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View Full Version : Mods and their installation instructions


j1mmy
12 Jun 2006, 17:27
Im quite new to vB and still getting used to it. There are others too like me among this forum. My suggestion is to mainly those who release modsfor vB. Majority of the Mod's instructions seem to be aimed at experience users and lack detail. Instructions like these are very difficult for newbies to follow. I think that vB is mainly know for its modding and other bits, becasue of this - instructions should be written starting from scratch explaining where everything goes etc. I think by outlining this kind of information in mods, it will reduce problems and people complaing that they cannot install it.

So i think its a good idea if vB encourages mod publishers to build on the instructions for newbies like myself and many others.

Ziki
12 Jun 2006, 17:29
The author decides if he wants to write it more detailed or hard to understand

Ntfu2
12 Jun 2006, 17:35
I think its a better idea for noobies to learn vBulletin better so you can understand the hard to follow instructions. Sometimes the hacks author may not speak english as his first language so easier to follow instructions arent easy for them to write ;) Most hacks now are a simple upload or two of a .xml and maybe a template edit here and there.

It doesnt get much easier than that.

Wired1
12 Jun 2006, 17:53
Unfortunately, there are those who don't even know to save / download the XML file instead of opening it.

oy.

j1mmy
12 Jun 2006, 19:30
The author decides if he wants to write it more detailed or hard to understand

Well then it will decrease the 'installation count' becasue less people will be able to install it...

I think its a better idea for noobies to learn vBulletin better so you can understand the hard to follow instructions. Sometimes the hacks author may not speak english as his first language so easier to follow instructions arent easy for them to write ;) Most hacks now are a simple upload or two of a .xml and maybe a template edit here and there.

It doesnt get much easier than that.


The only way you cant learn it, is by getting a good set of instructions a few times, and then next time you will know what to do without needing such a detialed set.

Unfortunately, there are those who don't even know to save / download the XML file instead of opening it.

oy.

They could open it and extract it to their computer.

Marco van Herwaarden
12 Jun 2006, 19:48
Unfortunately, there are those who don't even know to save / download the XML file instead of opening it.

oy.If all coders would stick to our Rules/Guidelines, then this wouldn't be a problem since it would have been uploaded as a zip-file.

Zachery
12 Jun 2006, 20:01
Well then it will decrease the 'installation count' becasue less people will be able to install it...




The only way you cant learn it, is by getting a good set of instructions a few times, and then next time you will know what to do without needing such a detialed set.



They could open it and extract it to their computer.
Install counts are not everyones life, I manage to write some fairly lack luster install instructions at times, but people do manage to figure it out eventually.

kall
12 Jun 2006, 20:02
I think its a better idea for noobies to learn vBulletin better so you can understand the hard to follow instructions. Sometimes the hacks author may not speak english as his first language so easier to follow instructions arent easy for them to write ;) Most hacks now are a simple upload or two of a .xml and maybe a template edit here and there.

It doesnt get much easier than that.
I agree here. It shouldn't be the job of the coder to teach people the utter basics of vBulletin.

Besides, to say that the 'majority' of the Modifications here lack detailed install instructions is a bit of a misnomer. There may be a few, but most (that I have installed anyway) have step-by-step instructions.

It tends to save answering the same question multiple times in the thread if the instructions are clear.

j1mmy
12 Jun 2006, 22:16
Install counts are not everyones life, I manage to write some fairly lack luster install instructions at times, but people do manage to figure it out eventually.

Thats quite true. But when you say eventually, they have to go through posting messages asking questions before they even get it close to working. It should be set out stright forward from the very beginning.

I agree here. It shouldn't be the job of the coder to teach people the utter basics of vBulletin.

Besides, to say that the 'majority' of the Modifications here lack detailed install instructions is a bit of a misnomer. There may be a few, but most (that I have installed anyway) have step-by-step instructions.

It tends to save answering the same question multiple times in the thread if the instructions are clear.


I think the coder just needs to write the proper instructions once and use the same instructions for the rest of his mods. They are more or less likely to be the same installation procedure for the rest of this mods, if not he will just need to do a slight adjustment-it will save so much trouble.

Freesteyelz
13 Jun 2006, 00:02
It tends to save answering the same question multiple times in the thread if the instructions are clear.

