Why I don't like to use some 3rd party plugins

I’m not a professional developer in the sense that I’ve had any formal
training or experience. I taught myself programming two years ago and
have
since moved to ruby and shortly after to rails - even now, i only
develop as
a hobby. This means that a lot of developer best practises are foreign
or
unknown to me, that’s why I love rails so much. You learn so much just
by
using it.

The reason I don’t like using 3rd party plugins is I have no idea how
well
written they are. When the plugin comes from a well known ruby or rails
developer, I’m quite happy to use it under the assumption that the
author
knows what they are doing. When I have no idea about the author’s
credentials however, I tend to shy away. I can inspect the source code
all
day but I’m still not comfortable enough with my own skills and
experience
to evaluate it properly - I don’t know how well written the plugin is,
how
stable it is or how secure it is.

I understand that the core team wants to keep rails very focused, and
plugins are a great solution for extending the functionality, but I
think
there needs to be some “official” repository of plugins. This would host
only the plugins that have been extensively documented and tested by the
rails community (not necassarily by the core team who are busy with
other
things) and shown to be good enough for production use. a kind of “rails
compatible” scheme.

I’d love to hear what others think.
alan

What I like about the RoR community is that people are willing to share
their code. Plugins make sharing solutions, or progamming aids easy.
Plugins make my work easier, as well. I’m willing to take the risk. If a
plugin doesn’t work to my satisfaction, I can fix it myself, ask the
developer to fix it, or uninstall it. The accepted
review/certification
procedure is to [ANN] the release of the plugin on this list.
Interested
readers then check it out and offer feedback. This friendly, supportive
atmosphere provides the community with working solutions to common
problems
much faster than a rigid ‘certification’ program would.

  • Larry

I agree. The added advantage we have as well is of course that they are
written in Ruby, which makes it relatively easy to understand how the
plugins work, and how to modify them if we want or need to. One of the
reasons I like the acts_as_authenticated plugin, for example, is that
it’s very easy to adapt to your own requirements.

I host a directory for plugins at http://www.agilewebdevelopment.com/
plugins that allows people to rank them (1-5 stars). By seeing the
rankings of and number of votes for the plugins listed in the
directory, you can get an idea of what others have thought of their
usefulness/quality.

I don’t believe anyone should be a gatekeeper that plugin authors
have to satisfy to get their plugins out there, but I do believe the
ranking system helps answer your request to know something about the
quality of a plugin before trying it out yourself.


Benjamin C.
http://www.bencurtis.com/
http://www.tesly.com/ – Collaborative test case management
http://www.agilewebdevelopment.com/ – Resources for the Rails community

Your assumption is that if it’s not from a known source, it’s an
unknown. But that’s only because you don’t yet have the experience to
judge the quality of the code for yourself. But even that aside, a
lot of very good programmers can’t even agree between themselves half
the time on the best way to do things. I’d rather not see access to
plugins limited by either of these scenarios. Let me decide what’s
good for me, and if someone else needs assistance in making that
decision, well that’s what lists like this are for. If you have a
question about a plugin that’s actually being used, you will probably
get good advice from this list or others like it.

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