What's wrong with phpBB development

Discuss general development subjects that are not specific to a particular version like the versioning control system we use or other infrastructure.
Rotsblok
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Re: What's wrong with phpBB development

Post by Rotsblok » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:30 pm

I'm sorry but I think the whole concept of getting ppl involved into to the development of a product or at least getting them involved into the decision making of adding or removing features of a product seems to me a wrong thing. Don't get me wrong. I'm for the approach of getting everyone to speak up their thoughts. But the bottom line is that the decision has to be made by the management team. How they make their decision is up to them, but the management team has to keep an eye on the main idea of the product. Users simple loose always track of the idea behind a product. You don't see big companies like phillips still producing products that they produced in the old days (think about black and white tv's).

phpBB is evolving and cannot keep the old products (in this case the style), simple because they moved on to a better solution or "technology". It's up to phpBB to say when it's time, phillips and other companies also make that decision and don't let the users of their products make the decision. They have a test panel or do something similar, I see area51 of phpBB as the same thing. They look what the reaction is a select number of users and decide on that and other points.

phpBB is not the sole supplier of forum software and certainly doesn't force ppl to use it. In the real world if you don't like a television of company A you simple buy another tv of other company. Of course it would be a pity of ppl leave because of not having feature A but phpBB has a large community which off loads of different mods or styles. And I think if phpBB would drop subSilver, a style author can still maintain it for other community members.

Big companies give also notices if a product is dangerous or malfunctioning. They do it through newspapers and probably on their site and the news. phpBB doesn't have the means to do that but they at least post it on their site, often with a announcement. You cannot simple take away the fact that still ppl don't notice it or don't read it, but then the company or in this case phpBB has done anything what was in their power.

it's just my two humble cents..
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Marshalrusty
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Re: What's wrong with phpBB development

Post by Marshalrusty » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:59 am

I agree with some of what you said to an extent.

We do not always follow majority opinion for the reasons that you mentioned. For one thing, it's impossible to get an accurate representation of the entire userbase since only a small, and potentially non-representative, number of users participate in these discussions. This is why there isn't just a poll on every RFC topic; we want to know the reasons behind what our users want, and then we decide if those reasons are in line with our vision for phpBB. On the other hand, users often come up with good ideas when using the product, and we must be able to hear these ideas if they are to ever make it into the product. Remember, phpBB is an opensource project, which means that we operate very differently than, say, Phillips. If we didn't get community members involved in development, then we wouldn't have a development team to begin with.

The television analogy that you mentioned only works to a limited extent. For one thing, phpBB produces software and not hardware. When you buy a new television, it completely replaces your old television. With phpBB, users continually update the software and carry over all the old data. Without proper convertors and update scripts, phpBB would be completely unusable. In this case, because many users are using subsilver2 and derivative styles, we cannot simply pull the plug in the name of a brighter future. It would be like releasing a television that would be unable to play a significant portion of your existing movies.

So while your point about not making decisions ad populum is well made, it is also important not to forget that the community is what makes phpBB great and its collective opinion resonates in the team's decision making organs.

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Re: What's wrong with phpBB development

Post by Oleg » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:10 am

Rotsblok wrote:I'm sorry but I think the whole concept of getting ppl involved into to the development of a product or at least getting them involved into the decision making of adding or removing features of a product seems to me a wrong thing.
Say, how would you feel if phpbb removed a feature YOU were using?
And I think if phpBB would drop subSilver, a style author can still maintain it for other community members.
Do you volunteer to be that person? What would you do after phpbb developers remove code bits that subsilver needs in order to work, which prosilver does not use?
You cannot simple take away the fact that still ppl don't notice it or don't read it, but then the company or in this case phpBB has done anything what was in their power.
It is pretty clear that in the particular case of subsilver removal phpbb developers failed to provide adequate notice to the community about the change.

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Ger
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Re: What's wrong with phpBB development

Post by Ger » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:31 am

nn- wrote:Say, how would you feel if phpbb removed a feature YOU were using?
I'm a subSilver2-derative user, but I'm not complaining. I favor dropping subSilver2. 8-)
nn- wrote:Do you volunteer to be that person? What would you do after phpbb developers remove code bits that subsilver needs in order to work, which prosilver does not use?
They won't, as ToonArmy points out.
nn- wrote:It is pretty clear that in the particular case of subsilver removal phpbb developers failed to provide adequate notice to the community about the change.
Well, I've known it for about 2 years now... Aggreed, it was just a sidenote in a blog, but you can't expect them to place ads in all major newspapers of the world, now can you? I'm pretty sure the majority of phpBB users are still unaware of this whole discussion since most of them probably don't even read phpBB.com...
Above message may contain errors in grammar, spelling or wrongly chosen words. This is because I'm not a native speaker. My apologies in advance.

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Re: What's wrong with phpBB development

Post by Oleg » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:46 am

Ger wrote:
nn- wrote:Say, how would you feel if phpbb removed a feature YOU were using?
I'm a subSilver2-derative user, but I'm not complaining. I favor dropping subSilver2. 8-)
I would be interested in hearing why in the subsilver topic.
nn- wrote:It is pretty clear that in the particular case of subsilver removal phpbb developers failed to provide adequate notice to the community about the change.
Well, I've known it for about 2 years now... Aggreed, it was just a sidenote in a blog, but you can't expect them to place ads in all major newspapers of the world, now can you? I'm pretty sure the majority of phpBB users are still unaware of this whole discussion since most of them probably don't even read phpBB.com...
Are you saying that the notice provided was adequate or that providing adequate notice is impossible? Even if every affected user cannot be reasonably notified, notification could have been done better.

