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frankl

Revamp the Addons Area

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From the perspective of a shop owner, for ease of use a couple of things would need to be incorporated into the osCommerce addon ecosphere.

 

Something that should be added in addons is version control.

 

i.e. "This addon will work with osCommerce 2.3.3 and 2.3.4"

 

If the core is updated, the addon will warn that it may not be compatible with this version of osCommerce

 

If the addon is updated to work with a new version of osCommerce, and you have updated your core files, an update button will appear in the "Addon" list in your admin (if there ever will be an addon list page similar to Wordpress plugins page).

 

The proposed addon store will enable granular search by osCommerce version so you can search only for addons that work with the version of osCommerce you use.

 

There should also be dependencies. If someone writes an addon to an addon - (i.e. an addon that displays only USPS shipping costs on the shopping cart page) then it would need to check to see if the relevant head addon (i.e. USPS shipping module) was installed, and if not asks you if you want it installed, before it installed itself.


Let's make things easier for new osCommerce users http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/402638-discussion-about-hard-coded-database-tables/?p=1718900  Getting there with osCommerce 2.4! :thumbsup:

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@@frankl  Who's going to test all of those addons to see which ones are working with each new release? I barely have the time to support all that I do. Any more work and I'll have to drop something.

 

And that's just for the addons that are still actively supported. What about all of the addons that the creator has stopped supporting, or has never supported? Are you volunteering?

 

Regards

Jim


See my profile for a list of my addons and ways to get support.

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@@frankl  Who's going to test all of those addons to see which ones are working with each new release? I barely have the time to support all that I do. Any more work and I'll have to drop something.

 

And that's just for the addons that are still actively supported. What about all of the addons that the creator has stopped supporting, or has never supported? Are you volunteering?

 

Regards

Jim

 

Hey Jim, I was thinking along the lines of how Wordpress does it.

 

Firstly, they have standards to which a plugin must be written https://codex.wordpress.org/Writing_a_Plugin

 

Next, anybody can upload a plugin to the Wordpress plugin site. They have a great page describing the process https://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_Submission_and_Promotion

Developers self certify their plugin to work with particular versions.

 

I don't think anyone tests the plugins, however a smart plugin developer will make sure development is robust, and the ratings, comments, forums and number of active installations ensure that only well coded, useful and stable plugins gain any traction.

 

Note too that the Worpress plugin site has an option to mark plugins as "unsupported". 

 

Naturally paid addons for osCommerce which developers host on their own site would be treated entirely differently.


Let's make things easier for new osCommerce users http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/402638-discussion-about-hard-coded-database-tables/?p=1718900  Getting there with osCommerce 2.4! :thumbsup:

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osCommerce has standards for writing an addon. Anybody can upload an osCommerce addon. How is Wordpress different?

 

So you just take the developer's word for it? That's what osCommerce has now. If nobody tests, not even the developer, how do you know if it was or wasn't tested? How do you know that it works at all? How is Wordpress different? I'm not seeing it.

 

I develop on the target version of osC, then load the files into a fresh install and test everything with error reporting set to ALL. How many addons have this level of testing? I also write a User's Manual with full install instructions and explanations of the error messages. How many do this? Yet all of those addons look exactly the same from the download page. Wordpress has the same problem as far as I can see.

 

Regards

Jim


See my profile for a list of my addons and ways to get support.

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osCommerce has standards for writing an addon. Anybody can upload an osCommerce addon. How is Wordpress different?

 

So you just take the developer's word for it? That's what osCommerce has now. If nobody tests, not even the developer, how do you know if it was or wasn't tested? How do you know that it works at all? How is Wordpress different? I'm not seeing it.

 

I develop on the target version of osC, then load the files into a fresh install and test everything with error reporting set to ALL. How many addons have this level of testing? I also write a User's Manual with full install instructions and explanations of the error messages. How many do this? Yet all of those addons look exactly the same from the download page. Wordpress has the same problem as far as I can see.

 

Regards

Jim

 

I'm not disagreeing with you. 

 

What I'm talking about is an inbuilt tag which osCommerce would read to show the minimum version of osCommerce that the addon will work with (similar to the requires tag that Wordpress has in their JSON Plugin Update Checker API https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1eOBbW7Go2qEQXReOOCdidMTf_tDYRq4JfegcO1CBPIs/pub?authkey=CK7h9toK&hl=en&single=true&gid=0&output=html).

