December 8, 2022

What ExtDN did

Yireo Blog Post

For some time now, I've been part of the Magento Extension Developer Network - ExtDN - and even though (or perhaps, because) things went quiet, I thought it would be nice to point out what ExtDN has done in the past.

Founding ExtDN

ExtDN was founded by Kristof Ringleff aka Fooman to bundle the voices of Magento extension vendors, while talking to Magento on things like the Magento Marketplace, extension quality and more. Kristof approached me during one of the Imagines in Las Vegas. And after some thought, I happily joined.

Quickly I noticed Kristof was doing most of the work himself and on his own he could only accompish so much. So we came up with the plan to grow ExtDN. A board was founded including Thien-Lan Weber, Benno Lippert, Kristof and I. Marketing picked up. We created various working groups, joined events, sponsored, teased, educated and much more.

Working groups and the works

While you could say that the beginnings of ExtDN were about being a conversation partner with Magento, pretty soon after setting up the board and activating other members, we got busy with things: For instance, there was a working group that came up with yet another coding standard (The ExtDN Coding Standard) which coexisted with other standards like PSR-2, MEQP-2, ECG-2 and the standard in the core. The main point here was to push Magento into an unified coding standard. And sooner or later when Magento kickstarted their official Magento Coding Standard (currently, THE coding standard), the plug could be pulled with the ExtDN working group.

Another working group focused on educating extension developers for better quality. We brought out a little leaflet - The DOs of extension development - together with some other flyers. We wrote blogs, we explained things during events.

And there was much more: A repository to help extension developers test their code via GitHub Actions came to be being: The ExtDN GitHub Actions includes support for unit tests, integration tests, mess detector, performance comparisons, Blackfire, PHPStan, PHPCPD and PHP compatibility. There was an extension to display a dashboard in the Magento Admin Panel with extension updates. There was a merchant-friendly installer to install extensions in a friendlier way (more than just a wrapper around composer). I personally worked on a badge. We had a project on security - bringing together various security experts, working together with other initiatives. And we worked together on interoperability testing - kind of integration tests with multiple ExtDN extensions installed. All in all, there was a lot of good effort to push forward the quality of extensions.

And then things went a little quiet.

A bit more quiet

During COVID, efforts were less. But also life changed: Some people dropped out, some people (like me) are no longer involved with commercial extension development, others moved to other ecosystems. ExtDN has been a bit quiet because of this. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Kristof always mentioned about ExtDN that it would be good to keep the effort going as long as there was a need. But if one day, the initiative would no longer be needed, then ExtDN would have served its purpose.

Not only life changed, the ecosystem did as well. Since the Adobe takeover, a lot of the original Magento people moved elsewhere. And because of this, the Magento Marketplace relations faded away. It is also kind of unclear in what direction the Marketplace is moving into (refer to the debates on the overall roadmap of Magento, or actually its lacking). New initiatives came up, like Hyvä and Mage-OS.

And the future?

Overall, we of ExtDN feel that we need to reshape missions. For instance, one of the ideas is to merge some of the activities of ExtDN together with Mage-OS. For some of the ideas, this works. For some others, it doesn't. Mage-OS tries to be as inclusive as possible. ExtDN was never about being inclusive - if you were creating bad extensions, you would not get in. But simply put, we are currently debating internally how to proceed.

There will still be a need for quality with extensions. And a need to push extension vendors to reach the highest quality. For instance, Hyvä is quickly partnering up with numerous extension vendors: If an extension is compatible with Hyvä, it is reason for a partnership. But it doesn't mean that such an extension will not give you head-aches. This was what ExtDN was about. And let's see how we can join efforts with other parts of the community to not let go of this mission: Make sure Magento extensions are of high quality.

Posted on December 8, 2022

About the author

Author Jisse Reitsma

Jisse Reitsma is the founder of Yireo, extension developer, developer trainer and 3x Magento Master. His passion is for technology and open source. And he loves talking as well.

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