Suggestion for this forum

General discussion of Mantis.

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Starbuck
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Suggestion for this forum

Post by Starbuck » Jan 16, 2018 2:15 pm

I believe it would be helpful if we could get some phpBB enhancements:

- Tags would be helpful for better filtering and finding topics. I'd be happy to help create tags, then tag posts as we go, and re-tag whatever mis-tagging is done by members.
- I think we could use a board here for notes like this and other general postings that are relevant to this audience, but not directly related to Mantis daily usage.
- Please change the description of the Plugins board from being 1.x specific. Then add a General sub-board to that. The idea is to encourage discussions about all plugin development, not just specific plugins.

Thanks.

Edit1: Removed suggetion for Bookmarks. We already have this feature. Go to the bottom of any thread and there's a button.
Edit2: Added note on plugins boards.

atrol
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Re: Suggestion for this forum

Post by atrol » Jan 22, 2018 5:10 pm

Starbuck wrote:- Tags would be helpful for better filtering and finding topics.
I am no phpBB specialist, but I am not aware that phpBB offers something similar to Mantis tags.
I found options to add so called tags to BBCodes, but I assume this is not what you are asking for.
Please tell me where I can find the mentioned functionality in phpBB.
Starbuck wrote:- Please change the description of the Plugins board from being 1.x specific.
Done
Starbuck wrote: think we could use a board here for notes like this and other general postings that are relevant to this audience
Another option for such issues is to open a feature request at https://www.mantisbt.org/bugs using category "webpage".
Starbuck wrote:Then add a General sub-board to that. The idea is to encourage discussions about all plugin development, not just specific plugins.
I thought about this some while ago, but didn't create a board for it as plugins are just one way of possible Mantis customizations (e.g. sometimes a topic starts with talking about a configuration option, changes to talking about custom functions and finally ends in plugin development).

I still hesitate to create such a board as I see hardly any user trying to help other users concerning plugin development in general. I assume it will not become better just because there is one more board.

Are you able in terms of time you can invest and in terms of needed technical skills to provide support for plugin development?
If so, we could start a try with a new board and see what happens.
Please use Search before posting and read the Manual

Starbuck
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Re: Suggestion for this forum

Post by Starbuck » Jan 22, 2018 9:06 pm

I am not aware that phpBB offers something similar to Mantis tags.
I found options to add so called tags to BBCodes, but I assume this is not what you are asking for.
Please tell me where I can find the mentioned functionality in phpBB.
Info and support
Please change the description of the Plugins board from being 1.x specific. ...
Done
Yahoo! Thanks! :)

Starbuck
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Re: Suggestion for this forum

Post by Starbuck » Jan 22, 2018 9:19 pm

think we could use a board here for notes like this and other general postings that are relevant to this audience....
Another option for such issues is to open a feature request at https://www.mantisbt.org/bugs using category "webpage".
Sure, that could work as long as people know that is the protocol. But I feel like that's over-using Mantis. Mantis is an issue tracker, not a discussion forum. I don't think we want to clutter the tracker with banter about the forum. But that's your call. I also think people are more likely to post a note for discussion, and others are more likely to reply, compared to going into the tracker for exchanges.

Starbuck
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Re: Suggestion for this forum

Post by Starbuck » Jan 22, 2018 9:47 pm

Starbuck wrote:Then add a General sub-board to that. The idea is to encourage discussions about all plugin development, not just specific plugins.
I thought about this some while ago, but didn't create a board for it as plugins are just one way of possible Mantis customizations (e.g. sometimes a topic starts with talking about a configuration option, changes to talking about custom functions and finally ends in plugin development).
Yes, plugins are just one way to customize, but we don't have a general board where people can go to discuss that hugely important topic. Details about plugins get lost in the other content. Requests for "how can I do this" simply die with "can't do that" when a better response would be to refer people to the plugin board as the next option.
I still hesitate to create such a board as I see hardly any user trying to help other users concerning plugin development in general. I assume it will not become better just because there is one more board.
I think this is chicken-and-egg: We don't foster a community for plugin developers, so there are no plugin developers, and therefore no reason to foster a community that doesn't exist. Just look at how the concept of plugins is central to so many other platforms. Look at all of the problems expressed in this forum where a plugin is the right solution, but the discussion ends because people don't know what to do next. Now, just because someone manages an issue tracker doesn't mean they're a programmer. But many "end-users" who use Mantis for business may be motivated to ask someone who is a programmer to help them to create a plugin. "Necessity is the mother of invention".

I don't suggest we follow this exact model, no one wants to go overboard, but have a look at the phpBB's forum structure:
  • First note that they have an entire board dedicated to a "Customsation Database": https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/
  • Under that, they have many sections including Extensions, their equivalent to Plugins: https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/extensions-36
  • Click on any Extension and you'll get a dedicated page with two tabs, Contribution Details, and Discussion/Support. Every one of their plugins has its own board, where we have two boards for two plugins, in this long life history of the MantisBT.
  • As with Extensions, they also have a section for Styles, which we could use for questions on styling Mantis. We could also use a separate board for the REST API.
One could rightly say: "Yes, but Mantis doesn't have that many plugins and we can't justify a board for every plugin...."
This is that chicken-and-egg thing. Mantis is popular software, not quite phpBB but it has a place in the issue tracking ecosystem. And yet there is no ecosystem for extensions. I think that's a serious tactical error which has limited the scope of this fine software. I think we should encourage and profile plugins: when they've earned respect under Plugins>General, I think they should get their own board, and when they are no longer maintained or in use they can be retired to make room for new ones.

So, right, we don't have that many plugins. And while there is a reasonable limit of course to how many boards we should have, I also don't see any reason to limit the number of boards too restrictively. They cost nothing to create. There is no extra effort to monitor or maintain them. They aren't unsightly and they don't have an unpleasant odor. :) So if we do occasionally create a redundant forum, we can easily retire it and move the content elsewhere.

Starbuck
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Re: Suggestion for this forum

Post by Starbuck » Jan 22, 2018 9:54 pm

Are you able in terms of time you can invest and in terms of needed technical skills to provide support for plugin development? If so, we could start a try with a new board and see what happens.
Time yes, and I would be up for that challenge. I'm a fully capable developer (and business owner) just not skilled yet with this specific plugin development. I do create plugins for WordPress, which are very similar, and I can easily get up my "chops" with Mantis plugins.

I have noted that in places where I want to create plugins that Mantis is not yet as extensible as it can be, so I posted this tracker item to improve that situation. As I get more experience with plugins, yes, I'll be that guy. I guess we see this already evolving.

My goals are to help improve the "plugin-ability" of Mantis, help with user and developer docs (ref our PMs) to identify what can and cannot be done, lead toward more solutions with plugins, and to get more people interested in this topic as users and developers. So barring any other volunteers, I'm probably the best person available at the moment for this job. :) As you see my messaging and focus are consistent. I see things that can be improved in this ecosystem and I'm willing to help in all related ways.

How about this - if you assign the Moderator role to me for the entire Plugins section, with permission to create/delete boards under there, I will strive to build this model that I'm proposing here, and to lead people there, no effort on your part. If it's not successful, I'll be happy to back out.

Thanks for the exchanges, consideration, and time.

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