 

If you look at the Wordpress Plugins directory you can see at a glance which plugins work with which versions of Wordpress. Clicking on the first one https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache/ shows 

 

Requires: 3.0 or higher

Compatible up to: 4.2.2

Last Updated: 2015-5-15

Active Installs: 1+ Million

 

So you can see how far backwards compatible it is, if it works with the latest version, when it was last updated and how many installs.

 

Looking at a less popular one https://wordpress.org/plugins/og/

 

Requires: 3.3 or higher

Compatible up to: 4.0.5

Last Updated: 2014-12-11

Active Installs: 300+

 

Shows you it's out of date and hasn't been updated in a while (although you could try installing it to see if it works OK, if it breaks your Wordpress no problem because you can just uninstall it)

 

Now look carefully at those pages. The reviews tell a story. The information in the support tab tells a story. The information at the bottom of the right hand column under authors, support and compatibility headings tell a story.

 

If you are an addon author who codes well, provides helpful support, writes documentation and is trusted you will have no problem. Where is the difficulty in adding a tag that shows The lowest version of osCommerce that the plugin will work on and another that indicates The highest version that you've successfully used to test the plugin. No brainer.

 

It requires no more work than you are doing now. 


Let's make things easier for new osCommerce users http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/402638-discussion-about-hard-coded-database-tables/?p=1718900  Getting there with osCommerce 2.4! :thumbsup:

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Looking at the osCommerce addons directory, I can instantly tell which version each addon will work with. The major and minor revision numbers are right below the name of the addon. In osCommerce, anything that says v2.3 should work with any version from 2.3.0 to 2.3.4 and beyond. Anything that says 2.2 will not, or will require a lot of extra work. You don't need a fancy maximum and minimum, just the first two digits.

 

Click on the name of an addon and then click on the history tab. That will tell you the last update, and quite a bit about previous updates. You can get a lot of information about the quality of an addon by reading the last few entries in the history.

 

The osCommerce addons page may not be very pretty, but all of that information is right there for you to use.

 

Reviews and Number of Downloads might tell a story, but they may not tell one I want to read. The addon that is essential for my little store might just be one that has very few updates, very few downloads, and no reviews, just because it's a niche product that only a very few people would want. Popularity contests are great if it's something that everyone wants, but they end up pushing some really interesting stuff to the bottom of the list, just because it's not of interest to the majority. I've written addons in both groups, and it's sometimes hard to tell which way they'll go until they've been out there a while.

 

Regards

Jim


See my profile for a list of my addons and ways to get support.

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Looking at the osCommerce addons directory

 

Exactly. In Wordpress you look at the plugins page on your site to see what needs updating (or not). It even gives you a warning if your plugins are out of date. If you search for new plugins to add, from the plugins page on your site, each is clearly marked to show whether they are compatible with the version of Wordpress you have installed or not.

 

All done from the admin on your own site. That's because those version tags are in the file. No need to check the osCommerce addons directory to see if there are updates or not. To make osCommerce popular things should be easy, and installing and updating addons should be easy.

 

The system osCommerce has now for addons requires technical knowledge. Get rid of that. Make addons one click install/update/uninstall. Imagine the vast increase in installs of osCommerce if addons were that easy. Need to get rid of the old thinking. 


Let's make things easier for new osCommerce users http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/402638-discussion-about-hard-coded-database-tables/?p=1718900  Getting there with osCommerce 2.4! :thumbsup:

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I don't see where having that page be a part of the store admin is such a great advantage. Making the page easier to read would do more good.

 

Making addons easier to install is a very good idea. I've been working on modular installs since v2.3 made those possible, so I completely agree with that idea. Now to get everybody else to coding modular addons.

 

Regards

Jim


See my profile for a list of my addons and ways to get support.

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Others created a new addon and kept it updated, but we still get the occasional user who installs the obsolete (locked) version and then complains in the forum that they installed the "latest" version and it doesn't work. This creates a lot of additional support headaches and wasted effort.

 

The fix for this would be a mechanism that allows somebody else to take over ownership if the original owner does not respond. I don't see this ever happening, so the problem remains.

 

If the new Addon Maker, PM'd a Moderator with suitable powers, that Moderator could update the description of the obsolete Addon with some text and a link to the new Addon URL...


This is a signature that appears on all my posts.  
IF YOU MAKE A POST REQUESTING HELP...please state the exact version
of osCommerce that you are using. THANKS

 
Get the latest current code (community-supported responsive 2.3.4.1BS Edge) here

 

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Thanks @@burt. Now we know who to ask when these issues come up. :thumbsup:

 

Regards

Jim


See my profile for a list of my addons and ways to get support.

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