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#1 2006-07-03 17:21:31

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 2,348
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[wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

Update: Plugin Archive pages now exist. Run with it!

Update: Included a “Docs” column; meant to be used for not only author documentation but community drafted documentation as well. Could include examples of plugin use, screenshots, a list of other compatible plugins, and so forth. Use your imagination.

Update: Have improved on the tables to be more readable, and included zip files as uploadable wiki files to account for plugin packages. Have dropped the column for previous plugin versions since old plugins are useless (but not always) for the most part anyway. (Nevertheless, older file versions will still be archived in the wiki as new versions are loaded and can be found using a wiki search.)

<hr />

It’s been mentioned about the boards on many occasions over time that the current means for archiving plugins is…well…less than perfect. What I’m offering here is not an end-all solution but perhaps it might offer some immediate gains. One of the issues it aims to address is the issue of accessing plugins when a plugin authors Web site is offline, out of business, or what have you.

TextBook has the ability to allow whole file uploads for archival. In this case, we are talking about plugin text files. Hence, what I envision here is a special page or two in TextBook containing a simple table like the following:

(This table is outdated in design. See the actual plugin archives for the latest appearance.)

<table border=“1” bordercolor=”#e0e0e0”><tr bgcolor=”#e0deb6”><th>Name</th> <th>Author</th> <th>Description</th> <th colspan=“2”>Versions</th> <th>Thread</th> </tr><tr bgcolor=”#e0deb6”><td> ajw_clean_feed </td> <td> Andrew Waer </td> <td>Extends Atom & RSS functionality to allow for <strong>/clean/feed/urls</strong></td> <td bgcolor=”#e0e0e0”>0.2</td> <td>0.1</td> <td> 12789 </td></tr> <tr bgcolor=”#efeeda”><td> ajw_comment_alt </td> <td> Andrew Waer </td> <td>Alternates output based on even- or odd-numbered comments.</td> <td bgcolor=”#e0e0e0”>0.3</td> <td>0.2, 0.1</td> <td>etc</td></tr> <tr bgcolor=”#e0deb6”><td>etc</td> <td>etc</td> <td>etc</td> <td bgcolor=”#e0e0e0”>etc</td> <td>etc</td> <td>etc</td></tr></table>

(only using Andrew here as example)

Each of the version numbers would be links to the archived text files uploaded to TextBook’s file archive. The gray [ED. now orange] shaded column would be the current version, and the others would be previous releases (hence, the archival) [ED. column was dropped]. The table above is shown to be alphabetical order by name of plugin, which also has the benefit of keeping plugins together by author, but you could also do a table that listed plugins by purpose; for example the table would have subsection breaks indicating whatever the topic purpose was (e.g., navigation, photos, syndication, administration, and on and on). Alternatively, a separate table could be made for each purpose, which might be better for page management reasons (though some tables might be just a single row or two). [ED. Done]

Ideally, these tables would be the products of a logical search against a database that allowed various manners of plugin search output. In the meantime, however, these static tables might be a good step forward. And again, being that the files are archived at textpattern.net, it’s a good chance that these plugin files will always be available, even if the original plugin authors site is not.

I guess it wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and try anyway. I could get the tables started, and then everyone else could give them attention, and fill them in over time. Of course another objective would be to keep them more current than any other plugin resource available — that would be monumental in itself.

Other table fields to add? (keep it simple)

Last edited by Destry (2006-07-04 13:37:57)

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#2 2006-07-03 18:32:13

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 2,348
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Re: [wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

With respect to a link to the author’s site, the plugin name links there already, in fact directly to the author’s plugin write-up, does a link need to be more explicit than that? As for documentation, I thought about that, but correct me if I’m wrong…isn’t documentation written into the plugin? If that isn’t sufficient (and it really might not be) we would have to archive the documentation too, and that might be better served as simply a wiki page where people could improve on the docs anyway (hey, there’s an idea). OK, consider a docs column added.

I’m starting the page now in TextBook. I need to do some styling and setup the file upload feature to accept .txt, but it will be ready soon. I’ll give a shout.

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#3 2006-07-03 21:16:09

squaredeye
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From: Greenville, SC
Registered: 2005-07-31
Posts: 1,495
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Re: [wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

Great idea Destry,
You’re on the ball man.
It would be a good resource for plugin writers too, as they might like to learn from one another’s code?

Thanks man.


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#4 2006-07-03 23:26:23

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 2,348
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Re: [wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

OK, 5-1/2 hours later, it’s all setup and ready to go: Plugin Archive.

Maintaining such a table in the wiki requires a bit of attention, so I’ve made some detailed instructions for helping out. I’ve also configured the wiki to accept .txt files now, and set up the first entry in the table exactly as the instructions describe. All works. I hope this will find some traction.

I am not the maintainer of this table. You all are. I’ve simply got it set up. It could be a great resource if people fill it up, at which point maintaining it will be pretty easy. Obviously, plugin authors are encouraged to step in here and lend a hand.

Andrew: Didn’t mean to pick on you as an example, but it was convenient. If it bothers you, feel free to remove your file (hope not though, as we need a pace-setter).

