[wp-hackers] WordPress plugin inspections

Peter van der Does peter at avirtualhome.com
Thu Feb 20 00:56:07 UTC 2014

On Wed, 19 Feb 2014 22:22:38 +0000
Harry Metcalfe <harry at dxw.com> wrote:

> On 19/02/2014 22:15, Peter van der Does wrote:
> > snip snip
> >
> > Does the end user really care how the code is written?
> > The grade depends on the expertise of the testers. What makes them
> > qualified to give this grade? Do they have a PHP certification,
> > what's their background?
> >
> The really key part of this criterion is:
> > The lack of good style must materially reduce the tester's ability
> > to understand what the code is doing, thereby indicating that the
> > lack of good style has reduced code readability and maintainability.
> This isn't about aesthetics - code that is written in such a way that
> it is very difficult to follow is also harder to maintain. It's more
> likely to contain bugs, some of which may be vulnerabilities. And
> it's much easier to make mistakes when editing it after you haven't
> looked at it for a while. It's also evidence that the developer may
> be inexperienced. These are all important factors. That said, I can't
> imagine that a plugin would fail an inspection on this criterion
> alone.
> The inspections are carried out by experienced developers. I can
> appreciate that that might not be clear at the moment. I'm not sure
> how we'd go about reassuring people on that front, though: what would
> you consider to be good evidence that we're knowledgeable?
> Harry

A few tings:
"Harder to maintain", for the tester maybe, but for the developer it
might make sense, but even if that is not the case, so what. If the
plugin works as advertised, and is being compatible with the latest
WordPress version, why would it be downgraded?

"More likely to contain bugs". More likely? So now we are presuming
that it contains bugs? The first lesson I was taught during my coding
lessons "Don't assume anything!"

"editing it after you haven't looked at it for a while" - Uhmm, I
thought the rating was for end-users not the maintainer of the plugin,

"I can't imagine that a plugin would fail an inspection on this
criterion alone." Coding style is all very subjective to start with,
you can't give a grade to subjectivity. Now if you said the coding
style has to conform to WordPress, okay but still not a valid case to
downgrade a plugin.
What are your criteria for coding style, Cyclomatic complexity, Design
Structure Quality Index, Halstead complexity measures? Does every
tester follow the same criteria? Where can one find your criteria?

"what would you consider to be good evidence that we're knowledgeable"
Like people already stated: Certification is one, but I personally
don't care if somebody is certified, I rather look at their
track records, in other words, what have these testers written
If Mark Jaquith, Nacin, Taylor Otwell or Fabien Potencier would tell me
how to improve my code I would be more likely to listen then if is was
some schmuck who hasn't written any significant PHP program with every
PHP certification in the world :)

Peter van der Does

GPG key: CB317D6E

Site: http://avirtualhome.com
GitHub: https://github.com/petervanderdoes
Twitter: @petervanderdoes

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