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#1 2015-07-19 21:57:16

wavesource
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2011-08-02
Posts: 56

TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

Hi all – related to the efforts and discussions going on over at the promotion activity thread here

I would like to open for discussion a simple plugin skill rating categorisation system for the TXP.org plugins.

The aim of such a system would be to show a simple hierarchy of 3 tags, easily visible, that flag to users what sort of skills or familiarity with TXP they should be expected to have to use the plugin well across all its functions. Plugins can attract more than one skill rating if they have a range of implementations.

Providing a simple hierarchy of user skill categories assists users in assessing whether their skills are up to the task at hand before downloading and installing a plugin. I am most concerned about new users needing a certain functionality, seeing that a complex plugin provides it, downloads it then reads the Help and just gets disheartened. So I would prefer to flag to them the skills required so they can think about it first before they grab and run.

Ideally, in my imagination, links from the TXP.org site would lead as well to the http://txptips.com for the associated plugin, as this is exactly the resource needed to lift engagement, and I never knew it existed until someone mentioned it in the above thread the other day. Seriously, this is great content, and I would be assisting shovelling more stuff into this site. Why this site is not linked to individually and more prominently from the TXP.com and TXP.org sites is beyond me, and I would love to see categories created per plugin name so that we could throw a link from TXP.org that pulls up that plugin category, eg. http://txptips.com/category/smd_query/ for as long as that plugin was not in archived status. Yes, I know we can use the search query URL but I think that substantial and important plugins at least deserve their own category. Again, I would imagine throwing up several usage cases on the tips site to assist usage. And of course, the category in the tips site could be backlinked to the forum thread so people who really want to get stuck in can join the discussion and ask questions.

Extra categories/tags are:

  • Safe – plugins in these categories simply extend TXP core functions in ways that do not expose the system to exploits and injection etc. if not used safely. In other words, these plugins just add new tags to the system that work simply and generally perform relatively simple operations, plus are installed soley through the plugin section without extra resources – I am not sure if there are many that are like this, as TXP development seems to advance regularly to incorporate functions older plugins were developed to provide
  • Extended – plugins as above, but require the ability to manage extra forms and so forth, or the upload of additional assets so require the ability to manipulate tags in forms, and/or access to the host
  • Advanced – all those really interesting (not in the Chinese sense, but they might be if misused) plugins like etc_query, smd_query that really require understanding and proficiency of other programming languages and the logical constructs of same. These plugins also can expose the TXP system to all sorts of havoc if not used with requisite understanding of sanitisation and general safe practices.

I would probably also put forward a colour system for these tags and that they be grouped/positioned separately from standard categorisation tags so that their purpose/function is clearly marked to users.

Cheers

David

Last edited by wavesource (2015-07-19 21:59:27)

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#2 2015-07-20 07:58:18

jstubbs
Moderator
From: Hong Kong
Registered: 2004-12-13
Posts: 2,395
Website

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

Hi David, nice idea for a ratings system for new users, and glad you like the TXP Tips site.

We probably need to update some of the content as it may be out if date, but your idea of a category for each plugin is very good. We can do that I think, and it may be helpful for users. Only drawback is that currently, Textpattern supports but 2 categories at a time.

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#3 2015-07-20 12:49:26

etc
Developer
Registered: 2010-11-11
Posts: 4,707
Website GitHub

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

I truly appreciate any TXP promotional effort, but this “three-color” system can be misleading. How will you establish such a rating? Say, most users seem to consider etc_query as advanced and demanding plugin, so you tag it in bold red. On the other hand, a plugin like adi_calc is likely to be rated “green”, since it only does arithmetic calculations and variable assignments.

Now suppose that a new user needs to output There are 604800 seconds in a week. He will probably prefer adi_calc to etc_query, and tape

There are <txp:adi_calc value='<txp:adi_calc value=''<txp:adi_calc value="7" multiply="24" />'' multiply="60" />' multiply="60" /> seconds in a week.

How is this more basic than

There are <txp:etc_query query="7*24*60*60" /> seconds in a week?

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#4 2015-07-20 21:32:20

wavesource
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2011-08-02
Posts: 56

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

I personally wouldn’t use red, by the way. I’d use purple – the colour of royalty. :-)

Again, possibly a plugin can reside in more than one category. But perhaps this is off the table as you seem to stick to pure TXP installations with just 2 cats, whereas rss_unlimited_categories provides the sort of functionality this would require that was in my thinking.

Such a proprosed rating system would be to assist new users with little direct programming experience. I would expect code professionals to ignore it as the benefits and flexibility of TXP are self evident, as are the value of plugins such as etc_query.

Frankly, perhaps we should just stay away from this concept as I think we’ll have 10 people discussing it and come out with 30 opinions. And I’m not sure if TXP needs to stoop – which was my turnaround this morning.

I’m think focusing on TXP tips of usage cases for plugins and tags would be much better, as this answers my core question which was, how to bring working examples of specific up out of the morass of forum threads so that new users can access them?

jstubbs: may I ask what prompted you to develop TXPtips where TXP.org offers a similarly focused, albeit less aesthetically appealing section?

