Magento Extensions Follow Up

Posted by: Karen Friday, September 28th, 2012

What’s it all about?

A little over 3 weeks ago I posted a blog about Magento extensions, and how I felt that there was not enough regulation around the marketplace, or enough information for merchants, web design agencies to make informed decisions.

A few things happened after:

  1. The community responded. Mainly around twitter, but also in the blog comments, people elsewhere had opinions on this topic. We showed we cared, and we understood
  2. Magento responded. Why? Well only they can answer, and maybe not everyone will believe, but my opinion is that they know there is a need to improve and they appreciate they don’t have all the answers
  3. We had a Google+ Hangout, views were aired, people could get in the room, a few couldn’t

Thanks to everyone who got involved, who emailed, and who showed their concern and their passion for Magento.  I was pretty surprised tbh.

What happened in the hangout?

So what now, what were the conclusions, where can we go from here?

Quite a few things were raised in the Google+ Hangout. The main areas seemed to me to be:

  1. Magento Connect – we can all see that this needs improvement so that merchants have more information
  2. Reviews & Ratings – clearly on Magento Connect its not working. How can we move this forwards?
  3. Training – We need more magento developers, more self-help blogs, more support for companies trying to expand their knowledge & staff
  4. Improving Accountability – How can we identify the bad extensions/companies, but also help these where required so their can improve
  5. Code Reviews – can we ‘socially’ do code reviews?

Where are we now?

A few of the tangibles I’ve seen coming out of this are:

  1. @IvanChepurnyi created a documentation draft on Github for a possible extension code review site
  2. User Voice page being setup for feedback
  3. The hashtag #extnreview has persisted, though it has to be said from quite a small core group of people
  4. My staff have become even more motivated to learn, improve and evolve – thats a great by-product I didn’t expect at all!
  5. Magento are going to discuss, with a sub-section of the community, the changes they are planning/undertaking around Magento Connect and get feedback from us on it

Interestingly this week Magento suspended the Trusted Extensions Program until further notice. Was that pre-planned, I’m not sure.

I spoke with Magento/X.commerce whilst at Quite a few things were discussed, this is not a topic you can open and close in an hour meeting.

I believe from those discussions that Magento understand that they need to provide some boundaries from which the marketplace can hopefully mature responsibly, but I also think rightly they do not wish to constrain it too much. As that is, after all, the beauty of ‘Open Source’ and a community, it needs freedom.

Where do we go from here?

I realise I’m glossing over quite a bit of detail. Why? Because this isn’t about me or my thoughts, it is about us as a community. If its just one voice it’s no voice.

From a purely personal perspective I think we do need a central area we can talk, collaborate, throw ideas, pass information back to Magento, maybe kick start things ourselves where we have shared interest or shared benefits.

Quite possibly this is the User Voice site.

The big question is:


Do you want to join me?

My vow is that I will go on the site within the next week and put down some of the ideas I’ve fed back to Magento (and some that I haven’t). If no-one else decides to join in, then well its just a waste of a few hours, and I’ll continue on my merry way 😉

And my concerns? Well I think we had this as a comment on the blog, we all mean well but we are all busy. We need to make time for this, and maybe sometimes we have delays, work gets in the way, we just want to sleep. But I hope people can see that this is our future. We need to help improve the Magento Eco-System, because it is in all our interests to do so.

Lastly, I think we really need to be careful we don’t create a ‘club’.  I see from my own experiences that there is a need to help developers ranging from those that joined yesterday to those that have been around for 5 years.  We cannot discriminate, we cannot afford arrogance or favouritism.  We all need to ask ourselves whether we can improve, and I think we would all say yes to that.

4 Responses to “Magento Extensions Follow Up”

  1. Arush says:

    100% agree Connect needs a better rating system ala eBay and better communication and code review channel ala GitHub Issues

  2. Joe Constant says:

    Well said. Thanks again for spearheading this. Please don’t stop.

  3. Deryck says:

    This came up at the last training session I ran. It is seen as a problem by many Magento users (I’m talking about the day to day users/ marketing manager types, not developers). They want to explore using extensions but can be reluctant to dip their toe in because they just don’t know who to trust. I will often point them in the direction of who they can trust but this is only a fraction of the providers out there (not because I don’t trust them but simply I have not experienced their extensions or service).

    This is a great initiative. If I can help in anyway let me know.

  4. Amanda says:

    Absolutely agree, I have lost trust in extensions to some extent, having witnessed some serious conflict issues as well as one particular bad experience. It feels “safer” building our own than buying them but one of the main selling points was speed to market via extensions. I had the apple apps approach in mind

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