Slashing The Slashes

I’ve fixed the bug with Spam Karma that was causing the erroneous slashes in comments. It was as simple as putting a PHP stripslashes() function in the code when the comments are returned.

Sadly, development on Spam Karma is on hold for the moment, and for good reason. As the developer, Dr. Dave notes:

Second and principal reason why developing SK is becoming more of a drag than I am willing to handle: WordPress. WordPress is a wonderful tool, it is probably the best publishing platform available out there at the moment. Essentially thanks to the huge community that revolves around it: developing plug-ins, patching the code and guiding new users. Literally hundreds of people putting their time to the service of the community.

However, I have a serious beef with the way its development has been going lately: chiefly, I am getting sick and tired of discovering massive changes in ostensibly alpha-phase code, every other morning. Changes that are neither discussed nor announced on any of the main community channels. Announcing major alterations to the code architecture is not only simple courtesy toward the people working with it, it is also bloody common-sense, if you hope to keep them interested in contributing.

This goes along with the overal flakiness of the release scheme (there again: absolutely devoid of any communication) and the fact that, rather than fixing fundamental flaws, current development seems to focus essentially on adding trendy features, overlapping existing ones (please just do not ask me one more time why there is a and a or making sweeping, untested and half-efficient last-minute changes to the code.

WordPress is indeed excellent software, and given that this site is powered by what is essentially alpha code, it’s clearly stable and dependable. At the same time the development does seem rather haphazard. That isn’t to say that the WordPress team are bad programmers – far from it. There just seems to be a lack of discipline in the release schedule.

Now, I admit I’m the last person to criticize. As the lead developer of BloGTK I’ve gone for nearly a year between the more-or-less usable 1.0 release and the more stable 1.1 release that I just pushed out last week. Debugging is one of the least gratifying things a programmer can do. It involves digging in your own code, testing it to death, and testing it some more. It’s usually the worst, nastiest, ugliest code that you never want to see again that has the most problems. (See the spellcheck code in BloGTK for an example of this — it’s a massive kludge that works, but not well.) It’s much more fun to add new and interesting features and do something cool.

I still think WordPress has a bright future, and 1.5 is a great piece of software. Still, when one of the best plugin developers on the scene gets frustrated with the constant unannounced changes, the development team needs to take notice. After all, it’s the community that has surrounded WordPress that is one of its greatest assets. Six Apart learned how a lack of communication with users can have a major negative effect on mindshare – one would hate for WordPress to go through the same thing.

One thought on “Slashing The Slashes

  1. I am holding off on installing 1.5 for now, until a more stable release is ready. Although normally I love to install new alphas, I’ve customized the engine a bit, and it is a pain to continually redo the same changes over and over…

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