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Home » development » Miscellaneous » Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum
Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #100615] Tue, 08 June 2010 14:52 Go to next message
TheBishopOfSoho
Messages: 14
Registered: December 2009
Junior Member
Hi there, this is more a general question on the future of this board and Symfony as a whole.

I really like Symfony as a framework but I have a couple of issues that may be about to force my hand in terms of moving to another framework.

My issues lie in the problems getting help on this Forum. There are WAY too many unanswered posts for this to be seen as a useful community. Its been a real issue for me in the past and basically I dont even bother posting here for help anymore as I rarely get any responses to questions posted.

Are there any plans to help seed this board, make it more useful as a support point? Just looking at the list of questions posted in any topic, usually half have no response.

Is there somewhere else Im more likely to get a response?

Take an example of an issue I have today, Inm trying to find examples of multi database setups (Which i found a couple of) but with SQL Server. Most of the topics covering SQL Server have not been answered, people are left to themselves to figure it out. It just seems to make it a bit of a barrier for a lot of developers to really take Symfony seriously.

Can anyone shed light on what plans there are to rectify this?

Shane
Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #100621 is a reply to message #100615 ] Tue, 08 June 2010 15:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
halfer  is currently offline halfer
Messages: 9535
Registered: January 2006
Location: West Midlands, UK
Faithful Member
I think you raise some good points, and for a long time I have not been sure what to suggest to improve the community here. It might be worth involving Stefan Koopmanschap, who is the symfony Community Manager, to see if he has any ideas.

The core devs - in particular Fabien - prefer the mailing lists, so some highly expert help does not post here. We did think of moving all forum users to the lists, but we have too many people preferring the forums for that to happen. In any case we may in the distant future have a symfony-powered board, so it makes sense to keep it Smile.

Whether you move to another framework because the community support is limited depends on how much you want to rely on that support. I am all for people moving between frameworks, but if you go to Zend, and then find your future questions are also generally not answered, you may have wasted a lot of conversion time for no benefit. Incidentally, around 2% of my posts are for myself, are usually an expert level, and are rarely answered also. I don't know where to go for generic expert-level advice, save paying for it!

What do you mean by "seed[ing] the board"? I am not familiar with what that is. I try to help out with questions, as you can see, but even with my 9000+ posts that is not enough for everyone (and I am an expert only on symfony 1.0). The next 10 highest contributors no longer post, and the community is not stepping forward fully enough to fill the gap.

I do politely disagree with your assertion that Symfony cannot be taken seriously because of this point. Yahoo, Delicious and DailyMotion take it seriously, and with good reason - it is a great piece of framework software!

The SQL Server thing is a Propel or Doctrine problem. However since we're big ORM users here it is fine to ask such questions here, but remember that if you run into a bug, it may be up to one of these projects to fix it. Checking what support they offer may be a good second line to try. It may also be stating the obvious, but the majority of PHP users will use MySQL, and so that's where the group expertise lies.

Lastly, it would be great to see you helping out on the board, especially since you are calling for more people to help you Very Happy


Remember Palestine
Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #100625 is a reply to message #100615 ] Tue, 08 June 2010 16:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
TheBishopOfSoho
Messages: 14
Registered: December 2009
Junior Member
Admittedly, I may be being a bit harsh on the "Hard to take Symfony serious" bit, however I think developers starting out on Symfony, like myself a few months ago, can feel somewhat at sea with sometimes vague documentation and a perceived lack of peer help. Totally understand how difficult it can be for people to get into the mailing lists, to be honest, a lot of what I read on the mail lists Ive signed up for go right over my head. Ive only been using Symfony since January so I havent even touched the internals as yet. The only thing stopping me so far from contributing back to the board is my own shortcomings in Symfony knowledge. Im no expert yet lol.

Still, will make more of an effort. However, things like weekly newsletters with tutorials from prominent members, I guess walking through cookbook type scenarios, and listing the most common forum topics may be a good way to get things motoring here. A lot of work that I do day to day is programming for social uses. It doesnt take a huge amount of resource to get the ball rolling with that and the rewards are huge. This is open source after all Smile

Id be all for getting a discussion going on this. Very keen to see Symfony do well, as you say Ive staked a large commitment of time already into learning Symfony so changing would be counter productive at this stage.

Shane

Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #100785 is a reply to message #100615 ] Fri, 11 June 2010 11:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
halfer  is currently offline halfer
Messages: 9535
Registered: January 2006
Location: West Midlands, UK
Faithful Member
I think the "at sea" feeling is common when starting any new system. It's pretty much how I feel about Symfony Forms, but you just gotta keep trying! An IDE with method auto-complete is essential IMO, it does really help.

Keeping an eye on the forum and the users ML is a good way to get a feel for everything symfony, and see what people are doing over at symfonians.net too. Keep an eye on the community tab and read symfony blogs etc.

Out of interest, what social uses is your work for?


Remember Palestine
Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #100787 is a reply to message #100785 ] Fri, 11 June 2010 11:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
TheBishopOfSoho
Messages: 14
Registered: December 2009
Junior Member
I work for an agency, we do some government work, sites trying to engage the public in various things. have a look at Dyingmatters.org for my first attempt at Symfony site. Working on another one now and struggling a wee bit with some new basic concepts, posted a question previously but still no answers! Dont suppose you fancy having a quick look, its dead simple Im sure!

http://forum.symfony-project.org/index.php/m/100412/?srch=se arch#msg_100412
Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #100948 is a reply to message #100621 ] Tue, 15 June 2010 06:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
el-sid  is currently offline el-sid
Messages: 64
Registered: September 2009
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Member

halfer wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 15:48

I think you raise some good points, and for a long time I have not been sure what to suggest to improve the community here. It might be worth involving Stefan Koopmanschap, who is the symfony Community Manager, to see if he has any ideas.


