What does XOOPS need?
  • 2005/5/27 16:06

  • hsalazar

  • Just popping in

  • Posts: 78

  • Since: 2003/2/6 1

Hi, xoopsers!

What is it that XOOPS needs to rise above the top? How come all those darn lazy good-for-nothing core team members don't fix things so they go the right way? Why aren't people's opinions being read and used and deployed in the code? Why there's still no good quality in the modules? Why? Why? Why?

So many questions, so many opinions, so little time, so little encouragement to push ahead. Sigh.

Well, if you have the time, let me share with some of you a few remembrances of things past, present and maybe future.

XOOPS is a collective project. This means many people work in it at the same time. Not as many as we'd like, and not in as coordinate a way as we'd like, but nevertheless, progress is being done while you read this. Yes, yes, not as fast as we'd like, but, you know? Sometimes the tone in these threads has a most peculiar effect: it tends to take your spirit away. Do you know why? Because sometimes it seems that no one cares about what kind of time, of effort, of talent you put in: someone's going to whine, to complain, to throw dirt just for the sake of it. Damn!

Call it whatever you like. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and of course they're welcome here (because behind some of these comments there're some scattered pearls). But you can't expect to get more and more and more from someone who's constantly abused verbally as lazy, incompetent, unefficient, myopic, deaf... you get the point. And much less can you expect him or her to do it with a happy heart, a smile on the face, a kind word for everyone.

I'll tell you friends a story. I expect you to excuse the fact that it's about me, but as you'll probably understand, it is my case the one I'm more familiar with. So here it is. Some time ago, Herko approached me with a few good ideas about how to move the community, how to strengthen XOOPS's code, how to instill more life in the whole enchilada. We started chatting a lot. I mean A LOT. And we built a few docs, a few drafts, some graphics, some general ideas on how to build The XOOPS Universe.

After a while, we and some other xoopsers got the core teams defined, and for some reason I ended as leader of the then nonexistant documentation team. The idea was to ask for help, so I asked for help. And again. And again. It wasn't easy, it wasn't quick, it wasn't as successful as we'd all like, but eventually we had a team running. Oh, it was -still is- a good team. As usual, there's a few slackers, a few so-so, a few lurkers. But there's also some very active and very professional and very nice and productive people there. So, the team got to work, we defined a general plan to write documentation and started doing it. Write, write, write. Argue, argue, argue. Write, write, write.

All along, we had all kind of feedback: some complained about the fact that the team was a closed endeavour; some complained about the lack of good docs; some whined about the bureaucracy of the team: after all, they said, how hard can it be to write a document about this or that? Oh, we had tons and tons of comments, mostly complaints about how slowly we moved. A very few xoopsers even did something about it, and the result is some very useful docs. But most of the comments were the kind of comparisons that feed your heart: "Hey, lazy bum! Take a look at how nice documents they have at Mambo | PostNuke | Xaraya | etc. How come you have nothing?" Eventually I had to leave the team aside, but had the most splendid take over help from the present leader, Carnuke. You can read now some of the documents produced by the team in the links at your left. Kudos to you, Richard! (And of course to the rest of the team!)

So what did I do? Well, as a matter of fact, I was learning bit by bit some PHP, so I talked with some ver knowledgeable xoopsers and they kind of taugth me enough to ask a few intelligent questions and advance some things. Among them was Catzwolf, now turned into a different man for reasons that are none of my business but which I certainly respect. I gave him some suggestions and ideas, we also chatted some, and from that came some of his modules: WF-Channel, WF-FAQ... All in all, I learned enough to attempt to build a module of my own. The result was Soapbox.

Afterwards I learned a bit more, so I built, from a different approach, Wordbook. This time I started from the index page: I decided how I wanted it to look, gathering the best from all glossaries I found, and then I wrote the code to feed the page. It was a nice experiment. Third, I wrote a module for a very specific project, and I tried to do it as complete as possible, even though it's not a general use module. However, it includes some niceties so I just put it in the devs site for everyone to take it and dismantle it. It's FilmMaker.