Last edited by Destry (2006-07-03 23:27:22)

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#5 2006-07-04 00:03:57

hcgtv
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From: Charlotte, NC
Registered: 2005-11-29
Posts: 2,154
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Re: [wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

Nice initiative, how about the table on it’s own page with the instructions on the front page?

This way if someone wants to take the plugins and group them differently, they can just copy the page and create a new page with their creation.

As for who adds plugins, do we have to contact the author or do we just go for it?


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#6 2006-07-04 07:15:37

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 2,348
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Re: [wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

hcgtv wrote:

Nice initiative, how about the table on it’s own page with the instructions on the front page?

Yes, I was thinking that myself. Will do.

As for who adds plugins, do we have to contact the author or do we just go for it?

Anyone with a TextBook account should be adding entries; guess that wasn’t clear enough in the first paragraph of the wiki instructions? Plugin authors shouldn’t have a problem with this table (as far as I can see), because the table is setup to point directly to the developer’s web site; it’s another feather in their Google rankings if nothing else. Point being that plugin authors should not mind if other folks add their plugins to the table.

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#7 2006-07-05 19:21:11

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 2,348
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Re: [wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

Made a number of updates to the plugin archives:

  • Improved readability of table cells.
  • Configured TextBook to allow for .zip uploads as well as .txt uploads, since plugins are sometimes distributed as packages.
  • Want to point out that the “documentation” field is not just for the plugin author’s documentation (but can certainly include that), but is for any kind of community generated docs for the plugin as well. For instance: examples of plugin use, screenshots, links to sites where things are working, whatever.
  • Got the ball rolling on the plugins by topic group tables to make things easier for folks. Only need to copy and paste if a new group table is needed. Best practice would be to first add a new plugin row in the alphabetical table, then copy the new row and paste it into the relevant group table, and change the row color as needed. Simple really.

These tables are a nice easy-to-read bridge between the author’s Web site, the forum where the plugin is discussed, and TextBook where the plugins are archived for safekeeping and permanent access. Just today I was trying to download Bastian’s bas_flvplayer plugin from the forum but every link he had in the thread was outdated and broken. After tracking his site down and navigating it (nice site by the way, Bastian), I finally found the new path to this plugin’s page. This is a good example of showing where the forum is not well suited for this archiving business, becausing only the post’s author can edit the post, and if he/she isn’t around, then you have to wait for an admin or whatever. Never a problem in the wiki; now the whole community can police the tables and keep them current. Sweet.

Having said all that, I’m hoping people will take it upon themselves to move forward on their own. I’ve done a lot of groundwork here and I certainly won’t be managing these by myself. Building up the tables won’t take much if many people add a row or two on their own. Once completed, maintaining them will be no more difficult than maintaining a forum thread, which as I’ve pointed out is not the best venue for archiving plugins because we have no control over the author’s post, nor their Website (should it be offline).

Last edited by Destry (2006-07-05 19:28:02)

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#8 2006-07-06 02:54:07

swf
Plugin Author
From: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: 2004-06-21
Posts: 109
Website

Re: [wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

Nice work, your a definite asset to the textpattern community. I’ll have to add my few plugins when I get a chance.

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#9 2006-07-08 09:53:54

Destry
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From: Strasbourg, France
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 2,348
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Re: [wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

Made a couple more minor improvements (I hope) to the tables:

  1. Changed “edit” link to “man” (man=manage). I think the label “edit” was a bit misleading. What this link really goes to is a wiki page where you can manage a particular version file. I didn’t know — nor could find — the proper shorthand form of the word “manage” so man it turned out to be.
  2. Also cropped the header “Documentation” to just “Docs” for lateral space saving.

@Inspired: Thanks for converting one of the tables to wiki syntax. Actually, the only reason I didn’t go that way to begin with is because so many people over TextBook’s history have complained about wiki syntax being so difficult. Personally I don’t think it’s any more difficult than Textile, but the complaints were there nevertheless. I figured I’d go with regular HTML tables because most people could/would work with that and not be put off as much. I don’t want to put people off, I think this archive has a lot of potential when it gets fuller.

As for your name in the table — Yuriy “Yura” — I wrote it like that because your Website’s about section gives “Yuriy” while you’re referred to in the boards (besides Inspired) as “Yura”, so I was just covering bases. You might just edit the tables to what you prefer.

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#10 2006-07-10 18:48:13

Inspired
Plugin Author
From: Kiev, Ukraine
Registered: 2005-01-28
Posts: 87
Website

Re: [wiki] Testing 1, 2, 3...Plugin Archive in TextBook?

Thanks Destry.
To me it looks somewhat messy with html code, though i’m an html coder myself. Still with wiki formatting it looks more neat and actually like a list. I don’t think it should be any problem for anyone, it may take a while to figure out how to imitate a certain kind of a table with wiki formatting, but adding a row is plain obvious.

As for my name “Yuriy” and “Yura” is the same. “Yuriy” sound more official, like in a passport, while “Yura” is more a generall address. Our language also allows dozens of variations that all have their own tinge: Yurchik, Yurik, Yurko, Yurochka, Yurasik …… :) oh, this goes offtopic, forget.


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