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#5 2015-07-20 21:38:31

gomedia
Plugin Author
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 1,372
Website

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

wavesource wrote #293505:

Safe – plugins in these categories simply extend TXP core functions in ways that do not expose the system to exploits and injection etc. if not used safely.

Even Apple in their App Store can’t police this sort of thing, so I’m not sure how the TXP community could either.

Perhaps the best we could aim for is to filter out all the old plugins whose functionality has been superseded by later ones or by the core.

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#6 2015-07-20 22:05:20

etc
Developer
Registered: 2010-11-11
Posts: 4,707
Website GitHub

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

wavesource wrote #293559:

I’m think focusing on TXP tips of usage cases for plugins and tags would be much better, as this answers my core question which was, how to bring working examples of specific up out of the morass of forum threads so that new users can access them?

jstubbs: may I ask what prompted you to develop TXPtips where TXP.org offers a similarly focused, albeit less aesthetically appealing section?

Few months ago we discussed an idea to abuse Pete’s demo site, leaving users the possibility to test and tweak proposed TXPTips solutions. Unfortunately, Pete agreed, and the idea sank in depths of todo list, but if we are many to support it, maybe it can take shape…

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#7 2015-07-20 22:11:30

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 10,795
Website GitHub

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

While we’re on this topic, I might as well publicly share the original end game I had for the .org site about five years ago. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice a link to the in-development site nestling in the text so feel free to poke around and you’ll see how far I got.

Whether any of this document is still relevant in today’s distributed git world is debatable. I think it is (if only for a place to cache .txt plugin code in case an author’s site or Github goes south), but I’m old skool, so please have that debate somewhere. And if reading this or trying out the fledgling site — developed using the old .com template so apologies for that — makes you want to help out then please please please raise your digital paw. I would love for a few people to champion this and make something happen where I’ve failed.

So without any further waffle, here’s the textpattern.org vision circa five years ago. Digest. Dissect. Do something about it.

EDIT: Oh, and in relation to the actual OP, I’m with etc here, sorry. A traffic light system is too broad and subjective to be a suitable indicator of complexity. But there must be some system out there that can help (one possible system I dubbed The Compatibility Matrix is in the doc above) and I’m keen to find a workable solution.

Last edited by Bloke (2015-07-20 22:14:31)


The smd plugin menagerie — for when you need one more gribble of power from Textpattern. Bleeding-edge code available on GitHub.

Txp Builders – finely-crafted code, design and Txp

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#8 2015-07-20 23:47:17

maruchan
Member
From: Ukiah, California
Registered: 2010-06-12
Posts: 589
Website

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

Bloke wrote #293564:

http://textpattern.org/trv3/plugins/smd_prefalizer

That’s pretty freakin’ awesome, Stef!

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#9 2015-07-21 00:00:00

jstubbs
Moderator
From: Hong Kong
Registered: 2004-12-13
Posts: 2,395
Website

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

wavesource wrote #293559:

jstubbs: may I ask what prompted you to develop TXPtips where TXP.org offers a similarly focused, albeit less aesthetically appealing section?

TXP.org was supposed to be the plugins repository, not a place for tutorials. And from memory, most of the tips were quite old and never updated. I wanted a dedicated site to store tips and tutorials for Textpattern, as many great tips can get lost in the forums. In fact its still an issue – some users post great tips on the forums but not to TXP Tips itself.

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#10 2015-07-21 09:24:15

etc
Developer
Registered: 2010-11-11
Posts: 4,707
Website GitHub

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

gomedia wrote #293560:

Perhaps the best we could aim for is to filter out all the old plugins whose functionality has been superseded by later ones or by the core.

That’s tricky too. Say, etz_striptags is totally superseded by rah_function, but removing it would yield rewriting few txptips.

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#11 2015-07-21 09:51:16

etc
Developer
Registered: 2010-11-11
Posts: 4,707
Website GitHub

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

jstubbs wrote #293567:

TXP.org was supposed to be the plugins repository, not a place for tutorials. And from memory, most of the tips were quite old and never updated.

True, and it’s probably time to revise old txptips, some of them look fairly outdated.

I wanted a dedicated site to store tips and tutorials for Textpattern, as many great tips can get lost in the forums. In fact its still an issue – some users post great tips on the forums but not to TXP Tips itself.

Like here? :) But we don’t know which way Stacey has taken, and I haven’t tried rah_repeat neither adi_list solutions…

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#12 2015-07-21 11:18:05

jstubbs
Moderator
From: Hong Kong
Registered: 2004-12-13
Posts: 2,395
Website

Re: TXP.org proprosal - plugin skill ratings

Hi Oleg, you are right, the content on TXP Tips needs auditing for current relevance, starting from back to front. I would take out the old, out of date tutorials and tips. However, we still rely on community users to post their own ideas to the site. As you say, a small number of site curators will not necessarily have the knowledge of all plugins or methods.

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