I'm no coder, no IT guy. So you'll understand these modules are full of quirks and are, to say the least, cumbersome. They expect a lot from the database, have convoluted solutions to problems that a good coder finds amusing and in general are slow modules. They also have their share of bugs. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

And guess what? I sure got some very good feedback from many xoopsers... but also the usual comments from some other ones: "Hey? Whay don't you add this or that? Hey, why don't you build this for me? Hey, how come you're so slow to react? Hey, this bug was reported a century ago! Do something!" Ah, the warm feelings!

So, after this context which is may have a familiar ring to you, here's a few answers to a few questions. They are, of course, my answers, so feel free to accept them or not, as you will:

1. Why does XOOPS have modules with not-so-good quality? First, because building a good module is not an easy task. You can ask anywhere. But it's also because building a good quality control team has proven difficult. We talked about this almost two years ago, and guess what? We've got more flak than volunteers, more critiques than people willing to help. Also, since this is an open initiative, everyone is entitleed to write a module, and there's no way anybody can control that. Even I wrote a few modules, as I told you, and if they're under somebody's standards, well, sorry, but my few surviving neurons are already a bit overwhelmed. If you have good ideas, please put them to work. How? Dario García had ideas about WordBook, so he sent me some PMs. After a while, I answered, gave him developer status and now he's released a couple of bugfixes. That's how! Movement is shown by moving, not by shouting. And don't come to me with those "I'm no coder" excuses: only a very few are actually coders, and modules need more than just coders, just as XOOPS needs much more than just coders and just core team members.

2. Why don't the core team members do something about this or that? For instance, about the fact that some developers leave, about the fact that some developers want things done differently, about the fact that other software packages have better features or better marketing or better interfaces. Well, the reasons are pretty much obvious. Core team members have also a life of their own, responsibilities other than XOOPS, families to take care of. But when someone dares to say this in the forums, there's always some schmuck yelling that this implies ass-kissing or worse. Why? Because a large community must include, as a rule, all kinds of people, the good as well as the obnoxious. So we have our share of baddies, of name-calling, insulting, provoking, yelling, whining and disturbing xoopsers. So be it. But it's not always easy nor always a light load to carry. And people do deserve to be praised.

I feels an immense amount of respect for people like Herko, Mithrandir, Ackbarr, Skalpa, Marcan, Onokazu, GIJoe, Solo, Predator, Bunny... The list is long though not as long as we'd need. But all these people are giving XOOPS time, talent and willingness, trying to build a better and safer product and a healthy and positive community. Thanks to them we have XOOPS for now and for the future. I'm very happy to see there's a good deal of new and not-so-new xoopsers that are also beginning to replace words with work, and thanks to them XOOPS has a renewed spirit aiming for some overlooked issues: packaging (though we talked a bit also a couple of years back), marketing, customer attention, better profiles...

3. So what is it that XOOPS need to rise over the top? Better coders? A good coder is always welcome, but to be honest, we do have some of the best and finest, and we'd better care for them, because they migh as well be doing something else. Some have gone, and it's a shame, but it's also their choice. Better vision? Maybe we need a better diffusion mechanism, but I assure you the vision shared by the core team leaders and some of the recent contributors is a darned good vision, good enough to take XOOPS to a quality level you have not seen before in projects such as this. Unfortunately, some of this you have to read between the lines, thanks to the noise level in the threads. Better documents? You bet. Now please help us get the writers. Or write yourself part of what we need. [i]Better xoopsers?[i] We do have more than our share of top-quality xoopsers. This is one of the fines communities you can find in the open source world. You don't believe me? Friend, you might as well take a look around!

So what is it? Some of you will think this is stupid or shoddy or plain too simple, but it's my take. What do we need? We need to be aware of the fact that XOOPS will be best if we remember to give more than we demand. Yes, the good old message behind the late president Kennedy's words: what have you done for XOOPS lately? So let's move on! As you very well know, there's plenty to do. Let's do it!


