Contributing Together

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time poking others’ projects. Since I have more time than I had while working full-time for an employer, I’m polishing more of my snippets and I’ve been busy with small enhancements that couldn’t find a place in my long list before.

Additionally, I find myself sending more pull request than before and requesting from plugin authors to clone their WordPress.org project to GitHub as well for collaboration:

As a developer, I’m tempted by reinventing the wheel and releasing something on my own. But I try to be practical and I often browse for plugins doing the same at the repository. I have to admit – I’ve done it myself too (especially when I need a small bit of code that exists in large plugins and I don’t want to add all the codebase I’ll never use for that small snippet). Naturally, I tend to code everything in plugins and adding nothing in themes.

While sending a few patches to the WP-Benchmark plugin, I found an issue by Frank here called “Alternative plugin” where he says:

Maybe you will develop on this plugin: https://github.com/bueltge/Debug-Objects
have your solutions inside the plugin, but much more and maybe it is easier for you that you use or contribute the plugin.
Thanks for the time.

It’s amazing when community members try to collaborate with each other. And it should happen more often – whilst some plugins have different UX and feature sets, it’s really annoying while looking for a Lightbox plugin (or Otto’s favorite Slider example) and browsing through dozens of plugins doing almost the same.

While this would make sense for larger platforms such as eCommerce and job boards, smaller snippets and feature sets such as a Lightbox plugin could definitely be merged into a single, co-collaborated plugin. There are more than 10 lightbox plugins now, there could easily be a collaboration effort where some of the authors agree to shake hands and work on a single plugin instead of 4 or 5 with the same flow and functionality.

Support and maintenance would be distributed, shared and improved, and the overall user experience should be better.

I might get picky on UX at times, but I still prefer to choose between 3 or 4 plugins doing the same instead of 15, trying to figure out which one is the best and spending hours in research.

7 thoughts on “Contributing Together

  1. Thanks for this post and the hint to my issue.
    Github is the greatest social network for me – I can learn from each other developers, can fork and pull request my improvements to other projects. I do this often and I like this to contribute. THis create a faster development on the product and also often a better quality. Also it is very nice to see for the developers, that other people use the source and not only copy/paste and “redesign” the source. I always like to invite you to participate and I’m happy about every part close, since often lack the time for care and support.

    Best.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Frank! I share your sentiment on GitHub. I’ve been working with random developers across the world over the years and now I’m filtering them by their Open Source presence. I have never understood the CV idea with education section and we are also using GitHub during my training sessions with beginner developers to start with best practices (version control and Open Source) from day 1.

      I could take a look at your plugin as well, there are too many debugging plugins already and I’m not sure what’s the best place to “settle” for now as I didn’t have the time to carefully investigate all of them.

      1. The important and most useful debugging plugin is Debug Objects – old, long time o use, maintenanced. The other debug plugins are often tests or helper. Debug Objects is always on my dev installs and I use it on different problems, identify problems on customer or learn and traini on WordPress. The plugin have also solution to understand hooks, conditional tags and more. But have also solution for identify problems, bottlenecks on queries, specifically from plugins.

        But I love also to find devs, there help on the plugins WP Maintenance Mode and Adminimize, amazing support job on wp.org. I list often the ideas, problems as issues. Only on Adminimize I will create a new redesign. There is with old source, hard for maintenance and improvements. This plugin was small and a useful helper, but the community have so much ideas and today I have a plugin with much solutions, but bad source.

  2. Mario, I’ve been eager to put out a few of my plugins onto GitHub. How do you recommend is the best way to go about this?

    I’ve been searching for some good tuts on this, but the idea would be to first put a plugin on GitHub, receive updates to codes from users, if any and then sync it back to WordPress repository.

    1. Hey Ajay, thanks for your comment. I think I’ll pull a list of valuable resources on the subject and post it tomorrow (I have some notes and bookmarked lists that I could simply outline for others to use as well 🙂 )

Your thoughts?