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This Week in devot:ee #9 - March 16, 2012

March 16, 2012
by Ryan Masuga

This week we clarify why we don’t remove entries from devot:ee.

This past week it became clear that we haven't adequately communicated our stance on why we don't remove entries from devot:ee. The policy can be summed up pretty simply with a basic Q&A:

Does [add-on] exist?
Yes? It should be on devot:ee.
No? Then, did [add-on] exist?
Yes? It should be on devot:ee.

Simple as that. Long before devot:ee was in any way an online store, it was first and foremost a catalogue of ExpressionEngine add-ons. We cataloge add-ons for ExpressionEngine whether they're past, present, future, discontinued, supported, abandoned, good, bad, old, new, commercial, free, and so on.

We're a public site, and we're historical. We like to think of ourselves as the Amazon of add-on sales, but we're also sort of the Wikipedia of EE add-ons. We don't want to fall afoul of the community by removing entries that one person thinks should not be there (some of you may remember EL's Forum Pruning fiasco and backlash against removing hundreds or possibly thousands of "old" posts). Should we remove entries that are EE1 only because "no one uses that old thing anymore"? Hardly. To take a couple more hypothetical examples, what if tomorrow Pixel & Tonic requested we remove the entry for Playa, or Boldminded asked that the entry for Wyvern be taken down? How would you feel as someone who likely purchased one or the other, to know that the listing for the add-on is simply gone? Keep in mind too, that anyone can submit an add-on to the catalogue, not just the developer. Many add-ons are added by fans of devot:ee and ExpressionEngine who happened to come across an add-on in the wild that we don't already have catalogued.

Any developer selling in the store can edit the main content of their add-on entries (description and pictures), and can elect to sell an item or stop selling an item with a click. If you email us to say you're no longer supporting the add-on, or that it should be entirely removed, we do one thing: set the "developer" to "Discontinued." This essentially creates an archive entry that may be useful to someone in the future, without erasing the past. Even if we never sold another add-on, a large part of our value comes form the information we make available.

"Why might it be advantageous to keep old entries available" you ask? A few reasons: someone bought it, and wants to continue to have access to a file of the last known version; a user posted useful information to the support thread that would otherwise be unavailable if the entry were lost; the description for the entry can help lead to other add-ons that have taken its place; an interested developer can throw their hat in the ring to take over a discontinued add-on (this has happened at least once). There are probably other reasons, but there's no need to belabour the point.

If you have thoughts about how we do or don't keep add-on information on the site, feel free to leave a comment.

This Week in Add-ons

  • SocialCount ($, for EE2) by websecret
    This plugin returns counts of likes from social networks: facebook.com, twitter.com and vk.com and caches the counts to the cache folder. The plugin can write result to channel field, for sorting for example.
  • Structure Sub Pages (for EE2) by Rein de Vries
    A small plugin that retrieves the sub pages from the structure module. Handy when you want to grab the first subpage in row, or to redirect directly to its subpages when you hit the parent page.
  • Image Autosizer (for EE2) by EpicVoyage
    Automatically resize entry images. Stop rejecting uploads that are "too big" from non-savvy users.
  • cpb Trigger Shelf (for EE2) by Curtis Blackwell
    cpb Trigger Shelf is an ExpressionEngine 2 accessory that makes Parse19's Trigger accessible via a keyboard shortcut.

3 Comments:

Blis Web Agency 03.17.12

Makes sense to me. Whilst it seems most add-ons on Devot:ee are still active, stumbling across the occasional abandoned add-on isn’t an issue. I would imagine in future though, these abandoned add-ons may end up polluting the search results. Any plans to help prevent this?

Ryan Masuga 03.19.12

Ryan Masuga

We don’t currently have any plans to prevent search result pollution, but that’s only because it’s not an issue at this point. It would not be hard to implement a solution at all if one was needed.

Currently, 0.006% of the add-ons we have indexed are discontinued (that’s 9 total), and it is pretty rare for us to categorize one as such.

Euan 03.30.12

Euan

I’m all for leaving add-ons up but even if it was a simple banner/icon that indicated the add-on was longer being developed / supported, etc I think that would be beneficial.

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