Re: What does XOOPS need?
  • 2005/5/27 16:28

  • hervet

  • Friend of XOOPS

  • Posts: 2267

  • Since: 2003/11/4

A good lesson, thank you Horacio !

Re: What does XOOPS need?

Hear hear, and as we started quoting JFK, here is another one:

"Don't ask what XOOPS can do for you, but what you can do for XOOPS." (edited: I should have read your post better Horacio )

That being said, I have to add to the topic that the far majority of XOOPSers has shown 100% respect for the developers and love for XOOPS (or even love for the developers too, who knows ), there is always room for more happy XOOPSers and for more happy XOOPS developers.


Re: What does XOOPS need?
  • 2005/5/27 16:49

  • Coreace

  • Just popping in

  • Posts: 16

  • Since: 2003/8/26

Instead of taking pitty to yourself why not be more constructive? Everyone knows the hard work behind any development. If you are being abused and not so nice comments roaming - are you not adult enough to ignore these? Or read between the lines in all the whining and extract the positive out.

Re: What does XOOPS need?
  • 2005/5/27 16:56

  • davidl2

  • XOOPS is my life!

  • Posts: 4843

  • Since: 2003/5/26

Well said Hsalazar.

I'm a XOOPS user - I'm not always happy with things - but I'm not moaning to overworked people, but am instead trying to do my own little bit to help.

Re: What does XOOPS need?
  • 2005/5/27 17:02

  • solo71

  • Module Developer

  • Posts: 941

  • Since: 2003/1/29


Coreace wrote:
Instead of taking pitty to yourself why not be more constructive? Everyone knows the hard work behind any development. If you are being abused and not so nice comments roaming - are you not adult enough to ignore these? Or read between the lines in all the whining and extract the positive out.

Exactly the kind of comments "active Xoopsers" used to receive.

davidl2 wrote:
I'm a XOOPS user - I'm not always happy with things - but I'm not moaning to overworked people, but am instead trying to do my own little bit to help.

Exactly the kind of comments "active Xoopsers" would like to receive.

Re: What does XOOPS need?
  • 2005/5/27 17:03

  • hsalazar

  • Just popping in

  • Posts: 78

  • Since: 2003/2/6 1


I see you've missed my point. Maybe I wasn't clear enough. Am I whining? I guess a bit, yes. You might end up doing the same after spending more time here, though I'd hope not. Tell you what: it's not for me that I'm talking, it's for the few that are striving to take XOOPS ahead and have to meddle with thread after thread of very verbose stuff. Oh, yes, somebody should extract the meaning of the hundreds of messages posted here and there. Who? On the other hand, I do hope I'm adult enough to ignore most of these matters, as I haven't gone yet (though some would say I'm more in the moon than here, but that's another story). As you can see, I can still get the positive out of the negative. So I ask again: what area you doing for XOOPS? Me? Well, I'm rewriting Soapbox and Wordbook using classes so they're more efficient and more in line with the future development of this amazing tool. Want to lend a hand? You're certainly welcome, as is anybody willing to work a bit.


Re: What does XOOPS need?
  • 2005/5/27 18:46

  • MadFish

  • Friend of XOOPS

  • Posts: 1056

  • Since: 2003/9/27

Hi Horacio

Thank you so much for putting into words the thoughts that have been running through my head lately, much better than I ever could.

I've been pretty disappointed with a few of the threads lately taking an axe to Mithrandir, Herko and others. Particularly the accusations of XOOPS being a 'one man show' (the 'one man' alllegedly responsible for it all usually depending on who was weilding the axe at the time, and on more than a few well known and by now, fairly boring personal issues).

No, the system isn't perfect. It's a system run by a bunch of people who get *absolutely nothing at all* beyond the odd bit of kudos from anonymous people they will never meet over the internet. It's never going to be perfect, so get used to it.

If XOOPS is a 'one man show' - and pick your man or woman of choice - its because not enough members of the community are contributing.

