Guest Post: Writing Modifications by RMcGirr83

As a Junior MOD Validator (aka “JMV”), it is my “job” to try and test each MOD as thoroughly as possible. What does this mean?
Each modification (aka “MOD”) that goes through validation on is first run through MOD Pre-validation (aka “MPV”) which looks for certain items (licensing, correct version of phpBB, correct MODX version, etc) that MUST be in a modification that is to be validated. If the modification does not pass MPV (there are exceptions) then the MOD is “insta-denied” with a PM shot off to the MOD author to let them know why.
If the MOD passes MPV then a MOD Team member starts to analyze the code being submitted as well as what changes, if any, to the core code of phpBB are done (this includes any edits to the HTML files as well). Notes are made concerning the coding of the modification. For example: if the MOD follows the coding guidelines, the security of the code, the effiency of the code (query in loop == baaaaaaaad), etc. Once the validating Team Member looks at the code a status is set on the MOD (either “Deny”, “Testing”, “Repack”, etc).
If set to testing, then it’s one of the members of the JMV turn. :)
Once a MOD is set to testing, we must follow strict guidelines concerning the testing of the MOD. Those guidelines give us a sort of “checklist” and are comprised as follows:
  • The MOD must install using AutoMOD
  • The MOD must be installed on a fresh, unmodified version of phpBB
  • The instructions for making the MOD functional (eg, DIY instructions) must be accurate.
  • Debug is set to “on” in the Test Forum.
  • Any additions to HTML files, or html files themselves, must pass W3c validation.
Once the forum is setup and AutoMOD installed on it, we then upload the MOD and install it to test. If the MOD does not install (due to incorrect commands in the MODX installation file) we attempt to adjust the MODX file so that the MOD installs properly and note the changes for a possible “Repack”. As you can imagine, some modifications are quite easy to adjust while others have very involved MODX installation files.
Once installed on the forum, we test the functionality and accuracy of what the modification is supposed to do. Some of us may make recommendations on “user friendliness” but it is not a reason for a denial of a MOD. Again, some modifications are quite easy to tell if they do what the description states they do. Some modifications are extremely involved and require quite a bit time to be able to test the MOD as thoroughly as possible.
How can a MOD Author help?
The “trick” to getting any MOD to pass validation is to ensure that you, as a MOD author, thoroughly test your MOD just as a JMV would. Ensure it installs onto a fresh installation of phpBB (a.k.a. “vanilla installation”) using AutoMOD. Test your MOD as thoroughly as possible to ensure that it works properly and does not create any “features” (my version of “bugs”). If there is HTML involved, ensure the layout is as “user friendly” as possible. Analyze your code, analyze it again, analyze it again, rinse, repeat…always retesting any changes you make.
Ultimately, the success or failure of a modification passing validation does not rely upon the MOD Team Members or even the Junior Validators but with you, the MOD author. It is up to you to ensure your modification is secure and works correctly. Please know that we are here to help with suggestions and comments or even with code snippets if needed.
Happy modding!! :)
Written by: RMcGirr83 (website)
If you would like to have one of your own blog posts that relates to phpBB on this blog, please contact the Team Leader of the group for which your blog post applies to via a private message with the contents of the blog post.

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