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What can we do to help grow our 3PDs?

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As the CMS bridge developer, it's no secret that I spend a great deal of my SMF time outside the SMF project.  I see a lot of other communities and projects, and what is making them successful.  Of course, I can't help but draw a comparison back here to SMF.  I'd like to see some of the types of successes from other projects here as well.

One major part in the success of many other projects is the facility of third party developments (3PDs).  I see entire thriving businesses based solely on the creation of themes/templates of a single CMS, for example.  This is something that we just don't have here at SMF -- we never have had it.  We have some great themes in our themes site, and we have some very talented people who read this board for new paid work each day, but I just don't see the same kind of commercial development community I see elsewhere.  Of course, with commercial development in a community, there is always a healthy segment of OS development as well.

Keep in mind that for now, this post is solely for the purpose of gathering some information.  It doesn't necessarily mean that anything that is suggested is going to happen immediately, or ever.  It is simply a matter of putting out some "feelers" to see where our current 3PD community is at, and what we can do to help it grow.

So, the simple question is:  What can Simple Machines do to help make your SMF-based 3PD projects grow?

I cant believe no one else has had anything to say regarding 3PD's but after the way a thread worked out I figured I might post this to see what people say.Heres the general thing that got me,what came before it was just some ideas on the issue and yes before you say the post was also in the wrong thread.

--- Quote ---We support the baseline SMF here. Sometimes we can help with general questions on mods...  but specific support for mods needs to come from the mod author.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---yes fine but no one helps there lol...
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---and we do not support that mod in here....
--- End quote ---

So basically said there was only the mods creator or specific forum like or whatever can answer a problem with a mod. Straight away this says if its 3PD's sod off.

If he had replied 'sorry but this thread is in the wrong place and also you should check the specific forum as well' this would go a long way towards selling SMF for 3PD developement. To me it was a bit of a nasty arrogant reply and makes it look like SMF has no interest in 3PD other than basic mods.

I wonder how many SMF faults are fixed on other forums like Arcade ect and dont basically tell people trying to make an integration to bog off.

I have used this as an example and the thread is now irrelivant but the very thing your looking for your also nipping in the bud.If the mod or 3PD developer doesnt mind people fixing their software which im sure they dont you need to open up to more general SMF issues other than SMF only.

If somone fails installing a 3PD on SMF and succeeds on another platform like phpbb then its another person gone.If people cant find the help they need for specific software then they will use other software thats easier to get help for.SMF as a whole has good support but look further out at anything other than standard and your almost snookered before you begin.

No matter who writes it you need to help support it,If a mod author got 40 different issues a week how is he expected to answer and fix it all alone? Half could be theme problems , mods , settings and may not be their issue either but they get the headach of sorting them out.

See the point ?  ;)

I tend to agree, but I disagree on another point as well.

On one hand, it is difficult to support a codebase one isn't familiar with.  The benefits of doing so, in my view don't necessarily outweigh the risks of that particular scenario.  Doing this can detract from the overall quality of support and lead to increased frustration.   Conversely, greater support for modifications MAY tend to increase both the pool of potential mod authors and people that work with and support them.

Theres also the fact that, we simply don't have the manpower to do this at the moment.  Who's problem is this? Well, it is my problem mostly.  There are a good number helping with support, but very few might be considered for a team position.  This is a complex issue as well.  One might say "well, why not lower your standards" and others might think that theres more to it than pure skill and knowledge.  Truth is, both might be right, but there are other things to consider aside from standards as well.  It goes right back to quality vs. quantity.  As this project grows, however, it is becoming more and more evident to me that we need a balance of both, that we need to take potential and work with it to mold it into something more.  It is a delicate balance.

In the end, theres really no way to know what would come of it without doing it.  I do not disagree with your opinions, simply giving some of my own.  It is not due to closed-mindedness that support for third party things isn't a priority here, but a conglomeration of other things, such as establishing a solid base for such things of which 2.0 is much of the result.  None of us doubt that expandibility is one of SMF's finest points. 

So what do I think?  I think with increased manpower behind support it may be possible, and it'd be something that others in this market just don't do.  But in the situation right now, I don't think its entirely feasible RIGHT NOW, but rather, should be something that is changed gradually... a goal, rather.

Thats enough from the peanut gallery for now :)

Thank you, Nightbre. :)

The problem with smf team members providing support for 'mods' is that they are unlikely to have used most of the mods.
Statistically speaking ;)

But as a mod author I notice a large number of mod support questions asked often turn out to be 'general' smf issues
- Installing mods manually
- Installing mods on custom theme
- Languages with other mods
- Problems applying it (chmod permissions/server restrictions on webfetch).
those are questions that the team should be able to help with (In the mod support topic).

But for others issues, really the only people who may be in a position to assist is a) mod author, b) users who have installed the mod. (and unless the smf team members have used it, they are unlikely to be able to assist with these).
[I do appreciate the support already given by smf'ers for my mods, and I'm sure other mod authors feel the same]


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