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

Ron Phipps rphipps at reliant-solutions.com
Thu Mar 16 10:03:37 EST 2006

> From: Andreas Grau
> Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 2:59 AM
> 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
> > > 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
> and then we enter a pissing contest about why you don't like them ?

I don't want to enter a pissing contest about websites, not really worth
it.  But it would be nice to see some of these shops, as a comparison.
I still believe the quality of the design has nothing to do with the
engine underneath when comparing PHP and IC.

> >
> > >
> > > 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
> > 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

I think the users need to ask smart questions and be ready to do some of
the leg work themselves or be prepared to hire some help to guide them

> >
> > > Then, IC is not really documented. Since when I follow IC, there
> > > 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
> 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 !

The system Davor has setup allows for those docs to be updated easier
then they were in the past and for changes in the source to be reflected
in the docs, it's an ongoing project, one that has seen a lot of
progress in the last year.

> >
> > 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
> 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.

That'd be great if you came up with an informational doc about how the
template system works.  Since you were a newer user going through it for
the first time, and I assume you figured it out, you probably have the
view of a newer user and can explain it in a way a new user would

The templating system is confusing when you first look at it.  I
remember when I worked on my first shop using the new templating system,
it took a bit of time to figure how it was all pieced together.

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

I think anyone can write tag documentation.  If someone were to step up
and help with the doc effort and they didn't understand a tag a simple
question to the developers or users would probably result in the
information needed for those docs.

> And then there once was a wiki. Gone as the inline pods. I would even
> 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
> > >
> > > In the end, there may be a team of dinosaurs who satisfies himself
> with
> > > existing clients. Probably rationalizing that IC is technically
> > > 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
> > there are new ones coming in. Some have left, but most of them for
> > 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
> > > help can build momentum
> > > b) do the marketing work: improve the docs, polish the sites,
> the word
> > > c) leave the ivory tower (see a.)
> > >
> >
> > IMHO b) is in fact really important, but in the moment there is a
> 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 think the people currently on board are busy making a living.  From
what I have heard, companies that focus on Interchange have a full work
load.  Despite that, those developers are still contributing code and
making IC a better product.  IC at one point got a bit stagnant, but
there was a renewed effort in putting out a quality product. That has
brought the new template system, custom option modules, custom payment
gateways, xml docs, etc.  Just looking at the CVS mailing list you can
see work is being done.

> >
> > > 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 ?

I don't think he was saying for you to shut up, I think he is saying
that we've read posts like these before, but %100 of the time the person
making the rumble does not step up and help with the effort.


More information about the interchange-users mailing list