|Where's the App Store for PHP Scripts?|
time for a simple package manager
For some reason Apple, MS and Google have figured out how to make a common package manager for each of their platforms and they can install software without human intervention yet all of us webmasters, and there are a bunch, sit here using cumbersome technology like FTP, SSH, doing command line stuff like mkdir, chmod, chown, etc. while the rest of the world simply clicks "INSTALL".
What I'd like to see as a website equivalent of the App Store instead of software scattered all over the place with stuff on github, blogs, PHP download sites, which are never user friendly places unless you're a true blue nerd and even than sometimes challenging.
Sure there are a bunch of cheesy script sites that lead you to the actual scripts at the end of the rainbow, but these sites are a dime a dozen and don't help with the actual install, execution and removal of said scripts. It's all just a bit fat unmanageable mishmash hodge podge which quite frankly, due to a lack of standards and common formats, is slowing down the rate at which web technology moves forward vs. apps as people can locate and install apps in trivial amounts of time instead of pulling their hair out trying to make things run on a server.
However, it doesn't have to be this way.
There's a shining example of how it could be and a major chunk of their code could even be used to launch an app store.
More importantly, WordPress plugins.
The only software you ever have to sweat over is installing WordPress as once you get the plugin installation routines working, you're done, you can install anything.
OK, let's expand upon that theme (ugh) and using the WordPress plugin as an example of how it's done, let's assume we could just install any old software on the server, not just WordPress plugins, but those programs would have to agree on a certain type of file arrangement, install and uninstall procedures, basically a set of common routines, directory formats and file names so that everything in the "app store" would be consistent and easy to manage.
A package manager with a lot more definitions of how things have to be to make them work.
This isn't rocket science either, most web hosting sites use control panels like cPanel, Plesk, etc. which all have their known issues which a package installer could take into account knowing in advance what rights the files need to run properly per platform.
I think the web would advance at a much faster pace if we could just get the script crowd to adopt such a uniform standard and perhaps WordPress plugins, since it's already on every site on the planet, is where to start building this App Store in the first place. I'm talking about using WordPress's plugin installer to install non-WordPress software which doesn't make sense at first except it's just an installer, there's already a dashboard to manage it, and people already know how to use it.
The trick is getting developers past that WordPress stigma because a package loader could be pretty universal, one little plugin that loads any external script.
Build an app store full of external scripts not related to WordPress, provide the plugin that facilitates their installation, and VOILA! you have a common method that would allow literally anything and everything to be installed. Installing something like Joomla, Drupal or a Wiki using a WordPress plugin manager does seem wacky but remember it's the plugin package management we seek here, not WordPress.
If we can simply expand the concept of the WP plugin package management to be all encompassing, install scripts for PHP, Perl, Python, etc., I can foresee thousands of scripts just a click away at my fingertips instead of hours of installation time and the end of frustration due to install issues.
Why not do it?
The App Store for Websites, now that would be cool!
Would you use it?
I sure as hell would!
Have I got this right...?
Current WP sites can use their WP plugin-installer to install a non-WP script on their WP site.
What about flat-file sites who studiously avoid anything WP, because of its vulnerability, bloated code, etc; would they have to install WP just to be able to use the WP Plugin-installer to download the non-WP App/script?
|Current WP sites can use their WP plugin-installer to install a non-WP script on their WP site. |
I said it's theoretically possible.
Just thinking out loud, don't get too focused on WordPress itself but it was just the best example with their current plugin library aka an app store.
Forget bloat, that's the nature of software, it's unavoidable as programs expand to encompass the needs of a larger audience. Plus disk space is cheap.
However, that WP plugin installer, conceptually anyway, could be a cornerstone for a server script app store type of system.
Understood, you're just floating ideas for some lateral-thinking.
The other thing to consider is "trust".
The gatekeeper/manager/owner would have to be trusted before punters would use it.
Apple, serves that role for current "Apps".
I wouldn't use any script delivered via googlecode, and am wary of github code for similar reasons.
The old Dmoz, or even, wikipedia type of editorial monitoring has huge flaws we can all see.
So it has to be a responsible "board", or even individual, who's earned trust, preferably for no financial gain.
There are such folks around.
I this case, unlike iPhone or Android apps, the scripts are all 100% visible and not compiled in binary. I don't think I'd be comfortable allowing any compiled CGI scripts as I'm thinking just the tons of currently trusted and popular CMS, shopping carts, photo galleries, forums, and other open source stuff that can easily be code reviewed and dropped into an app store type arrangement.