Lastly, it would be great to see you helping out on the board, especially since you are calling for more people to help you Very Happy


right on both counts IMO, i just started using symfony and the forms framework is giving me hell...but i guess i can help out in areas i have a better understanding
Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #102289 is a reply to message #100615 ] Sat, 10 July 2010 10:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cwheat503  is currently offline cwheat503
Messages: 16
Registered: June 2010
Junior Member
I agree there seams to be a big lack of community. I am brand new as in just a week into the tutorials, and have answered more questions on the forum than the forum has answered for me. I have a couple of questions that have been posted for around a week with 0 replies, and being that I am NEW they should be straight forward questions for more advanced users to answer.

I am giving it one more week, but I have looked into YII and Zend and both seem to have a more helping community, for that reason alone I am strongly re-thinking if symfony is right for me. I wonder how many developers this framework looses due to the lack of community (wich in turn makes the issue worse)
Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #102292 is a reply to message #102289 ] Sat, 10 July 2010 13:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
el-sid  is currently offline el-sid
Messages: 64
Registered: September 2009
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Member

cwheat503 wrote on Sat, 10 July 2010 11:35

I agree there seams to be a big lack of community. I am brand new as in just a week into the tutorials, and have answered more questions on the forum than the forum has answered for me. I have a couple of questions that have been posted for around a week with 0 replies, and being that I am NEW they should be straight forward questions for more advanced users to answer.

I am giving it one more week, but I have looked into YII and Zend and both seem to have a more helping community, for that reason alone I am strongly re-thinking if symfony is right for me. I wonder how many developers this framework looses due to the lack of community (wich in turn makes the issue worse)



you are right there. But i find this post to be true
http://forum.symfony-project.org/index.php/t/26078/

especially this part:
Since 1.3/1.4 was released, and since the pre-release of 2.0, there has been many more people interested in trying symfony, and some questions do go unanswered.

the 2.0 doesnt help - even though its necessary - because its really different from 1.0.

The interest has really picked up since 1.4 - for reasons i am not aware of. So i guess what i am trying to say is consider yourself an early adopter cwheat503 and try and help out as much as possible. After all, a week into the tutorials should have already informed you that symfony is a framework with great potential. Very Happy . we would hate to see it die because of a lack of support.
Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #102298 is a reply to message #102292 ] Sat, 10 July 2010 15:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cwheat503  is currently offline cwheat503
Messages: 16
Registered: June 2010
Junior Member
I agree the framework is very powerful, but I do post details, code examples in code tags, include php, mysql, mamp version...
Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #102316 is a reply to message #100615 ] Sun, 11 July 2010 12:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
halfer  is currently offline halfer
Messages: 9535
Registered: January 2006
Location: West Midlands, UK
Faithful Member
Ideas on how we can encourage people to help out would be most welcome. If you look at the members list, and sort by number of posts, most of the most prolific posters have moved on elsewhere, and other folks have not volunteered to replace them.

If you get stuck on a particular point, consider reposting on the ML - but if you do so, please do hyperlink to your other posts, so that someone does not later waste time answering something that you've had answered elsewhere.

Some assistance is available in IRC too, and is worth trying. Ditto using stackoverflow.com - there are quite a few symfony questions there now.


Remember Palestine
Re: Fundamental issues in getting help on the forum [message #103331 is a reply to message #102316 ] Sat, 31 July 2010 00:25 Go to previous message
claudia_k  is currently offline claudia_k
Messages: 29
Registered: June 2010
Junior Member
Here my two cents in terms of asking for and providing help:

I am a bit bothered by having both a forum and a google group - where am I supposed to post my questions to have the best chance for help? If I post it in both the chances are that I annoy people because they consider this double posting (which I personally do not like either). Also this increases the odds of having one post unanswered - because if someone answers in the forum he/she will not copy the answer to the google group and vice versa.

In general I prefer the forum - I feel it gives me a better overview over the latest messages I am interested in. But using the forum can be quite annoying - the top navigation disappears once in while, there is no link to index page on the title in the header, I am asked for login every time I try to reply to someone, I cannot sort unanswered messages by date, just to name a few.

I would also like to help more indirectly by giving user feedback e.g. for the documentation or for plugins. While the documentation in general is pretty good I sometimes would like to add my two cents to correct an error, to add additional information or to link to other parts of the documentation. But having to do everything via trac stops me quite early - for me trac is something for concrete errors and not for e.g. adding a link from some jobeet day to the respective part in the reference or in the gentle introduction.
I'd prefer something like the comment section in the php manual for every page of the symfony documentation - just a way to give examples, further information, tell about errors and problems and so on. Same is true for plugins - there seems to be no easy way to give public feedback for a plugin or to give some comments or hints on usage. I know that adding this would increase the need for moderation considerably but I feel it would provide closer ties to the symfony project.

Community-wise I unfortunately do not know what to do. I have seen the same problems on ezpublish and on magento - lots of questions and not so many answers. On ezpublish they had a community award for the most helpful poster of the year (to be presented at some big conference), but I doubt that it gave anyone reason to be more helpful.

Ah well - I still think symfony is one of the best frameworks around.


Claudia


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