Hehe. Well the flip-side of it is that if the instructions were clear enough, you wouldn't get the redundant questions on the how-to. :D

Tim Skellett
13 Jun 2006, 00:52
..... Sometimes the hacks author may not speak english as his first language so easier to follow instructions arent easy for them to write ;)
Just an observation:
I've noticed that coders here whose first language is not English actually write very clear and helpful instructions indeed as a rule; there may be grammatical errors and misspellings in their English, but they very often write extremely good instructions for newbies.

Marco van Herwaarden
13 Jun 2006, 01:12
Just an observation:
I've noticed that coders here whose first language is not English actually write very clear and helpful instructions indeed as a rule; there may be grammatical errors and misspellings in their English, but they very often write extremely good instructions for newbies.And for a lot of coders, that might be more difficult then coding the modification itself. Writing good instruction is a skill that not everyone posesses.

Paul M
13 Jun 2006, 02:01
Also, I would guess that most people are not writing hacks purely for release here - they are written for peoples own forums, and then shared here as a bonus. I for one do not have the time or inclanation to write 30+ sets of detailed instructions - it's just not going to happen. :)

Christine
13 Jun 2006, 16:07
I seem to have a lot of spare change laying around this week, so here is another unsolicited 2 cents. ;)

There is a forum for How-Tos. If someone isn't sure what "edit a template" or "install this product" means, of if they don't know how to run a SQL query, that would be the first place to check. We all had to learn the software at some point -- and instructions like this aren't specific to a particular hack.

j1mmy
13 Jun 2006, 21:40
In the end its up to the coder if they want right proper instructions. I think it should be something encouraged though, it may make a big difference.

One of the reasons why I picked vB over any other board was simply beacsue of resources available. I didnt ecpect to install a mod to be this difficult to unserstand.

kall
13 Jun 2006, 22:52
Which mod is it that you are having difficulty with?

CyberRanger
14 Jun 2006, 12:54
Which mod is it that you are having difficulty with?
I think one of the mods he struggled with is my mod AboutToday (http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=107319). I try hard to make the install simple and the instructions clear but appeared to have failed for him. I'd be curious to have other's look at my install instructions and tell me how they could be improved.

Kirk Y
14 Jun 2006, 13:02
Are we required to ZIP our XML products? I didn't know that -- if so, what's the point? Why would you zip just 1 file with a negligible reduction in filesize, to boot.

peterska2
14 Jun 2006, 13:08
All non graphical attachments (ie not screenshots) should be in Zip format. Other formats, such as XML and txt, have habits of opening instead of saving.

j1mmy
14 Jun 2006, 14:30
I think one of the mods he struggled with is my mod AboutToday (http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=107319). I try hard to make the install simple and the instructions clear but appeared to have failed for him. I'd be curious to have other's look at my install instructions and tell me how they could be improved.


I think the instructions where ok, but i think the reason why it didnt work was because i ddint know if i had to uploads the seperate one to the forum directory or copy the folders into the directory. I soon discovered you had to copy the folders into the directory... I havent tried any other mods yet, but this might be case for them aswell.

Paul M
14 Jun 2006, 17:27
Are we required to ZIP our XML products? I didn't know that -- if so, what's the point? Why would you zip just 1 file with a negligible reduction in filesize, to boot.I'm not sure if it ever got incorporated into written rules, but it was changed last year such that you could upload one file only for a mod (be it txt/xml/php/zip etc), so if the mod needed more than one file it had to be a zip, otherwise it could be a single xml etc file.

I used to upload single product xml files (partly because I had no winzip at work) but now I tend to always zip them as some people cannot work out how to download an xml file properly (and I have winzip at work now ;)).

corn dog
14 Jun 2006, 17:54
I agree. When I registered for vBulletin I was totally confused because I could not figure out where the templates are :P

amykhar
14 Jun 2006, 18:11
Honestly, I don't release my mods for novice users. I write code that I need and I put a little effort into documenting it and packaging it for others to use. I could care less about install counts or titles. My goal is simply to share code with others who have shared code with me. It's not, I'm sorry to say, to share code with anybody who owns vbulletin. The level of support required to make modifications suitable for all is just too much to expect from somebody for free.

Ideally, coders could limit access to their more difficult mods to fellow coders to prevent the frustration novices feel when they run into problems using code that is beyond their abilities.

