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A handful of questions about the Vanilla project

edited July 2007 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
I'm new here -- a refugee fleeing from PHPBB, you might say. So far I'm pretty impressed with both the look & feel of Vanilla and its architecture, especially given the implementation language (not so much a knock on PHP on the whole, as acknowledgement that trying to maintain OO-ness in PHP4 is tough). But every project has room for improvement, and I am curious as to what the protocol is here.

From what I've seen so far, it seems as though most of the contributions to Vanilla are in the form of extensions. While it's a good thing that the forum is very extensible, leaving every ehancement in plugin form does have its challenges (playing well with other extensions being the more prevalent). Is there a process by which popular extensions become part of the core project?

And a related question: does the project currently have a group of developers maintaining the core Vanilla code, or is it a one-man shop?

If I want to contribute code or documentation to improve the core project, how would I get started? I notice that the "Fixes & Updates" category has little activity, and I didn't happen upon any other info about contributing. To whom would I submit patches? Is there a roadmap or bugtracker active, where I could volunteer my time on specific tasks? That sort of thing.

Thanks in advance for any direction.

Comments

  • Vanilla is Mark's project. As far as I know he's the only developer, although anyone is free to suggest any changes, and post fixes to bugs you might encounter. If you come across some sort of bug, just post here in the forums. Even if you don't have the solution, posting about it is a good idea.

    As for extensions, they don't get into the core based on popularity. An important thing for Mark (as far as I can tell) is to keep Vanilla very vanilla. You'll probably sooner see things removed from the core, rather than added to it.
  • Bjrn is pretty spot on the money here...as for contributing documentation as such, all the documentation is provided on the wiki. I think your forum login will let you log in on there too but otherwise just ask mark for access and he'll set it up for you. There are no roadmaps, and I think Mark is planning on setting up somem sort of bug tracking thing but hasn't had chance yet. As bjrn says, though, it's more likely stuff will get removed from the core than adding to it.
  • ithcyithcy New
    edited July 2007
    i thought at least one other person had commit privileges on the core.
  • Hmmm...maybe they do. I dunno who though.
  • I think I remember seing Lech appear in a SVN changelog somewhere... would have been long ago...

    This is very different from the typical popular open-source community, the roadmap for the core is simply locked away in Mark's head, shrouded in a cloud of secrecy.
    If you aren't satisfied with that, then look in the add-ons and add-on request categories for things to build or fix. If documentation is your thing, then you could do something like find the most common problems and fixes and add them to the Wiki faq. If you are a designer, create a style or a theme. Or just hang out--ask a question, answer another, then post a funny link.
    Since you come from phpBB, you might even have some insight on improving the phpBB migrator
  • Thanks for the replies. It looks like the library documentation is where I could give the most help at first (I apparently don't have wiki access, but I can request it as mentioned). I ended up transferring just my users to vanilla and setting everything else up manually, so I'm not sure how much help I could offer on the phpBB migrator, but I am happy to take a look. (As a rule though, I peeked at PHPBB internals as little as possible :-P )

    I can appreciate the urge to reduce functionality over time, especially that which isn't particularly needed. I don't particularly think the Vanilla library needs to expand, but I did see one or two things that could improve (like how permissions/preferences are stored and read, for instance). All in good time I suppose. The docs are more important. :)
  • Yeah there will always be improvements which can be made on the existing functionality. I'm sure if you want to target a particular piece of the codebase (like the permissions as you say) then if you started a dialog with mark regarding that he might be willing to come to some sort of arrangement. Part of the problem is that if someone starts talking to him in depth about areas of code then by the time he's looked into them in some detail and come to a sound conclusion that satisfies you both so far as changing core code is concerned, in some ways he may aswell just have got it done himself I guess. I'm just thinking out loud though and theyre my views not his. Certainly though I'm sure he'd massively appreciate some work on the wiki as developer documentation is somewhat lacking.
  • Very true on the dialog. I certainly wouldn't bother Mark about changes unless I had a working proof of concept, since I know how hard it is to find time to work on personal projects. :)
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    I had (and I think I still might have) access to SVN although I haven't committed anything for a while. My last contribution consisted of few CSS and graphical tweaks pre-1.0 and putting the Vanilla logo in icon format to appear in your address bars. I think as far as the core goes, I contributed the least while SirNot (I think) contributed patches and tweaks where they were needed.

    As always, people can freely pull files from SVN but if you want to make any changes it's best to contact mark with a reason why. But you're probably better off posting a patch to the forums for others to review and there's a likely chance that if it's acceptable mark will pull it into the core when he has a chance to review it.
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