Paul M is an administrator on vBulletin.org Forum - The Official vBulletin Resource!. He kindly agreed to an interview for us and so, without further ado - here it is
For those who do not know you, could you provide a little information about yourself?
My name is Paul Marsden, I am 47, married with three daughters. I live just outside Nottingham (UK). I am a software engineer for Perceptive Informatics.
With regards to your "who's online script? I'm always surprised with each release of the vbulletin software this wasn't added? why do you think this is?
I have no idea, it always surprises me as well. In the past, Jelsoft seemed to resist adding popular mods, I never understood why. I think its the most popular mod I know of, judging by google searches its installed on many thousands of sites.
What is your opinion on open-source software versus paid solutions?
I dont really have one. Both have there place in the world, and there are good and bad examples of each.
What advice would you give to anyone about to start out coding in vBulletin?
Download a few mods and look at how things are done - but dont just copy things you dont understand, work out for yourself how/why it works. Also, install a test site you can break without consequence.
What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to learn about coding in general?
I try not to give advice. The only thing I would say is always try to test stuff as much as you can, and dont worry when people find bugs, its a fact of life that bugs happen. As long as you fix them in a timely manner, people will generally accept it.
What projects are you working on right now?
Im finishing updating my mods for vb 4.0 - so much has changed, and is still changing, so I keep re-writing parts of them, either simply to improve them, or in some cases, when a new vb version is released, it breaks them - or has new hooks & features I can make use of.
Do you ever experience coder's burnout?
Not sure what that is, so id say no.
Where do you see your cable forum in the next decade?
No idea, I never look that far forward.
Putting vBulletin's new license policy into the equation and lack of function in vBulletin 4, do you see your community switching to another software if the problems are not rectified?
What lack of functionality ? We have no plans to move to 4.0 atm. We will continue using 3.8.x
Do you think the current minor problems with vBulletin 4.0 will cause current customers to use open-source solutions and revert back to vBulletin 4.0 when the minor problems are fixed?
I have no doubt some people will switch to other solutions. Personally I think the forum side of vb4 is pretty stable, and fine for most sites. Most of the problems seem to be CMS related.
With vb4.0 gold released are there any exciting plans for the future of vbulletin.org?
We always have plans, but since we all have full time jobs, we dont have a great deal of time to implement them. I still add little bits to the site every so often. I expect we will move off 3.6 eventually, but it will involve a lot of work, the site is more customised than some people seem to realise.
Being a developer what would have you done different with vb 4.0
I think IB tried to do too much in one go, and now its biting them.
They should have gone for vb4 forums only first - with the new template system, but the old style. Once that was stable, then developed the new style. Then they could have started on the CMS & Blogs. Sure, some people would complain, but not has many as are atm
Would you ever considering going to work at vB Solutions if they offered you the opportunity?
ROFL - I seriously doubt they will ever ask me to work for them. Im too outspoken.
Can you share a little of your "life" as a vB.org Administrator?
Nothing spectacular, its mostly dealing with reported posts and other mundane requests. I always check the site feedback forum as well - despite what some seem to think, we read every suggestion. If we think its beneficial for the majority, we will always consider it, but we dont change things just for the sake of change.
Will you share something with us that no one else knows?
The global_start and global_setup_complete hooks are going to be removed from vb4 - from the CMS first, and completely later. Modification authors will need to be aware of this.