Update on converting mods to extensions

I finally got a break from consulting, which has allowed me to start to tackle the process of converting the Digests and Smartfeed mods to extensions. I’ve also been dragging my feet because writing extensions is hard work. Writing a mod is hard enough because there is a lot to learn about coding conventions and templating, and the phpBB mod team is very anal about what they will accept. There are lots of tricks you pick up over time that are not in the knowledge base. Creating extensions is even more so, with lots of added complications related to the plug and play architecture.

I’m starting with converting Smartfeed because it is easier and it shares a lot of code with Digests. Finishing Smartfeed should make Digests a more straightforward conversion. I’m starting like most extension authors by tailoring the Acme Demo example provided. It’s a process of iterating small changes and seeing if they work. Invariably you find differences and you have to puzzle through why things work differently with the extensions architecture. The extension writers forum on phpbb.com is a great place to ask questions. In any event there will be a lot of changes, even if the user interface and reader program itself won’t look or behave that much differently. For example, in the user interface I’ll be expected to use jQuery to drive the Javascript for logic checking and pop up boxes which is an additional learning experience.

I am attaching a picture of smartfeed_url. Obviously I need to plug in a lot of language variables but the hard part is going to be integrating jQuery.