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Ger
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Re: What's wrong with phpBB development

Post by Ger » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:11 pm

nn- wrote:I would be interested in hearing why in the subsilver topic.
Quite frankly I don't think it has much use arguing over and over again in that topic. I'm satisfied with the by rxu proposed solution.
Bottom line is that I favor flexible styling above the old-fashioned styling of subSilver2. 3 years ago I didn't realize this enough and ported the existing phpBB2 style to phpBB3, what was easyer with subSilver2 than with ProSilver.
But this is a bit off topic...
nn- wrote:Are you saying that the notice provided was adequate or that providing adequate notice is impossible? Even if every affected user cannot be reasonably notified, notification could have been done better.
Nope, I'm not saying that. The point I tried to make was that one could have known it. Besides that, there were 4 pages of discussion in the RFC topic. As stated, many people missed that but in my opinion everyone who wants to have a say in development decisioncan read (and post in) Area51.
It could have been done better, that's true. But as I said, you can't expect the devs to actively announce every decision before it's made. They misjudged the impact of this one apperently, but hey, no-one is perfect.
Above message may contain errors in grammar, spelling or wrongly chosen words. This is because I'm not a native speaker. My apologies in advance.

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Re: What's wrong with phpBB development

Post by Oleg » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:14 pm

Ger wrote: They misjudged the impact of this one apperently

...

The point I tried to make was that one could have known it.
Apparently you agree that notification of feature removal should have been more extensive, yet you still try to make it the users' fault their unawareness that they were going to get screwed. Could have known? Via a crystal ball?
Besides that, there were 4 pages of discussion in the RFC topic. As stated, many people missed that but in my opinion everyone who wants to have a say in development decisioncan read (and post in) Area51.
You are confusing users and developers. Users can't, generally speaking, participate in developer forums (by forums I mean a place of gathering such as a board, mailing list, etc.) due to insufficient knowledge, ability or time. Projects that care about their users make sure decisions impacting users in a negative way are minimized, and spend effort minimizing such decisions. It's called backwards compatibility. Backwards compatibility is a feature.

Considering that phpbb provides updates from each version to the next, dropping a style shipped in official package without an upgrade path is not something users expect.

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Ger
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Re: What's wrong with phpBB development

Post by Ger » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:00 pm

First of all: relax! You seem to get all irritated about this, but the way I see it there's no problem. It's all an open discussion.
nn- wrote:you still try to make it the users' fault their unawareness
I don't. I said the devs may have misjudged and that users could have known something was going on. It wasn't kept a secret, it's simply not actively made public.
nn- wrote: that they were going to get screwed. Could have known? Via a crystal ball?
Screwed? Kinda harsh statement in my opinion. 3.0.x will still be here for quite some time and subSilver2 will be there. Plus, when you still want 3.1 you'd get ProSilver. And after the open discussion you can still maintain subSilver2 since it will be supported.
nn- wrote:You are confusing users and developers. Users can't, generally speaking, participate in developer forums (by forums I mean a place of gathering such as a board, mailing list, etc.) due to insufficient knowledge, ability or time.
Well, area51 is available for everyone. There are links to it from several places of the main site. When one cares so much about his board, he can follow the development as he wishes.
nn- wrote:Projects that care about their users make sure decisions impacting users in a negative way are minimized, and spend effort minimizing such decisions. It's called backwards compatibility. Backwards compatibility is a feature.
What's your point? After all the discussion here, the decision is changed. Seems to me, they do care about their users. They even care enough to reconsider decisions.
Above message may contain errors in grammar, spelling or wrongly chosen words. This is because I'm not a native speaker. My apologies in advance.

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Re: What's wrong with phpBB development

Post by Rotsblok » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:35 pm

nn- wrote:
Rotsblok wrote:I'm sorry but I think the whole concept of getting ppl involved into to the development of a product or at least getting them involved into the decision making of adding or removing features of a product seems to me a wrong thing.
Say, how would you feel if phpbb removed a feature YOU were using?
Sorry is a style a feature? I think it's only a small thing to be called feature.. subSilver was just a way to output stuff and would not make the classification of feature (from wikipedia Feature (software design) is distinguishing characteristic of a software item (e.g., performance, portability, or functionality), as phpBB also has proSilver which has become the default style, one could argue that subSilver doesn't distinguish phpBB any more. But anyways.. I would feel bumped, but would look for alternatives.. (like let's say they remove QR for some reason.. I would search the mod's db for an alternative.
nn- wrote:
And I think if phpBB would drop subSilver, a style author can still maintain it for other community members.
Do you volunteer to be that person? What would you do after phpbb developers remove code bits that subsilver needs in order to work, which prosilver does not use?
Why me.. I'm just speculating, like you are speculating that they might remove stuff so that subSilver probably dont work anymore..
It's easy to look for problems but it's a much better way to look for solutions.
nn- wrote:
You cannot simple take away the fact that still ppl don't notice it or don't read it, but then the company or in this case phpBB has done anything what was in their power.
It is pretty clear that in the particular case of subsilver removal phpbb developers failed to provide adequate notice to the community about the change.
Explain why.. what would be adequate? I think they have mentioned several times that on area51 development things are being discussed. If ppl don't make the effort to visit it or join in on the discussion, then they have done what they could do. You cannot force ppl to read/participate in stuff nor does phpBB have to make an announcement about every single thing they want to alter (add/edit or remove), as it would not make a good development environment if you have to ask the community every time to give feedback about something..
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