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Why all integrations/bridges, in the last instance, suck

edited October 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
A couple of caveats first:

- I'm not a coder, but an informed admin who can do minor hacks, cut and paste code;
- open source communities are amazing and the effort put into producing software can only be appreciated and one shouldn't expect developers to do more than they have time for.

For those who who've gone down a "CMS path", you've probably encountered the possibility of integrating or bridging two different software. For example, it's possible to nicely integrate Vanilla with Wordpress. And there are countless other intergrations such as SMF/Joomla etc, and lots with phpbb etc.

Now it's one thing for an admin to maintain the integrity of a single software, when you rely on additional plugins, which sometimes aren't updated. But when it comes to integrations/bridges the stakes escalate. Firstly, they don't always work seemlessly (even Vanilla and WP has issues. Of course this is not a fault of the respective developers). Secondly, if upgrades occur it can unravel into a real mess if you don't keep track and test things before hand. Or things may just stop working until upgrades are taken into account of.

I've tried quite a few integrations and it seems to me in the long run it's not worth the effort unless you are committed to keep it working (and have the requiste knowledge & time), which may be at the expense of actually developing your community.

Better is to develop core packages with key features (at the risk of bloat) or dedicated addons/plugins which are tightly maintained by a development team...easier said done in the real world.

Just some thoughts from an Admin trying to simply his life. (Not meant to be a criticism of open source).


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    I'm currently running a Joomla!/SMF bridge, and you're right, it's a damn pain in the ass to administrate. You need to regularly update not only Joomla! and SMF, but also the bridge component itself, and the many small modules which have 80% chances to stop working after each update. I guess it's the same with other CMS.

    That's one of the reasons why I'm currently giving up this bridge and working on running the same website, but using only Vanilla, which is enough to suit my needs. It's simpler for me and simpler for my users, even if they may need a little time of adaptation. I mean, my site was supposed to be kind of a collective blog coupled to a forum. Since I know Vanilla, I've no use of the bridge anymore: it puts so much emphasis on making communication easier and more intuitive that it can be both used as a blog and a forum, in my opinion.

    So I'd like to add this to snowcrash's thoughts: before trying to mess with integration, ask yourself if it's really necessary.
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    I agree in principle. Always a drag; the only question is how much. Mileage varies depending on the need for the ersatz integration.

    I like the approach that daveh took to integrating Vanilla with Textpattern. He adopted a unidirectional integration from Textpattern to Vanilla with both apps remaining loosely coupled. Signups are done in Textpattern and the user registration passed to Vanilla.

    See also the Wordpress integration discussion.
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    snowcrash & this rant of yours is triggered by what?
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    edited October 2006

    it's been triggered by various attempts at trying out a various bridges/integrations and finding out they are end up being high maintenance (or don't work), which can end up distracting an Admin away from actually developing their community...basically I've given up going down this path, so wanted to tell the rest of the world ;-) Didn't intend it to come across as a 'rant'.

    Like I stressed, not meant to be a criticism of anyone/any software, but pointing out that while bridges/integrations offer some "best of both worlds" possibilities, in reality they can be a headache for 'ordinary' Admins.
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