[rt-users] plugins link to module file, not package file

Jo Rhett jrhett at netconsonance.com
Mon Dec 8 13:07:31 EST 2014


So here’s my perspective. As someone with 25 years of sysadmin experience, who has both used RT for many years (but not in the last three years) and someone who uses CPAN fairly often, when sent to the pm module directly, I did the operations directly in front of me and downloaded the .pm and tried to figure out how to install it.

There is nothing in the documentation as it stands today to inform a new or dead-brained returning user that they need to download a package, not the .pm file —which in CPAN is often the sum total of an extension. Yes, there is a link to the package file on the page — off on the right, out of the “actionable” area of the screen, if you spend any time with usability experts. Given that the link is not in the user working area, and there’s no reason given to the user to search for the link, I suspect many others will make the same mistake.

I outlined this confusion in detail in my original post, showing how I had misunderstood. I believe that any change which makes it clear to the user that they should download the entire package, not just the .pm file, would significantly improve the user experience.

On Dec 3, 2014, at 2:09 AM, Alex Peters <alex at peters.net> wrote:
> I think I might be missing something crucial in what you are saying/asking.
> 
> Linking to the main module within a distribution is a very common practice, because that module is likely to have the most relevant documentation for that distribution.
> 
> The distribution is clearly linked to on the page of every module belonging to a particular distribution.
> 
> "Asking the user to edit the URL in their browser window to be able to find the extension to download doesn’t make a lot of sense" is essentially a fallacy, because:
> the download link for the extension is available on that very page; and
> the home page for the extension itself (which in my opinion is generally far less informational anyway) is available as a link on that very page.
> Can you please rephrase why you feel that the links in the directory should be changed?  Your assertion that these links are "broken" in their current form is confusing to me.
> 
> On 3 December 2014 at 18:40, Jo Rhett <jrhett at netconsonance.com> wrote:
> As I said below, in the Extensions directory the links are broken. For example,
> 
> Homepage link takes you to:
> 	http://search.cpan.org/dist/RT-Extension-MandatorySubject/lib/RT/Extension/MandatorySubject.pm
> 
> If you’re a bit tired and under-caffeniated, or just plain new to RT, it may not be clear to you that you need to remove a bunch from the URL to find the extension package. In my opinion, it would be much better to link to the package instead of the module file, like so:
> 	http://search.cpan.org/dist/RT-Extension-MandatorySubject/
> 
> As I just said, asking the user to edit the URL in their browser window to be able to find the extension to download doesn’t make a lot of sense. The links in the directory should be fixed.
> 
> On Dec 2, 2014, at 11:34 PM, Alex Peters <alex at peters.net> wrote:
>> Could you please clarify what you're asking here?  How to install the plugins?
>> 
>> The plugins can be installed like any other CPAN module.  Given a link to a specific .pm file:
>> 
>> http://search.cpan.org/dist/RT-Extension-MandatorySubject/lib/RT/Extension/MandatorySubject.pm
>> 
>> you can hit the Download link on the right side of the page to receive a .tar.gz file of the distribution, which can either be fed directly into the cpan or cpanm utilities, or unpacked and installed manually using Makefile.PL and make.
>> 
>> With RT extensions, you may find it useful to set environment variable RTHOME to the root directory of your RT installation before installing the plugin:
>> 
>> $ RTHOME=/opt/rt-4.2.7 cpanm RT-Extension-MandatorySubject-0.05.tar.gz
>> 
>> On 3 December 2014 at 16:19, Jo Rhett <jrhett at netconsonance.com> wrote:
>> Hey, dunno if this got overlooked during the short vacation week. This is a pretty serious issue…  asking users to manually hack up the URL in their browser bar is not accessible.
>> 
>> On Nov 26, 2014, at 2:22 PM, Jo Rhett <jrhett at netconsonance.com> wrote:
>>> Hey guys and gals, been a long time.
>>> 
>>> I’m doing an upgrade from 3.8.5 to 4.2. It seems to be going well. I’m liking the changes. Other than some confusion about what order to do things in (see my other message) the one thing I can’t seem to wrap my head around is the new plugin setup.
>>> 
>>> First, yay! I like the idea of what you’ve done with plugins, keeping them local and the simplified syntax in RT_SiteConfig.pm.
>>> 
>>> [in which I wander in the wrong direction… read and giggle]
>>> 
>>> However, I can’t find any plugins other than yours which are built in these new packages you document at https://www.bestpractical.com/docs/rt/4.2/writing_extensions.html
>>> 
>>> What is the fallback method for installing the other style modules? How do I get from a .pm file to an installed module. Can I manually create the directory structures and copy these into place? I see some details there but it doesn’t inspire confidence that everything I need to know is there. A breakout of the directory structure would be really helpful.
>>> 
>>> [forehead slap]
>>> 
>>> I was almost done with this e-mail when I realized the problem.  If you go to http://bestpractical.com/rt/extensions.html and you find the extension you are looking for, the link to the Homepage for the extension actually links to the main module, and not to the extension package. Example for one
>>> 
>>> Homepage link takes you to:
>>> 	http://search.cpan.org/dist/RT-Extension-MandatorySubject/lib/RT/Extension/MandatorySubject.pm
>>> 
>>> If you’re a bit tired and under-caffeniated, or just plain new to RT, it may not be clear to you that you need to remove a bunch from the URL to find the extension package. In my opinion, it would be much better to link to the package instead of the module file, like so:
>>> 	http://search.cpan.org/dist/RT-Extension-MandatorySubject/
>>> 
>>> I did some random spot checking, and this appears to be true for every module shown there.
>>> 
>>> -- 
>>> Jo Rhett
>>> +1 (415) 999-1798
>>> Skype: jorhett
>>> Net Consonance : net philanthropy to improve open source and internet projects.
>>> 
>> 
>> -- 
>> Jo Rhett
>> +1 (415) 999-1798
>> Skype: jorhett
>> Net Consonance : net philanthropy to improve open source and internet projects.
>> 
>> 
> 
> -- 
> Jo Rhett
> +1 (415) 999-1798
> Skype: jorhett
> Net Consonance : net philanthropy to improve open source and internet projects.
> 
> 

-- 
Jo Rhett
+1 (415) 999-1798
Skype: jorhett
Net Consonance : net philanthropy to improve open source and internet projects.

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