Until that happens, the responsibility falls on the end user to figure out how to use modifications posted here. Peer support is available if you have questions, and there is a plethora of information on installing mods, running queries, etc.

kall
14 Jun 2006, 20:24
I think one of the mods he struggled with is my mod AboutToday (http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=107319). I try hard to make the install simple and the instructions clear but appeared to have failed for him. I'd be curious to have other's look at my install instructions and tell me how they could be improved.
I just had a look..

abouttoday.php
includes/class.csv.php
includes/class_abouttoday.php
includes/plugin_abouttoday.php
includes/xml/bitfield_abouttoday.xml
includes/xml/cpnav_abouttoday.xml
admincp/abouttodayadmin.php

Seems very straightforward to me.

Damian
14 Jun 2006, 20:45
Ideally, coders could limit access to their more difficult mods to fellow coders to prevent the frustration novices feel when they run into problems using code that is beyond their abilities.


What would be ideal about this?
I have not released any code here so I do not have a "Coder" title. Your ideal solution would prevent me from downloading hacks which I am more then capable of installing, modifying or changing to fit my needs.
I also happen to believe the majority of members here are just like me, more then capable to install hacks and do not require much support, if any at all.

.... the responsibility falls on the end user to figure out how to use modifications posted here. Peer support is available if you have questions, and there is a plethora of information on installing mods, running queries, etc.

I completly agree. Why is there not a area for coders to release hacks that are unsupported, and stated so in the forum description?

Freesteyelz
14 Jun 2006, 21:10
I think hacks should (also) be categorized by Unsupported and Supported.


Ideally, coders could limit access to their more difficult mods to fellow coders to prevent the frustration novices feel when they run into problems using code that is beyond their abilities.


It seems to be (by way of reading between the lines of your post) that the frustrations come mostly from the authors' rather than the users. Give a bit of credit and let the users decide if it's difficult or not. Better yet, implement a difficulty rating system, which can be selected by the author while setting up the first post, such as:

Level: Beginners
Level: Moderate
Level: Advanced
Level: Don't even bother...

There are many users here, novice to advanced, who are willing to learn if given the opportunity.

Kirk Y
14 Jun 2006, 22:40
I'm not sure if it ever got incorporated into written rules, but it was changed last year such that you could upload one file only for a mod (be it txt/xml/php/zip etc), so if the mod needed more than one file it had to be a zip, otherwise it could be a single xml etc file.

I used to upload single product xml files (partly because I had no winzip at work) but now I tend to always zip them as some people cannot work out how to download an xml file properly (and I have winzip at work now ;)).

I never figured that a user wouldn't know how to "Save Target as" the XML the file -- nobody has complained thus far about not being able to download, but I do see your point.

Roms
14 Jun 2006, 23:29
With products, plugins, and very few code edits these days I really can't see a need for levels. Members who aren't very computer literate shouldn't even try to hack their vB's until they get a grasp for how things work... If they do they don't have anyone to blame but themselves..

No matter how well you write instuctions some people still won't understand what to do... There is only so much you can "spell out". If someone doesn't understand how to run queries, ftp files, write simple HTML it can be like reading another language...

Ohiosweetheart
15 Jun 2006, 13:46
Hehe. Well the flip-side of it is that if the instructions were clear enough, you wouldn't get the redundant questions on the how-to. :D

AAAAAAAAAMEN to that!


I think its a better idea for noobies to learn vBulletin better so you can understand the hard to follow instructions.
and how do you propose they do that if they don't have good instructions to follow? Learning vBulletin comes from experience. Not having clear instructions is frustrating. You were a brand new vB user at one time, remember?



The only way you cant learn it, is by getting a good set of instructions a few times, and then next time you will know what to do without needing such a detialed set.
Exactly


I agree here. It shouldn't be the job of the coder to teach people the utter basics of vBulletin.Noone is saying it's the coders job to teach anyone anything. But creating a modification, then offering a set of CLEAR install instructions (especially if it's more detailed than just a xml upload and one or two template changes) is just common sense.




I think hacks should (also) be categorized by Unsupported and Supported.
Absolutely agree



.........implement a difficulty rating system, which can be selected by the author while setting up the first post, such as:

Level: Beginners
Level: Moderate
Level: Advanced
Level: Don't even bother...

There are many users here, novice to advanced, who are willing to learn if given the opportunity.EXCELLENT. I've said this before in another thread. phpBB has their hack/mods database set up this way. In that respect (their hack/mod database), they are FAR ahead of vB.