ramblings on PHP, SQL, the web, politics, ultimate frisbee and what else is on in my life

The top 5 of PEAR bugs

First up if a package is uninteresting or really badly written it usually gets a handful of bug reports and that is it. However if a package is popular or provides a very unique feature it will generate a fair amount of bug reports and feature requests. Unfortunately a fair number are bogus, but obviously there will be a number of real bug reports too. Since this is all open source the time every maintainer has to allocate to a given package varies wildly. So it can happen that after a while if less activity there is a mind numbing bug count for a package that works perfectly well for thousands of users. But probably if the bugs are fixed the package would be even more useful. Especially users coming to a package who find a huge bug count are also scared off .. even if the bug count is just a result of a lot of bogus and/or duplicate bug reports. Its hard to tell for a new comer.

The 5 packages with the most bug reports are all pretty popular although the quality of the code varies. They are all also fairly complex and/or large. I have gone through the bugs of most of them now and then to see if I spot an obvious bogus report. Actually PEAR::DB used to be in that category before I went in an closed a bunch of bug reports, reassigned feature requests (often submitted as bugs) to MDB2 etc. Today the list is as follows:

  1. Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer
  2. SOAP
  3. HTML_QuickForm
  4. Mail_Mime
  5. PhpDocumentor

You can look at the full statistics in the overview Helgi added a while ago. Its a nice way for users who want to get an idea of the way bugs are handled for a given package. But its also convenient for developers to keep an eye on their bug reports.

Anyways the point of this post is to solicit some help. As a mentioned: these packages are all popular. Most of them provide some unique feature not found in any other PHP solution. So there must be users out there. It would help a lot of someone would go through some of the bugs, verify the bugs if possible, check patches or write new patches. A look at the open feature requests would also help a lot. Maybe I can compel someone to work with the maintainers of one of above packages to get the bug count down to a less frighting level.

For anyone who has no open source development experience I can only stress how much my programming skills have improved since I have joined PEAR. You constantly get great tips, see how other people tackle issues. I am quite embarrassed about the crappy code I had in some of the early alpha versions of MDB. However if I would not have joined PEAR I might still be coding crappy code like that :)


Re: The top 5 of PEAR bugs

I have been using HTML_QuickForms for a while now and have even added some feature/trial bug requests on that board. One thing I should probably do is get in contact with one of the maintainers to possibly get on board to help fix it and get rid of many of those reports :)

Re: The top 5 of PEAR bugs

PhpDocumentor has been looking for development help for quite awhile now. But it suffers quite a bit from being too big of a code base for people to easily get started on.

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