech help cause the Arab Spring, stop election fraud, get aid to where it is needed in disaster zones.

    When tech becomes about end users, the funding and demand for techies goes through the roof as happened when computers went from institution size to pocket size.

    Just because the current audience at Vanilla Forums is largely coders, doesn't mean non-coders don't want to participate in selecting forum software or forum addons. In fact like with car buying, forum shopping will one day be about the bells and whistles, pride of ownership, etc. from the perspective of non-technical, end user, majority buyers. One day soon, I hope, every family will have their own forum, because this technology provides a superior way to brainstorm, and share some kinds of ideas.

    Just as human beings need stairs to climb tall buildings, forums are needed by us to manage complex relationships. (Just look at how polite, cooperative, and giving people are on this forum. I believe the architecture of forum technology has a lot to do with shaping the behavior of how people work together who communicate through forums. Why wouldn't families benefit from this kind of dialogue tool?)

    I went through phpBB, Simple Machines, and Phorum before finally testing and settling on Vanilla. I think a lot of people unwilling to hack, unlike us, give up to soon on forum technology, because there is too little show-and-tell with forum projects right now, making it seem like forums are only for large groups who can afford to hire someone, or for hacker type groups.

  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    Is not Vanilla Forums a forum for promoting this technology to as wide a user base as possible?

    No not as far as open source purpose. The purpose is to get the code to many coders to help improve the software. That is the only reason for allowing people to use your work for free. Because they can contribute to the software.

    Those who want a forum and free software to run in it can use either the Open Source free version, or they can have Vanilla.com run it and do it all for them. That is their business.

    How do they benefit then ? By finding bugs that users of the software report.

    They want to hear from fellow users when deciding which computer to buy.

    If that is what they want then they can go to the hosted version forum and ask people how they like their out of the box works forum and did not have to code.

    People who really want a forum get one and they can pick from many, this one is the most user friendly. And if you get the hosted version, then it rocks.

    This forum in particular is community support for other users like us who are not coders or are unfamiliar with the software itself.

    The biggest problem any forum has is getting people to join and also participate.The only reason the abandon forums is because they were not successful . It is a full time job to actually manage a forum. Regardless of the software.

    And it does not matter if you code or not, if people don't join your forum.

    It is easier to have a blog than a forum.

    The Users here at least myself and a few others love code. Or learned to love it. That is what is enjoyable about this forum. That you can through code ideas around to make something. Once you make the first thing , you get hooked and want to make more. It might be fun to talk about the box, but I prefer talking about what is inside and makes it tick.

    virtualdavid
  • R_JR_J Cheerleader & Troubleshooter Munich Moderator

    First of all: yes , GitHub would be a good idea because I guess most of the developers here have GitHub accounts. But from my experience, it will be hard to find even co-workers. It will be much easier to get support for dedicated parts of problems.

    I like the idea of helping and helping someone who is helping someone is help² which I like even more :)

    My biggest problem with your idea is that I do not understand it... Could you make a sketch of how your application should look like? Or describe the features it should have? Or give a link to something similar?


    virtualdavid
  • edited May 2014

    @vrijvlinder said:
    This forum in particular is community support for other users like us who are not coders or are unfamiliar with the software itself.

    >

    The biggest problem any forum has is getting people to join and also participate.

    I agree. Would you like to help me figure out how to remix the Addon Application so more people can join in promoting any forum, including this one, regardless of their self-identification as proud makers or proud users?

    What harm is there in having people who use your work show it off, tell their friends, form networks of users committed to your work, help others learn how to use it, etc.?

    My greatest teaching experience was when I had 2nd through 7th graders in a one-room school situation. I gave them the teacher's manuals, and stopped trying to figure out what they needed to learn. Instead, I had them make iMovies explaining the concepts to others that they where supposed to learn. These kids got so excited with being teachers, that they gave themselves far more work than I would have ever assigned.

    One morning I had one mother come in before school to hand me three pages of single-spaced, college-ruled paper completely filled with writing from her young child (a student that had previously seemed to have trouble writing out just a couple of sentences). This kid, given the task to make a movie and use writing as a means-to-an-end (a script) had no problem filling those pages with her many ideas. Her mother came to see me that morning because she wanted me to know that her child had done all the writing by herself. "I did not help her at all!"

    I'm going to hack away at remixing, however slightly, the Addons application for users to showcase their end uses on a Vanilla Forum, allowing users to promote, share, discuss whatever it is the forum is about as the user sees it. If you would like to help, I would be really grateful! :)

    vrijvlinder
  • @R_J said:
    Could you make a sketch of how your application should look like? Or describe the features it should have? Or give a link to something similar?

    Will do tomorrow, or later today (*) . I enjoyed discussing this idea so much that I stayed up way past my normal bedtime. Cheers!

  • hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New Moderator

    Sounds like a cool idea.

    I am pretty sure you would get a good start by using the addons application. Then once you figure out what you want, throw the hack away and start from scratch. :)

    First things first, think about the nouns of your application? Those are your model names. Then figure out what you want to do with them. Those are your method names. (Most people use CRUD). Then figure out what you want to show people. Those are your controller names.

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

    Search first

    Check out the Documentation! We are always looking for new content and pull requests.

    Click on insightful, awesome, and funny reactions to thank community volunteers for their valuable posts.

    virtualdavid
  • edited May 2014

    I'm so excited by this and so completely unqualified to do this which is a wonderful mix for very serious >:) work (Paula Scher's idea (see her insightful talk below)). Thank you so much vrijvlinder for the very intense and much appreciated conversation, and R_J for giving me an assignment, and hgtonight for a glimmer into how the application structure works!

    I need a little more time to formulate all these ideas buzzing around in my head into a useful, well thought out, illustrated post for further discussion. Have a great weekend, and I'll post Monday or Tuesday. Cheers!

    Paula Scher (2008). Great design is serious >:) (not solemn :| ) [video file]. TEDTalks. Time 0:21:56. TED. Copyright 2009 by the Publisher. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Retrieved 4/27/2012 from http://www.ted.com/talks/paula_scher_gets_serious

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