Here's a solution. You don't like the way things are being run ? Excellent, there's some motivation. Get off your arse. Do something positive about it. Put in the hours. Contribute. Do something other than whine. Help the people that are trying to help you. And show a bit of gratitude (in Australia we would add a good natured but somewhat steely 'you bastards' here but in other parts of the world it is considered a bit culturally insensitive :)

Come on. You use XOOPS and pay nothing for it. What have you done to help out lately ? You want it to be better, make it better. It's a community project, and you are a member of the community.


Re: What does XOOPS need? - A newbies perspective
  • 2005/5/27 20:17

  • Nnemesis

  • Just popping in

  • Posts: 35

  • Since: 2005/5/12

For my own part, I'm well aware of the hard work, long hours and determination needed to stay focussed and dedicated to a project such as this. If I or many others haven't run around the forums high fiving the develeopers at every oportunity, it doesn't mean that we are not appreciative. Things would get pretty sickening around here if we did, lol.

Now as a newbie of a little over two weeks and therefore with no axe to grind with anyone, please allow me to express my impression of the program, this site and how the whole project seems to be rolling along....

The program itself is great. It's a little buggy in places and a little clumsy to use at times but as a project "in progress", this is only to be expected. In my humble opinion, it has the potential to be the best app of it's kind.

Though I realise that XOOPS is a free app, developed and run by volunteers, where the whole set up lets itself down badly is in it's "after sales" service. When u consider that the main reason alot of ppl would want to use an app such as this, is because we are not experts in things such as web building and programming so therefore want something such as XOOPS to make our lives easier, it should be obviousa that such ppl will need a fare bit of support and advice in it's use. Now baring this in mind, I ask you all to make a quick survey of the help forums and see just how many newbie questions go un-answered or just told to "go read the faq, read the faq, read the faq"

Someone in an earlier post quite rightly suggests that some of us put our money where our mouthes are and help out instead of just whining. That is all well and good and I for one am more than willing to help where I can but WE need to learn the ropes first ourselves and we can't do that when our questions and requests for help are ignored.

First impressions are very important but my own newbie experience with the help forums is not a happy one. If u scout around the boards you will see quite a number of occasions where a newbie has repeatedly asked for help and in the end has said "g'bye" due to frustration, which is a shame because this app has great potential.

I know after this post, I'm prolly going to get flamed to death but as a person on the outside looking in, I'm going to make a small suggestion here and you can do with it as you wish....

What this place desperately needs are ppl that are experienced with the prog that can spare time to REGULARLY patrol these boards with the mission of helping the many ppl that send up distress flares. This would kill two birds with one stone. It would keep the newbies from throwing in the towel prematurely and at the same time release the ppl actively working on the development to do their thing.

Please don't mistake this as a rant, a whine or a know-it-all just bustin ppl's chops for the sake of it. I'm just trying to answer the question that was asked in the original post from a newbie's perspective. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go put on my kevlar helmet and wait for the incoming.

Re: What does XOOPS need? - A newbies perspective

I don't consider it a rant, nor do I think you should be flamed for anything you say - but you are stating the obvious (most likely not intentionally but you are)
What this place desperately needs are ppl that are experienced with the prog that can spare time to REGULARLY patrol these boards with the mission of helping the many ppl that send up distress flares

Yep. Who? How do we find them? How do we get this done?

"Get someone to do it" is the easy solution

see just how many newbie questions go un-answered or just told to "go read the faq, read the faq, read the faq"

Have you also counted how many times the FAQ in question actually answers the question? I think you will find that it is also very often. Provided the replier links to the FAQ, of course - but I see (and do) that quite often, too.

If I or many others haven't run around the forums high fiving the develeopers at every oportunity

That is not what we are after - however, it would be nice with a bit of support when the axe is chopping away at our well-being. It would indeed be very sickening if everyone went around saying "marvellous" all the time, but I do find it annoying that we have to defend our actions all the time without those people, who are actually happy that we do those actions, chipping in - making the axe chop statements stand alone.


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