Catzwolf to lead XOOPS Module Development Team



2009-03-10

Over this last year, the core development team has put a lot of time and effort in getting our beloved CMS back on track, development wise and we are finally seeing results of it. With XOOPS 2.3.3 released, the proposed plans for 2.4 published recently, and the announced merger with Simple-XOOPS, EXM, and Zarilia, things are finally looking up for XOOPS! Yes, there will be a lot of changes in the near future, yet there is one area of XOOPS development we have seen fall further and further behind, and now, we want to tackle it as well.

It is time to restore module development to the forefront of XOOPS and bring it into line with the XOOPS Core development, and restore our reputation within the CMS world that we once held in high esteem. Therefore, we are re-establishing the XOOPS Module Development Team (MDT).
John Neill (Catzwolf) will take over the role as team leader for module development and oversee the changes that will be required. Catzwolf is the creator of the WF-Project modules, and holds module development close to his heart.

Catzwolf stated: Citando:
"Our long term aim is to give module developers the documentation, the information, tools and support that is required to help aid the rapid development of quality modules, and the freedom to concentrate on what is important without the need reinventing the wheel each time. The creation, development and maintenance of a module should not be an arduous task. And we aim to achieve just that.

The first task will be to evaluate many of the modules that have been left in a non working state for their compatibility and security risks. This will take some time and the support of the community, mainly those who have either coding ability or the will to get involved and make a difference. "
So if you feel you would like to make a difference, then please contact Catzwolf either via email or PM him directly.
Go on, help and make a difference to your community! The members will love you for it.

See the goals of the new team below.


Goals for Module Development and Distribution Team:
Citando:
Introduction
We all know that the heart and soul of Xoops is its Modules, and without them, Xoops would be an empty shell and nothing more. Success of XOOPS will be therefore always linked to its module offering.

Unfortunately, over last few years, several of the modules in our repository became outdated, with one of the reasons being absence of an active Modules Team. Therefore we are restarting the Modules Team to correct the situation.
Process Improvements
We could easily put together a team and fix many of the broken modules within the repository, but we need to focus on process improvements as well, so we can ensure best use of our limited resources and future consistency of our activities.

It is also important that we won't fall into the ‘Quick Fix’ mentality, but instead focus on a comprehensive improvement plan, based on learning from the past.

Some of the main issues that we'll be addressing are

• improve cooperation between Core and Module developers
• improve communication and better code reuse between Module developers, and better sharing of Best Practices
• Provide Module developers with tools and libraries that would make module development easier, and create more secure solutions.

Security Improvements
As with any module, from time to time a security issue might arise and in any actively developing community this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but in the case of XOOPS, many of these modules haven't been actively developed for a while and the issues would remain thus leaving many users at risk and with no one to turn to.

Therefore we'll be addressing it by creating security guidelines and sharing best security practices, and by ensuring that fixes are implemented in existing modules, even if the main developer is gone, and they are communicated to the community.
The road to Module Team revitalization
Of course, these changes will not happen over night and it will take more than one or two people to properly handing the workload that will be required. Yes, this will take vast amounts of co-operation, team work from all area’ of the Xoops Community and Xoops Core teams.

The process improvements need to be addressed from two perspectives and they both have to be addressed at the same time or the whole process will fail over and over:

1. Development
2. Community
Development

We need to give the module developers tools and information enabling them to create modules quickly, securely and easily.

Our main activities will be:

1. Publish and maintain documents outlining module design specifications, best practices and security/quality assurance standards.

2. Assist in the training and development of emerging module developers for the XOOPS Project

3. Assist in preparation of documentation concerning module development, in partnership with the Documentation group.

4. Assist in the training and development of emerging module developers for the XOOPS Project

5. Maintain a module development forge as a collaborative work facility for community module developers.

6. Extract common code and create a XOOPS Module Framework, so we can make the module development easier and the modules themselves lighter.
Community:
The second part of this improvement process is to build community confidence, by creating organization and repository structure for effective modules maintenance and distribution.

1. Maintain a high-quality repository of completed modules, add-ons and themes for distribution to the XOOPS community in cooperation with other work groups.

2. Create and maintain module packs for different applications of XOOPS including a standard pack to be made available for download with the core XOOPS distribution.

3. Select modules that should be part of our Module Packs (e.g. Basic, Commerce, Web, and Community). The Basic Pack will be included in the main distribution of XOOPS, so the user will have first class "out of box" experience.

4. Populate our module repository with all available XOOPS modules, and update them to their latest release.

Our aim is this: when you download a module from our repository, you know that the module will be fit for the purpose, safe and secure and most importantly it will work on the latest version of Xoops. That is our service level agreement too you!

We'll have a lot of exciting things coming up, but we need your help.

Please contact us if you would like to join the team and help.
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