Jump to content
  • Checkout
  • Login
  • Get in touch

osCommerce

The e-commerce.

The Pain of Contribution Modifications


JayDub

Recommended Posts

I have a test site that should be going into production shortly. I've had to make many modifications from the base code, most of it user contributions. Now I'm pretty good with an editor, but I've found it to be very time consuming to do some of these mods.

 

First a couple of suggestions.

 

1) To contribute a mod to phpbb, the modification instructions have to be in a specific format before it will be approved for inclusion on the site. They even have an online mod validator. See http://www.phpbb.com/mods/

 

On oscommerce, there is no such standard, making it sometimes difficult to follow instructions. Would be nice to enforce a contribution standard.

 

2) When looking at a particular contribution, it is sometimes vague as to which download to grab. If a bug fix was made to a contrib, why is the old buggy version still there - sometimes two years later? Check out the Coupon contrib and tell me that this isn't confusing: http://www.oscommerce.com/community/contributions,282 (there's even a posting there because someone couldn't figure out what to download!) The latest, complete contrib should always be available and it should clearly stand out from the other downloads on the page.

 

Finally, related questions.

 

There are a lot of very smart programmers that frequent these pages. Does anyone have any tricks for updating and maintaining osc code? After getting a site just how you like it, how would you go about creating a similar site without all of the modification pain? I haven't had to use a CVS-like code repository before, but is this an appropriate use for it?

 

And thanks all for your hard work in creating a quality product!

 

JayDub

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There already guidlines for the contributions, they just are not being followed. I believe that John has offered to help admin them but I have no idea if there is any plans to take him up on his offere or not.

 

Once you have a store setup like you want it with all your contributions etc, the best thing to do is copy it to another location and then remove all product related info. You now have a setup that you can use for any new store that you want to setup.

The Knowledge Base is a wonderful thing.

Do you have a problem? Have you checked out Common Problems?

There are many very useful osC Contributions

Are you having trouble with a installed contribution? Have you checked out the support thread found Here

BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!!! You did backup, right??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a followup, I just found this on phpbb: EasyMOD. http://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB22/viewtopic.php?t=15391

 

It's an automatic MOD installer. This type of utility is sorely needed here. Seems like it would be of great benefit to adopt the phpbb MOD format and collaborate on enhancing EasyMOD. Who are the oscommerce "powers that be" that could make such a decision?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hopefully the pain of contribution installation will ease during the MS-4 release cycle as we will be integrating the most popular contributions into the core code base.

Mark Evans

osCommerce Monkey & Lead Guitarist for "Sparky + the Monkeys" (Album on sale in all good record shops)

 

---------------------------------------

Software is like sex: It's better when it's free. (Linus Torvalds)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After getting a site just how you like it, how would you go about creating a similar site without all of the modification pain?

 

Copy the files and database to your new webhost, edit CSS/images as necessary. Instant new website.

 

I haven't had to use a CVS-like code repository before, but is this an appropriate use for it?

Yup. :) I wish I'd started using before I made this many mods . . . I plan to do so when I start using MS3 / MS4.

 

As a followup, I just found this on phpbb: EasyMOD. http://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB22/viewtopic.php?t=15391

 

It's an automatic MOD installer. This type of utility is sorely needed here. Seems like it would be of great benefit to adopt the phpbb MOD format and collaborate on enhancing EasyMOD. Who are the oscommerce "powers that be" that could make such a decision?

 

There are already a few other threads on exactly this topic. Typically goes something like this:

New Person: This should be done. Why isn't it done already?

Experienced Person: Because it's not really feasible with the current code and contribs.

New Person: What a cop-out. It can't be that hard. I'm going to do it this weekend. You'll see.

Experienced Person: Ok.

<the new person never posts anything else in the topic, and we're all left not-really-wondering-how-the-weekend-went >

 

Positive idea, but not going to happen with MS2. We'll see what we can come up with once MS3 is out. Just don't ask when it's coming out. Nobody knows. Including the developers. Really.

 

-jared

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hopefully the pain of contribution installation will ease during the MS-4 release cycle as we will be integrating the most popular contributions into the core code base.

 

This will help, but it won't be enough. Contributions will remain popular, if only to keep up with every-changing tax regulations and other things that shop owner have to comply with.

 

One thing that I most definitely would like to see is a semi-automated contribution installation process, along the following lines (Contributor, Editor etc. are just roles, they may be the same person or different):

 

* Contributor runs a GNU diff of his modifications against a pre-modification source tree. This gives a "patch file".

