End of an era: forums closing

Hi all,

In order to keep things growing, sometimes you need to do some pruning. So once Form Tools 3 is released I’m going to be archiving the forums and moving all support to github where the source code is stored. This is where you’ll need to go to ask questions about the script, post bugs, feature requests, you name it.

I realize this is going to come as a shock and a disappointment to some, but it’s time.

Why?!

I’ve toyed with the idea of dropping the forums for years, but without a replacement in mind I’ve balked at the idea. Now more and more people are starting to contribute bugs and feature suggestions there, I’ve decided to make the switch. I guess there are three main reasons:

  1. Maintaining the forums here is extremely time-consuming and difficult. They’re a non-stop headache – and I’m not talking about support –  I’m talking about keeping the software up to date, spam free (a Sisyphean task with MyBB…)
  2. It’s far, far easier for me to interact about a piece of software with a tool that’s been designed for that very purpose.
  3. I want to encourage other developers to get into Form Tools, and github is familiar to all developers and more likely to draw people in.

When new people visit the Form Tools forums they’re likely to be put off by the spam and by seeing people’s questions go unanswered. This sucks, and the blame falls squarely on me. For the spam, I could once again upgrade the forums and look around for yet another plugin that would help – or more likely start afresh and move to a new forum software (the 4th in Form Tools life). But this is all a ton of work and I think would be a waste of my time. For the latter – the lack of support found in the forums – again the blame is mine. But the reality is that I’m one dude with finite time (and a chronic birding addiction): I need a single, simple, quick way to interact about Form Tools and I think github is the answer.

Github Issues

Each code repository in github has its own “issues” section where people can post. If you go to the following link, you’ll see the core, the modules, themes and the API listed as separate repos:

https://github.com/formtools

The Core repo is where the majority of questions will get logged, but if you’re inquiring about a particular module, please go to that repo and post there. I get notifications when people post on any of them.

Questions can get flagged as questions; bugs as bugs; feature requests as feature requests; people can thumbs up suggestions or bugs they need fixing – all in a single location.  This is staggeringly useful for me. I can create milestones that map to particular releases and tie people’s posts to them. I can search and identify what features to work on next; I can close issues by just committing the repo with the bug fix.

I won’t fib, it’s going to be sad to see the forums go – it’s an end of an era, for sure! But I do think this is the best way to move forward.

Ben

 

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8 Responses to End of an era: forums closing

  1. Bill says:

    No worries, sounds like the thing to do.

  2. WideGlide says:

    GitHub is definitely the way to go. It’s purpose built, well known to the programming community, feature rich and is tailor made for what you’re trying to accomplish. Thanks for a great product now now to the future!

  3. Nelson Costa says:

    Well Im gonna miss the forum :S

  4. admin says:

    Yeah, I understand Nelson! It’ll be hard to see them go, but definitely the thing to do.

  5. Jim Kane says:

    The move from the forums to Github seems fine in most respects, but tonight’s installation trouble made me realize that there’s no repository for the installer, thus no appropriate place to post a request for support as I did tonight in the old Installation forum.

    My $0.02 worth,
    Jim

  6. admin says:

    Hey Jim, anything relating to the website – upgrade/custom build script should be posted on that repo: https://github.com/formtools/website/issues

    As mentioned in an earlier post, the goal of 3.1 is to do away the need for the website upgrade script & have it all baked into the script itself. Looking forward to working on that…!

    But yeah, I think I’ll have to make it very clear once the forums are closed exactly where to go for help. I rather suspect the formtools/core repo will become a dumping ground for all FT-related issues, regardless of source. That’s not ideal, but ok. As long as people have a place to go for help.

    Ben

  7. Jim Kane says:

    I think you misunderstood my concern, Ben. You *do* (wisely) have a proper repo for website issues. My concern is that there’s no place to post for help with installation issues. I had an installation problem on February 12th — still unresolved — and I felt obliged to post for help in the old forums, for lack of a proper spot in the github era. I didn’t like the idea of posting about it in the formtools/core repo, for fear of exacerbating the “dumping ground” problem. Is that actually the right place for installation problems now?

  8. admin says:

    Ah, I see. I think it’s fine to use the github repos as the place to ask how-to questions such as this. It’ll certainly turn into a bit of a dumping ground, but I don’t think that’s the end of the world. More questions and answers that get asked there the more useful it’ll be when searching the issue list. Plus it’ll give me a much better idea about what problems are common + need to be addressed.

    I’m more concerned that with github there’s (currently) 44 repos on the Form Tools org and I want it to be clear where to go for help. That’s not always going to be obvious.

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