On better managing the growing plugins collection
I just recently began working with Vanilla. I like the idea of keeping Vanilla vanilla and leaving most functionality to plugins, but this makes plugin discoverability a major concern.
I had the patience to go through the description pages for the 500+ plugins available for Vanilla 2 and download those that seemed interesting. Then I still had to test them individually, debug those that didn't work (with a lot of help from the posts here), fix some code, etc. With an ever growing collection of plugins, I think the current system to manage and browse plugins could benefit from some improvements to make it easier for developers to find the right plugins and stay away from the wrong ones. Here are my 2 ideas:
- Flag deprecated plugins: Some plugins have been superseded by newer, better plugins that offer the same or improved functionality, written specifically with the newest Vanilla coding standards in mind. Probably a few others have become unnecessary due to Vanilla implementing their functionality in the core, or have become obsolete due to external changes. Which plugins are deprecated isn't at all obvious to those new to Vanilla like me. One could try to rely on the last date updated, but unfortunately there are many very useful plugins that haven't been updated for years. This leads to my second idea.
- Adopt a plugin: Some really nice plugins have been abandoned by their original developers. This can't be avoided, it's the nature of open source. Often, problems with these older plugins are dealt with via unofficial patches (most of them by @peregrine) and solutions suggested here in the forum, but this is far from ideal. Not everyone finds these patches or knows how to apply them. Moreover, this is only maintenance mode. There is no real further development on them, and they slowly fade into obscurity. Wouldn't it be cool if plugin developers could apply to adopt abandoned plugins to continue their development? In my opinion, this would be better than duplicating the old one with a new name, only to create more confusion about plugins with duplicated functionality.
There are many other ways in which browsing the plugin collection could be made better. Plugin categories? Please, share your opinions and hopefully the guys above will come up with something useful.
I will write another rant about the lack of documentation for developers next time