 

* Editor uses GNU patch to apply the diff to an unmodified source tree; if this gives error messages, the patch isn't accepted for publication.

 

* Publisher enters patch into the "contribs" area.

 

GNU diff and patch are easy to install on Unix.

There's also a native port to Windows, so installing them on Windows should not be a serious problem.

 

Note that the diff-patch technique is just an automated way of saying "in file <filename>, near line <linenumber>, find the line that reads <linetext> and delete it / replace it with <newlinetext> / add <newlinetext> before/after it". Patches can be incompatible (lines needed to find the place to patch were removed/altered by another patch), but the nice thing is that you'll get an error message in that case, changes applied as far as possible and incompatible changes listed in a log file so you can check things manually. (You shouldn't apply patches to a production system, so it's OK to have a half-applied patch *ggg*.)

 

 

One thing I'd like changed in the code base is much, much more wrapping. Some lines are ridiculously long, and since patch and diff work on a per-line basis, long lines increase the likelihood of a conflict.

 

Willing to help getting this into place as time permits (which, admittedly, isn't very much help).

 

Just my 2c.

Jo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that most contributions come about as users of osCommerce decide they want something on their store that has not been created before.

 

Thus, they are not all made by professionals and as such, the commuity should be thankful to each and every person who has uploaded a contribution, no matter what state (ie complete, incomplete, etc etc) it is in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that most contributions come about as users of osCommerce decide they want something on their store that has not been created before.

 

Thus, they are not all made by professionals and as such, the commuity should be thankful to each and every person who has uploaded a contribution, no matter what state (ie complete, incomplete, etc etc) it is in.

 

I have to agree with that. For me and probably for most users the largest problem with the contribution section is the updates and fixes. You see a lot of partial uploads being used instead of the complete contribution with the fix applied so when looking at the contribution you may not be sure what what file to upload and use. This is probably more true for a lot of the new users of osC.

 

You see a lot of users installing a contribution and killing a live store ( most of them new ot osC) because they do not realize that all contributions are not written by professionals. Maybe adding some kind of warning on the main contribution page would help.

Maybe something like

 

"Contributions are provided by our members and may not be bug free. Before adding a contribution to your live store you should check the support thread for that contribution for any issues and install it on a test site to make sure it will be compatable with your store and the other contributions you already have installed. "

 

Just a thought but I can see a warning like that being useful to members who are not really aware of the dangers.

The Knowledge Base is a wonderful thing.

Do you have a problem? Have you checked out Common Problems?

There are many very useful osC Contributions

Are you having trouble with a installed contribution? Have you checked out the support thread found Here

BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!!! You did backup, right??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe adding some kind of warning on the main contribution page would help.

Maybe something like

 

"Contributions are provided by our members and may not be bug free. Before adding a contribution to your live store you should check the support thread for that contribution for any issues and install it on a test site to make sure it will be compatable with your store and the other contributions you already have installed. "

 

Just a thought but I can see a warning like that being useful to members who are not really aware of the dangers.

 

Here's the warning, reworded to highlight that there is no quality checking in place:

 

"Contributions are provided by osCommerce users and are not subject to any kind of testing. Contributions have been known to be of wildly varying quality, and sometimes to be mutually incompatible, so it is not recommended to blindly install any contribution. Instead, you should first read up any pertinent forum threads, then install the contribution in a test installation of osCommerce, and only after that should you consider installing in a real shop."

 

Note that a terse warning already is in place, even in red. It reads something like "We don't take responsibility for any contributions" (but it doesn't make clear who "we" are, nor does it tell how this differs from the standard osCommerce properties for which you're on your own just like with contributions...)

 

Regards,

Jo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

* Contributor runs a GNU diff of his modifications against a pre-modification source tree. This gives a "patch file".

 

* Editor uses GNU patch to apply the diff to an unmodified source tree; if this gives error messages, the patch isn't accepted for publication.

 

* Publisher enters patch into the "contribs" area.

 

This wont help with the pain of contribution installation :)

 

Since 99% of people add more than 1 contribution and many contributions modify the same core files diff wouldnt be able to patch the changes into the code.

Mark Evans

osCommerce Monkey & Lead Guitarist for "Sparky + the Monkeys" (Album on sale in all good record shops)

 

---------------------------------------

Software is like sex: It's better when it's free. (Linus Torvalds)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...