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Get Useful PHP Packages Recommendations Faster

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Updated on: 2015-06-23

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Categories: New site features

Since last year the PHP Classes site has a section for users to request recommendations for packages that address their specific needs.

The recommendations section has been growing a lot lately but until recently authors could not recommend packages that were not approved in the site. The site just implemented a new feature to overcome this limitation.

Read this article to learn how this feature works and how can authors quickly submit packages that address the users' needs and eventually be nominated for the innovation award faster without waiting for their turn in the approval queue that sometimes gets too long.




Contents

Human Driven Package Recommendation System

The Rewards for those that give Good Package Recommendations

Package Recommendations Stuck in the Approval Queue

Can I Recommend Package is not on PHP Classes?

Do the users that download my packages from PHP Classes have to register?

Two New Sponsors for the Innovation Award

Conclusion


Human Driven Package Recommendation System

Usually when a developer is looking for a solution to a problem they have in a project, they just go in PHP Classes or some other package repository site and search it using some keywords related to the problem.

This is fine but far from ideal. Many repositories are nowadays very large. When the users find too many packages that seem to address their needs, they wonder, which of all of this bunch is the best?

Often they look for star ratings, download count, like count or other hints of quality. The problem with this approach is that a package can be very well rated, very popular, but still not do exactly what the user wants because each user have specific needs.

This is a case on which the opinions of human advisers become more helpful. Still not all human advisers agree on matters. So it is always better to listen from different experts.

This is the mindset that lead to the creation of the Package Recommendation system implemented in the PHP Classes and JS Classes site last year.

The Rewards for those that give Good Package Recommendations

The package recommendation system took some time to pick up. Usually developers are very busy with their own problems and have little to no time to help others.

The PHP Classes site sends notifications to authors when there is a package recommendation request for which there is no package in the site for the requested purpose. Some authors see that as an opportunity to plug their work and come to recommend their classes.

On the other hand, authors that create packages that address needs for which there was no package, they have the opportunity to submit innovative packages. This way that can qualify to be nominated for the innovation award and win prizes and recognition.

This helped bringing more authors to help users needed for good package recommendations.

Package Recommendations Stuck in the Approval Queue

Attracting developers to send more innovative packages is great but the system had a limitation that prevented them to help the users faster. The limitation was that the site could only accept recommendations of submitted packages that were already approved.

So an author had to wait for his new package to be approved and only then they could recommended. Some times it takes many days to approve packages because the approval queue gets too long.

Therefore a better solution was implemented. From now on the authors can recommend packages that were not approved in the site. This way, the moderator (that happens to be me) will see that the package is for addressing a recommendation request and will approve it with greater priority over others also in the queue.

When the package is approve, the recommendation will appear automatically in the request page and the user that requested the package will be notified immediately.

Can I Recommend Package is not on PHP Classes?

Well the idea of the recommendation system is to provide packages readily available in the site now and in the future. So for now, only packages in the PHP Classes site can be recommended.

If you have a package that would solve the users request in some other repository, that is fine keep it there. The more places you expose your work the greater are the chances to make it useful for others and get feedback and recognition for that.

Still you can import the package to PHP Classes very easily so you can recommend it in the package recommendation system. Hopefully your package is in GitHub or some other repository that supports Git, SubVersion or CVS. Importing packages in version control repositories is easy. Just read this tutorial article and watch the demonstration video to learn how it works.

If you update your package in that repository, PHP Classes will update your package automatically for you and notify the users that have downloaded the package from PHP Classes so they can get the latest version of the package.

Does the users that download my packages from PHP Classes have to register?

No, that is a common misconception. That is an option that you have as package owner. You may require the users to register to download or not. If the users are logged when they download, the site may keep track of that and send them notifications when your package is updated. If the users download your package anonymously the site will not know who they are, so they will not be notified.

Additionally, if the users are logged when they download, they may rate your package, and if your package is nominated to the innovation award, they may even vote on your package if they liked it.

You are the owner of your packages, so you are free to decided what is more convenient for you.

Two New Sponsors for the Innovation Award

Talking about rewards and prizes for innovative authors, in the latest months there was a surge of innovative packages being submitted to both PHP Classes and JS Classes sites, probably due to increasing interest that the recommendation system generated.

In general all nominees are entitled to prizes from sponsors. However, when there are too many nominees, there may be a few nominees that may not get a prize, even though they sent nice innovative packages.

Therefore I looked around and found two more sponsors that provide nice prizes. Now we have 13 sponsors for the innovation award contributing with nice prizes relevant to PHP developers.

The first new sponsors are SourceGuardian that is giving away a license of their PHP encoder tool to help you protect the source code of PHP projects that you want to sell or do not want to give away for some reason.

SourceGuardian SourceGuarding PHP encoder tool

The second new sponsor is DevSense that is giving away a license of their suite of PHP Tools for Visual Studio.

Devsense PHP Tools for Visual Studio Personal license

Conclusion

This new feature of the package recommendation system is part of several improvements meant to make the site more useful and faster to help users getting what they need.

If you liked this improvement or have other suggestions, post a comment here.




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Comments:

1. Recommended Classes Section - Dave Smith (2015-06-23 22:56)
Requests with yet to be approved recommendations are displayed... - 1 reply
Read the whole comment and replies



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