Ecosystem aims to deal with fragmentation, duplication and author associations
The jQuery blog has announced the jQuery plug-in registry. The new site, available at plugins.jquery.com, replaces the original plug-in site, which jQuery developer relations lead Adam Sontag told .net was “getting old, tired and spammy” and lacked organisation. He said the new registry will fulfil the team’s desire to have plug-ins and their names canonically associated with their authors, and to “roll back the fragmentation and duplication that can make it difficult for users to identify the plug-ins they want to use”.
Through a more robust centralised resource for jQuery plug-ins, Sontag said he hoped another problem would be dealt with: “There have definitely been problems in the ecosystem with respect to version incompatibilities between plug-ins and jQuery versions, which is something we’re hoping to begin to remedy by having people indicate the supported jQuery versions in their package manifests.” He added that, historically, some plug-ins also haven’t worked well or haven’t been flexible enough, and that while the team won’t ‘police’ the registry for code quality, “getting quality to the top is certainly a goal of ours”.
This goal will in part be met through version control and the inclusion of a package manifest as ‘passive’ quality controls to filter out authors who “may not quite be ready to be putting out code for public consumption”; additionally, more social proof will be integrated.
Improving the ecosystem
.net has in the past written about jQuery’s huge popularity and we asked Sontag if the plug-in registry might further cement the technnology’s ubiquity in people’s minds. “Interesting question… I don't think this move really does much to cement our ubiquity so much as it shows that we're still working in a lot of ways to continue to improve the jQuery ecosystem and stand behind the libraries and the community of users who use them,” he responded. “It shows that even though getting this site together took a long time, we're still here working to make things better and find ways to incorporate more and more people into the process of contributing to open source.”
Designer and developer Matt Gifford told .net he was happy with what he’d seen: “I like the idea of the plug-in registry—it's a great idea to have all plug-ins for a particular library available somewhere centrally-related to the library itself, and not diluted or available through fragmented sites on the web.” He noted that the system in place also enabled developers to still make the most of external/cloud hosting for plug-ins and source code, rather than forcing them to only live within the plug-in repository space, and he enthused that the repository “seems focussed on ensuring the code is within a Git version control system”. In Gifford’s view, every developer should be using source control management systems, and “by emphasising this as a 'requirement' when uploading/submitting a plug-in, the jQuery team is helping to promote best practices”.