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Author: Manuel Lemos

Posted on:

As you may have noticed, I have just uploaded a class that provides replacements for functions that PHP developers have broken their original behaviour recently before PHP 4.1.0 . The functions already known to be broken are dirname and strtok.




If you have classes that depend on the original behaviour of these functions, you may want to check if your classes may also have been broken due to these changes.

If you did not notice the class with fixed functions, please take a look here:

http://www.phpclasses.org/browse/package/404.html


This message is also to let you know about a new feature of the site that was implemented before uploading this class.

From now on, there is a new attribute of each file that is uploaded to the site. This attribute lets author decide whether they want to require the users that download their class files to be subscribed to the site. This means that is up to each author to make their class files available to anonymous users.

Making class files accessible without requiring user login has two consequences:

1. Downloads of accessible files are not accounted when the users are not logged in because there is no way to tell if anonymous downloads are made by the same or distinct users. However, if a logged user downloads an accessible file, that download is accounted.

Accounting downloads has been the key of the success of the site because it shows to the authors how many distinct users indeed have downloaded their files. With that information in hand, the site is able to build accurate top download charts once a day. Exhibiting author names and classes in the top charts works as a sweet compensation for the authors that have worked so hard to provide their classes for free for the joy of such a large community.

2. Require users to login so they can download their classes, may discourage some people to download them at all. Despite the privacy of personal data is assured, some users are afraid that their data is disclosed without their permission and so they don't to subscribe to the site. Still, the site needs to authenticate the users to account for downloads.

However, I believe that some of those users may get over their fear to subscribe if they can get to access to at least part of the files that are available for download that convinces them that they really have to download the rest of the files of the class packages.

So here follow a few hints for current authors and other users willing to contribute to the site later with their classes:

a) If you are an author of a class you are free to make all of your class files accessible without requiring user login, but if you want to still have your class downloads accounted, I recommend authors to take advantage of this new feature of the site and try to make a few compelling files available without login. If your class generates some HTML output, users always like to see what it looks like. So, making some output page files accessible is always a good idea.

b) Always try to provide documentation and example scripts as separate files from your class files. Some users simply don't bother looking at your class if they can't figure how it is supposed to be used. Writing documentation and example scripts may not be as fun, but it usually makes the difference on the acceptance of your class.

Notice how documentation and example scripts usually get more downloads than the actual class file. That is because users always look at them first to see if the classes are useful enough.

c) Announce your classes in sites like http://freshmeat.net/ and point the announced URL to your class page at the PHP Classes site. If you do this, you get more new users to the class now and more accounted downloads later when you update your classes with new features and fixes.

d) Listen to your users complaints and suggestions. If you one user complains or makes are suggestion, chances are that other users would be willing to do the same but they don't have the time and patience to do it. Satisfying your users is the key to the popularity of your classes and they end up being better ranked in the top download charts.

If you would like to follow up to this subjects, please do so in the php-objects mailing list. In case you don't know it, just go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/php-objects/ . Alternatively, if you want to subscribe to it, just send a message to php-objects-subscribe@egroups.com and you do not have to create a Yahoo account to join the list.

One last message, I would like to apologise to the authors that have some classes pending to be approved. Currently I do not have a list host to send out the new class notification messages. So, I have to use my own Internet connection to send out the messages like this one newsletter. My ISP does not let me send more than one message at once, so the messages are sent very slowly. So, I retard class approval to avoid that some users receive the messages later even after they have set their notification options to not receive any messages.

If you would like to help and you have a spare Unix based server (Linux, BSD, Solaris, etc..) that has a permanent IP address and a valid domain name, please let me know. To send out the messages, it needs qmail, php as standalone cgi executable and a ssh accessible Unix account that does not have to be root. If you do not have these programs installed I can help you to install them.

That's all for now.

Happy new 2002 year!

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