[ic] "High traffic list" - ramblings on Interchange

Andreas Grau agrau at esquat.com
Tue Mar 14 05:58:42 EST 2006

On Tue, 14 Mar 2006 10:35:37 +0100
Stefan Hornburg <racke at linuxia.de> wrote:

> Andreas Grau wrote:
> > 
> > And many of the PHP carts are, well, good looking. Hardly any IC shop
> > in the hall of fame is nice and modern. And inviting.
> Do you have any nice examples for us ?

I am not sure what you mean. Or are you asking me to name shops I like,
and then we enter a pissing contest about why you don't like them ?

> > 
> > Next, IC is largely unsupported. If you look in the mailing list
> > archives, there are tons of serious questions which remain without
> > answer. The other IRC channel is mostly dead.
> > 
> I think the majority of questions will be answered, sooner or later.
> Because of the variety and the wide range of application for Interchange
> it is hard to answer any question. After all, any of the Interchange developers
> has to earn his living.

I have tried hard not to make my remarks critizing any Interchange
developer personally. This is not my intention. I was mirroring my
impression that you better have to have good IC knowledge before you ask.

> > Then, IC is not really documented. Since when I follow IC, there has
> > been zero visible progress on the docs.
> Did you look at the XML documentation at all ?

More than once, yes. My guess would be that more than one third have no
examples, many tags are not documented, the cross-reference is broken
and the source is often not the right one.

Interchange Reference Pages: Tags : 227 Tags, of which 157 are without
description. A meager 70% undocumented !

> That might be also a coincidence with almost zero input to the documentation
> from the Interchange community.

I knew this would come. And we are getting to point. Because I believe
this is not true. A couple of months back, I tried to understand the
templating system and how all the components fall together. I described
my findings and posted them here. Two answers with clarification, so I
would think it would have been a copy-and-paste to have a new doc
describing the templating system.

Tag documentation is probably up to the programmer anyway. Some of
which are known not to be too talkative ;-)

And then there once was a wiki. Gone as the inline pods. I would even say
that documentation is being reduced.

> > 
> > Take an unsupportive mailing list plus zero docs, and you come to think
> > that IC is actually a closed-shop solution.
> > 
> > To a newbie, IC is very complex. I can tell you from my own experience.
> > And if one doesn't find a helping hand, he is likely to turn away again.
> > 
> > What will be the consequences ?
> > - Further drain of installations
> > - Further drain of users
> > - Increasingly bad reputation (complex, ugly, unsupported, few users)
> > 
> > In the end, there may be a team of dinosaurs who satisfies himself with
> > existing clients. Probably rationalizing that IC is technically better
> > than anything else.
> Even if that is the case, I don't necessarily need to care about it.
> There are more than enough existing clients for me, and once in a while,
> there are new ones coming in. Some have left, but most of them for other
> reasons than Interchange being an inferior product.

Of course. But this shouldn't be the target. Or is it.

> > 
> > Anybody remember Univac or Data General ?
> > 
> > 
> > For IC to have a future, I believe it would be necessary to
> > a) help people grow from newbie into intermediate state, so reciprocal
> > help can build momentum
> > b) do the marketing work: improve the docs, polish the sites, spread the word
> > c) leave the ivory tower (see a.)
> > 
> IMHO b) is in fact really important, but in the moment there is a lack of manpower
> in the ICDEVGROUP. Sorry, but we working on it.

I believe that a) is the most important. We clearly have people on
board who are happy with things as they are, and who don't need a
helping hand.

> > I would appreciate it. And I hope we'll get somewhere with my
> > provocation. Unless I am the only one who feels like this.
> All that was  already discussed multiple times,
> but people are better doing ramblings than helping out.

Is this a kind hint to shut up ? 

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