Group to assist mod/script/tool developers

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starholme
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Group to assist mod/script/tool developers

Post by starholme » Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:01 pm

I'm having trouble finding a proper title for this post. I'll use an example that I've run into myself.

I've been using a script to launch my headless factorio server. It worked great. One of the recent .14.x releases broke the script because it doesn't know about the changes to parameters and server config files. This script, like most of the mods, has a GitHub repo available. Browsing to the repo, there are several pull requests that could fix the issue. But the maintainer is MIA. He hasn't been gone long, and is kind of a regular. So I think he'll be back. In the meantime though, this tool is broken. You need to dig through the forks to figure out what one is up to date, hopefully it's not missing features, etc.

I think we are missing an important part of the software development world. We have a pile of developers, but no dedicated QA, code reviewers, organizers.
I work as a software developer but I don't have real experience with the open source world, particularly organization and collaboration on small projects.

My proposal is this:
Form a group that is willing to help coordinate maintenance and development of mods/scripts/tools.
Developers of a mod/script/tool who would like assistance can talk to the group. The developer would give this group, or members of the group, collaborator access to the repository(I'm open to better ideas here).
The developer stays as the owner of the repo, so has full control. They do as much of the work as they want/can.
The group helps to pick up slack where desired. Pull requests waiting to be merged? We can help. Developer taking a break from factorio for a while? We can keep the project alive.

It just seems that lots of nice little mods/scripts/tools get lost to rot over time. Usually I think that the original developer has either lost interest, or run out of time. I'm a victim of the time issue myself. I really enjoyed the bit of modding a had a chance to do. But real life comes first. If this sort of group was around, maybe my mods didn't need to die. And maybe I'd be interested in fixing them up again, if I know that somebody is around to help keep it working when I'm too busy.

Please give suggestions and comments.

TLDR: Get a group together to proactively prevent mods/scripts/tools from death when the developer could use help.

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ssilk
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Re: Group to assist mod/script/tool developers

Post by ssilk » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:21 pm

starholme wrote:TLDR: Get a group together to proactively prevent mods/scripts/tools from death when the developer could use help.
I think it is a good idea. The problem with software development in a group is, that the afford for quality-management, tests, releases etc. etc. rises extremely compared to single responsibilites like now.
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starholme
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Re: Group to assist mod/script/tool developers

Post by starholme » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:16 pm

ssilk wrote:
starholme wrote:TLDR: Get a group together to proactively prevent mods/scripts/tools from death when the developer could use help.
I think it is a good idea. The problem with software development in a group is, that the afford for quality-management, tests, releases etc. etc. rises extremely compared to single responsibilites like now.
No argument there. A team is always more work. Fortunately, the vast majority of mods are small enough that the complexity doesn't need to change. A couple thousand lines of code (kloc) just doesn't have the same issues that a large project does.

I just want to ensure that somebody is paying attention when the author is busy.

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Re: Group to assist mod/script/tool developers

Post by Afforess » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:31 pm

starholme wrote:
ssilk wrote:
starholme wrote:TLDR: Get a group together to proactively prevent mods/scripts/tools from death when the developer could use help.
I think it is a good idea. The problem with software development in a group is, that the afford for quality-management, tests, releases etc. etc. rises extremely compared to single responsibilites like now.
No argument there. A team is always more work. Fortunately, the vast majority of mods are small enough that the complexity doesn't need to change. A couple thousand lines of code (kloc) just doesn't have the same issues that a large project does.

I just want to ensure that somebody is paying attention when the author is busy.
I like the general sentiment, it's unfortunate when mod authors disappear, and I've picked up mods from MIA authors to maintain (See: Marathon Mod). I see the biggest hurdle being the mod portal, there is no mechanism to allow multiple authors for a mod, so even if the community came together to fix older mods and scripts, there isn't currently a mechanism to share the fixes with the larger user-base.

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Re: Group to assist mod/script/tool developers

Post by ssilk » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:00 pm

Well, I go with you. It's about the same issue as you need to set a new factorio-version in info.json even if no line needs to be changed to keep compatibility. Or handling patches, if the originator isn't available any more... the portal needs some kind of moderation (nothing can be found systematically). And some other issues....


There is this board viewforum.php?f=189 to gather all issues around the mod-portal. And even if it looks, as currently nothing is done, I'm sure it watched, when there is time to.
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